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Mo's Universe launches Young Mo's Being gAy to raise money for Hillcrest Youth Center

SAN DIEGO -- To benefit the important organizations, charities and groups that serve San Diego’s LGBT community, the Mo’s Universe family of restaurants has created Young Mo’s Being gAy (YMBA), a new employee-giving program.

The goal of employees of Mo’s Universe-branded restaurants – Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s, Gossip Grill and Hillcrest Brewing Company – is to raise $20,000 in the first year of the program for the Hillcrest Youth Center (HYC), which has been selected as the inaugural beneficiary.

Mo’s Universe employees will be asked to voluntarily donate a minimum of $1 per shift to the YMBA program, and will have the option to give more. Customers who wish to donate directly to the fund can also make a donation through their server while visiting one of the restaurants.

While the program officially began Jan. 1, $2,000 had already been raised by employees and donors at the end of last year.

"Mo’s Universe has always been committed to supporting the community, giving countless dollars out over our 20 year existence, and we are particularly interested in supporting our LGBT youth,” said Matt Ramon, general manager of Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill, and chair of YMBA.

A committee of employees will join Ramon to decide how the money will be spent. Committee members will meet periodically to choose areas they wish to support, be it art supplies, electronics, guest speakers or others needs that the HYC has.

Chris Shaw, president of the Mo’s Universe family of restaurants, said he is looking forward to taking his company’s giving to the next level.

"We can’t have a strong business without a strong community,” Shaw said. “Ever since we started our first business, we have given back to the community. This community has been so good to us and so supportive of our company that giving back is simply the right thing to do."

Rick Cervantes, Mo’s Universe marketing staff member and YMBA committee treasurer, said he is excited to be a part of this initiative.

“Since I started working for Mo’s Universe, I saw immediately that giving back to this community is ingrained in the business model here,” Cervantes said. “With my background in community service and activism, being given the opportunity to take part in this initiative is incredible. I’m thrilled that we are going to be able to support the HYC, an organization that has been important to me since moving to San Diego.”

More information about Mo's Universe is available HERE.

About the Hillcrest Youth Center

The HYC is the only drop-in center in San Diego County dedicated to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and HIV+ (LGBTQ+) youth. HYC offers programming for LGBTQ+ youth and allies, ages 14-18 including: computer access, health education, basic financial education, youth leadership training, HIV prevention education, life skills training workshops, discussion groups, creative and performing arts programming, visual arts classes, and amazing social activities that include: the Youth Arts Festival, Back to School BBQ and the “Other Prom”.

HYC is committed to providing a safe, affirming space for LGBTQ+ youth to be proud of who they are and the freedom to discover who they might become. We host approximately 300 visits from youth each month. They are 80% youth of color -- Latino, African-American, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Native American -- and 20% Anglo-American. They are youth from all over the county, representing almost every zip code. Some come from our most affluent homes, some are homeless. More than 70% are low-income and underserved.

About Mo's Universe

Located in the heart of San Diego's GLBT community, Urban Mo's, Baja Betty’s, Gossip Grill, and Hillcrest Brewing Company are the group of hetero-friendly gay restaurants that create a long lasting life experience in San Diego, and make up the Mo's Universe family. Giving back to the community is a key part of our business. Our businesses are more than a bar, more than a restaurant, and more than San Diego's number one GLBT hot spot. We're part of what makes Hillcrest, Hillcrest.