Back to School: Sarasota’s Peter Ruiz graduates college thanks to the Zebra Coalition, the return of Culture Club, Pastor Protection Act comes to Florida, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!
Peter Ruiz was only 14-years-old when he had to start looking out for himself. He was living at home with his mother and siblings, and she had just moved them from New York City to Orlando. Ruiz’s mother also suffered from mental health issues.
“When we moved down here, my mother’s schizophrenia started to get worse,” Ruiz says. “From the time I was 14 until I was 16, she started to have episodes where she imagined I would physically abuse her, and she would call the cops and have me arrested.”
The search for a new executive director of Zebra Coalition is “almost complete,” according to the organization’s interim executive director, Brett Burlone.
ASPIRE, the managing entity of Zebra Coalition, has already chosen their candidates but he or she “can’t be officially announced until the human resources process is completed, which includes accepting the role,” according to Burlone, who said the new director will be in place “in four to six weeks, if not sooner.”
Safe sex may be an awkward conversation for some parents to have with their kids, but for those taking part in National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) on April 10, it’s a must.
The day, which targets those age 13-24, encourages getting tested, having a discussion about the virus and spreading information about how it affects the younger generation.
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – The Zebra Coalition and the Orlando International Fringe Festival were both presented with a grant from Walt Disney World Resorts allowing them to continue to positively affect families and children in Orlando.
They gavea total of $4.5 million worth of grants to 102 organizations in Central Florida at a ceremony held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on March 30.
Orlando – The Zebra Coalition received two national recognitions at the American Counseling Association’s 2015 Conference, which was held in Orlando this year at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.
The conference had its National Awards Ceremony on March 14, and Zebra Coalition was awarded $1,500 by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and its Human Rights Committee from the ACA Human Concerns Fund. The Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC), one of the 19 divisions of the ACA, also awarded and recognized Zebra Coalition for its work with LGBT youth, yet the amount of ALGBTIC’s award wasn’t available at press time.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence took to the stage of the Footlight Theatre at Parliament House for Project Nunway, benefiting the Zebra Coalition on March 20.
Projct Nunway was part of the 4-day Sister’s Conclave where chapters from all over the world converged on Orlando.
Minj and Minx take over Mary’s
On March 2, fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Ginger Minj flocked to Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando where Minj was joined on stage by The Minx. The LOGO show’s Season 7 premiere introduced a gaggle of gals, including our local favorite. The audience quietly watched the show and were entertained by Minj and The Minx during the commercial breaks. Minj provided some fun stories, none of which unfortunately revealed the final outcome, The second showing was just as packed and featured former contestant Detox, who is now based in Los Angeles. We definitely suggest booking your tables in advance each week.
When the Brink suddenly brunk’ed and closed its doors, many wondered what would happen to the popular location. But it seems there’s word of a new guy in town who will resurrect Brink and add Lucky’s Lounge to the mix. Lucky’s Lounge will be the happy hour bar and is also known as the front bar. It’s scheduled to open sometime in late April. New GM Brian “Lucky” Smith says Brink will reintroduce its Friday and Saturday nights with themes. Smith recently returned to Orlando but promises to tell us more on the new venture as soon as he can. With a nickname like “Lucky,” certainly things will go smoothly.
Orlando –The Zebra Coalition raised $21,671 on Feb. 27 at its Education Fund Launch event for the Jefferson R. Voss Education Fund with the help of the local LGBT community.
About 130 people attended the event, held to raise awareness and collect generous donations to help fund the Jefferson R. Voss Education Fund. The fund will provide LGBTQ+ youth with the opportunity to apply for scholarships to continue their education or to obtain their GED. The Zebra Coalition is partnering with UCF, community colleges, career and technical centers, and GED programming in Brevard, Lake, Osceola, Orange, Polk and Seminole counties to provide for further education opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth.
Orlando – The Central Florida Fair has become a tradition in Orlando for many families, but this year the event will make new efforts to welcome the LGBT community with a brand new LGBT family night March 3.
The Central Florida Fair has been working on ways to introduce the fair to more people in the community, according to Sponsorship Coordinator Frances Salas.
Orlando – Orlando is putting a spotlight on fighting bullying.
The city, with Mayor Buddy Dyer, launched “Stand Up Orlando,” a campaign to support organizations with anti-bullying programs. Zebra Coalition, which provides services to LGBT youth in Central Florida, is one of the organizations slated to benefit from Stand Up Orlando’s efforts to raise awareness.
Orlando – The Zebra Coalition, in partnership with UCF, will start a fund to provide a scholarship opportunities to LGBT youth as they continue their higher education.
The Zebra Coalition LGBTQ Scholarship Foundation will establish a $25,000 fund that would be dispersed to LGBT youth that may have difficulty securing funding for college.