Zebra Coalition receives national awards

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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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.

“I think the awards really speak to the great work that our mental health counseling team are doing to provide a safe, inclusive, welcoming and, hopefully, competent mental health counseling services to LGBT youth,” Zebra Coalition Director Dexter Foxworth said.

This is not the first time Zebra Coalition has received national recognition for its work with LGBT youth. Zebra Coalition received accreditation and licensing under the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), and they also received recognition as a national model for programming and services for LGBT youth. Zebra Coalition has also received national-level funding and partnership with the White House and the Office of National Drug Control Policy because of their work to reduce substance use and abuse among LGBT youth.

“One of signature pieces that our mental health counseling does as well is providing great support for our trans teenagers, youth and young people in Central Florida in assisting them on their journey and exploring their gender identity and gender nonconformity issues, and helping them to have access to resources, to hormone replacement therapy services and support,” Dexter said.

The Zebra Coalition was established in 2010 to offer activates, programs and services to LGBT youth. Zebra Coalition has now grown to provide a youth center, 24-hour crisis hotline, mental health counseling, drug and alcohol addiction counseling, peer support, and now scholarship opportunities to provide continuing education.

Zebra Coalition’s mental health counseling and case management team—clinical manager Brett Burlone, health counselors Cecil Chik and Kristy Weick, mental health counselor Luis Lopez-Mitchell, and case manager Maleya Becerra-Williams—are among the people who helped make Zebra Coalition a safe and supportive environment for Central Florida LGBT youth.

“I was very honored and surprised. It’s hard to know sometimes who our work is reaching and who’s paying attention,” Zebra Coalition Clinical Manager and licensed mental health counselor Brett Burlone said. “It’s an honor to be paid attention to by such a great part of our field—the ACA.”

Zebra Coalition hopes to continue to build their credibility and be a benchmark for the rest of the country to set standards for mental health support, and overall support, for the LGBT community.

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