Etcetera was established by a group of volunteers who realized there was a need for greater support for young LGBTQ2S+ youth in Kelowna. It quickly became apparent that consistent quality programming would be key to the program’s success; as a result the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs applied to Trans Care BC for funding in 2018.
Today, Etcetera is a program led by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs in partnership with The Bridge Youth and Family Services team.
“We knew as a community that we could do better by the project if we did it together,” says Sarah MacKinnon, regional director, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.
Through funding from Trans Care, Etcetera was able to hire its own peer facilitator to plan activities for free weekly meetings that are open to LGBTQ2S+ youth ages 11-18. These meetings have grown from two to three attendees in each group, to more than 15. Etcetera plans annual events such as Queer Prom, participates in PRIDE, and helps youth navigate important resources like finding trans friendly doctors and workplaces.
For some trans youth finding a job can be stressful which is why Etcetera has a list of employers who’ve hired trans people. With the program’s help and resources, youth are able to confidently apply for positions with employers who offer understanding and support.
Every day Etcetera expands its network, reaching more youth and gaining recognition in its community.
“The support Trans Care offered was not just monetary”, says Sarah. “Trans Care provided a point of contact, expertise and an open door to networking with likeminded organizations across the province.”
Etcetera hopes to expand its services to support youth up until they turn 19; as it is now youth age out of the program at 18 and have fewer options for support because many of Kelowna’s Pride spaces are for those 19 years and older.
Visit the Etcetera program site for more information, or to get involved. Etcetera hosts free weekly youth groups every Thursday at The Bridge Wellness Centre: 4:30-5:30 p.m. (ages 11-14), 5:30-6:00 p.m. (all ages), 6:00-7:00 p.m. (ages 14-18).
Trans Care BC works alongside peers and community members to improve equitable access to information, resources, and supports for peer-led and gender-affirming support services across British Columbia.
The program defines "peer" as trans, gender diverse, and Two-Spirit community members including children, youth, and adults, as well as their parents/caregivers, families, and loved ones. Peer support refers to the emotional and practical support and connection between people who share a common experience. Peer support provides an enriching opportunity to engage in knowledge exchange, resource sharing, social connection, mentorship, and personal growth.
Trans Care recognizes that community partners, such as non-profit organizations and support service agencies, play an important collaborative role in supporting the development and sustainability of community peer supports.
Learn how Trans Care BC helps connect British Columbians to gender-affirming and wellness supports as close to home as possible.