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Critical Voice holds self-care boot camp for LGBT youth

SAN DIEGO -- This month, Critical Voice, a part of San Diego Youth Services and Social Advocates for Youth, is hosting a "boot camp"-style health fair with LGBT youth in mind.

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News spoke with members Holley Hatfield and Indie Landrum about the organization and the importance of such an event.

As an advocacy group for LGBT teens, Critical Voice started in 2010 as a creative approach to activate the youth voice in the neighborhoods of Hillcrest, North Park and Golden Hill. The primary mission of Critical Voice is to encourage collaboration between the adults and youth in these neighborhoods, further raising environmental awareness about issues like the staggering accessibility to drugs and alcohol.

The February Self-Care Fest is going to consist of two essential parts: first, a set of six awareness workshops, and the second being a resource space. Local San Diego groups, such as NAMI and Center for Community Solutions, will present workshops this year. Workshop subjects include Safer Sex for LGBT youth and healthy relationships. One of the underlying goals will be to provide LGBT youth life skills for dealing with stress, as alternatives drugs and alcohol.

Perfectly timed to combat the emotional pressure high school students face following Valentine’s Day, a holiday that can be less about love and more about popularity and position as a teen. It’s relatively common for people who don’t identify with the "picture perfect" iconography of relationships to feel overwhelmed or blue around this holiday. So the Self-Care Fest will offer participants a selection of resources and services in a fun, social environment, all within a more inviting Valentine’s theme.

For Holley and Indie, Critical Voice has been a very personal, passionate journey in activist. Indie joined when she was 17 years, having seen other community members take action regarding issues that directly impacted her life. Today, she has lifelong friendships and experiences that she has been given through Critical Voice.

Holley dove headfirst into Critical Voice, seeing it as the perfect outlet for creating a dialogue in the community about these issues. She takes pride in the leaps and advances the community has made but realizes, upon seeing community members turn to drug addiction and suicide, that the work has just begun.

Holley and Indie encourage everyone to get involved with the Self-Care Fest, whether you’re an LGBT youth, an adult ally, or anyone in between. People who want to be part of a group and a movement that helps build safe places will find purpose in this project.

The details

The Self-Care Health Fair will take place Sunday, Feb. 23, from noon until 4 pm at Golden Hill Youth Center. (2220 Broadway, San Diego 92102.)