Pacific Pride Foundation Hosts LGBTQ+ Youth Conference and Prom
Photo: Alex Siegel Photography
Source: Pacific Pride Foundation
Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF) provides programs and services to more than 10,000 people in Santa Barbara County and supports local LGBTQ+ youth with activities and resources year-round. Programs include regular youth group meetings in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, summer leadership opportunities, in-school academic and social support, and the annual Youth Connect Conference and PROUD Prom.
In its fifth year, Pacific Pride Foundation’s Youth Connect Conference and PROUD Prom was made possible by Deckers Brands and hosted more than 200 youth from the Central and South coasts at their world headquarters in Goleta on Saturday, April 14.
The Youth Connect Conference included speakers from Fighting Back in Santa Maria, Stephen Coyne from Deckers Brands, Shadille Estepan from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and Sina Grace, writer of Marvel’s Iceman comic series. Youth were led in interactive workshops about resilience and managing negative emotions as well as how to prioritize their creative endeavors after high school and navigate the professional landscape while finding a career they love.
Following the conference, teens were provided with dinner, makeup booths, and free UGG slippers before watching drag performances, taking pictures in front of UGG photo backdrops, and having a “dance-off” orchestrated by LA’s DJ Young 1.
“Everything was ultimately amazing and blew me away. The rainbow decorations were awesome, the art activity, in the beginning, was a cool touch. All the staff were supportive and did an outstanding job at putting everything together,” one youth said after the event. "This event helped me reconnect with people that I hadn’t seen in years, meet incredible new people, and feel more fully myself than I have in possibly my entire life."
Pacific Pride Foundation has offices in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Community members can learn more at pacificpridefoundation.org.