FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scott Bowman, 321-689-2590
Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioner Patty Sheehan
Celebrate the New Zebra Coalition House with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Forty-two percent of homeless youth are
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) and 26
percent of LGBTQ youth who come out to their parents
are asked to leave home
ORLANDO, Fla. – Monday, December 3, 2012 - After months
of renovation, the new Zebra Coalition® House, located at 911 North
Mills Avenue, will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 with
an official ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and
City of Orlando District 4 Commissioner, Patty Sheehan.
The Zebra Coalition® House will provide office space for the Zebra
Coalition® staff and offer case management and counseling; medical
services; a food, hygiene and clothing bank; laundry and shower
facilities; education and career support; a resource library; and a
computer center to at-risk LGBTQ youth. It will also serve other
Coalition members as a location for peer support and discussion groups,
art and music therapy and educational and therapeutic workshops.
“We are proud to be here representing the City of Orlando and
recognizing the critical services that the Zebra Coalition® and the new
Zebra Coalition® House provide to at-risk youth in Central Florida,”
said Mayor Dyer. “The Zebra Coalition is the only organization in
Central Florida that provides a full continuum of services to the LGBTQ
The Zebra Coalition® was established in response to the growing number
of LGBTQ youth in Central Florida who are experiencing homelessness,
bullying, extreme physical and sexual abuse, isolation from their
families, and a wide range of life challenges or setbacks.
“In Central Florida, existing homeless shelters do not have the
protocols or the staff to safely take in these young people under 18,
unless they are with an adult,” said Dexter Foxworth, director of the
Zebra Coalition®. “Most of the youth whom we are serving don’t have that
adult with them since they have been kicked out of their own homes and
are facing issues with finding affordable housing.”
“I am proud to have an organization like the Zebra Coalition® in my
district,” said Commissioner Sheehan. “This organization fosters hope,
dignity and self-respect in LGBTQ youth and provides them with an
opportunity to grow up in a safe, healthy and supportive environment.”
The Bryce L. West Foundation, a private foundation supporting the arts,
education and organizations that provide services to individuals in need
throughout Central Florida, recently announced a pledge of $500,000 over
the next eight years toward the renovation and operations of the Zebra
“By making this gift, we can ensure that future donations, gifts, grants
and other financial assistance to the Zebra Foundation for Youth® will
go directly to client services, ”said Bryce West, executive director of
the Bryce L. West Foundation and board member of the Zebra Foundation
The Zebra Coalition® has also received in-kind donations from several
Central Florida businesses to assist with the renovation and opening of
the Zebra Coalition® House. They include:
· Advanced Stair & Rail, Inc.
· Allied Mechanical
· Appleton Creative
· Craig J. Kosuta and Associates, Inc.
· Dimensions Cabinetry and Millwork, Inc.
· Division 8 Doors and Hardware
· Dix Lathrop & Associates, Inc.
· Dixie Shower & Glass
· Donald W. McIntosh Associates, Inc.
· IKEA Orlando
· Interstruct, Inc.
· Jensy Construction, Inc.
· Judy Watson Tracy Photography
· Koneco Building Services, Inc.
· L.C. Electric, Inc.
· Leigh Installations
· Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital
· Microsoft Store at Florida Mall
· Mid State Plumbing, Inc.
· Montanna & Associates, Inc.
· NETsystems Communications
· Pat & Mat Drywall
· Sara Brady Public Relations, Inc.
· Spectra Contract Flooring
· VIP Valet
· VMG Construction, Inc.
· Walker & Company, Inc.
· Window Interiors
· Z Properties Group, Inc.
The Zebra Coalition® is a network of 19 Central Florida
social service providers, government agencies, schools, and colleges and
universities that provides a full continuum of services to at-risk LGBTQ
youth. The average direct cost to manage one Zebra Coalition® client
case for one month is approximately $500.
The Zebra Coalition® members include: The Center for Drug Free Living,
Christ Church Unity, The City of Orlando Housing and Community
Development, The City of Orlando Police Department, The Coalition for
the Homeless, Equality Florida, The GLBT Community Center, GLSEN, The
Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, Inc., Human Services
Associates, Inc., Joy Metropolitan Community Church, Metropolitan
Business Association, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando Youth
Alliance, PFLAG Orlando, PFLAG Brevard County, Rollins College, Stetson
University, and the University of Central Florida.
The Zebra Coalition® assists young people facing homelessness; bullying;
physical, sexual and drug abuse; and isolation from their families with
individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability. The
Zebra Coalition also operates a 24-hour youth crisis hotline (1.877.90
ZEBRA), emergency and short-term housing and provides the Zebra
Coalition® House as a safe haven and community resource. For more
information about the Zebra Coalition®, visit www.zebrayouth.org.
Photo and video opportunities include: Actual ribbon cutting with Mayor
Dyer, Commissioner Sheehan and the Zebra Foundation for Youth® Board of
Directors; Willie, the seven year old Zebra, who has appeared in films
such as Zookeeper and in commercials for Juicy Fruit; interior and
exterior of the renovated Zebra Coalition® House; Zebra Coalition®
members and individuals who have received assistance.