How Young People Are Creating Technology to Transform the Movement to End Youth Homelessness

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True Fellow Jae Lange is working to adapt the True Colors Online Learning Community into a mobile app.

My name is Jae Lange. I’m a 24 year-old advocate from Richmond, Virginia and I’m the 2018 Innovation True Colors Fellow. This year, I’m working to adapt the True Colors Online Learning Community into a mobile app! Many people, service providers in particular, are unable to attend in-person trainings and webinars to learn more about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth homelessness. The True Colors Learning Community offers interactive online content about the issue that users can access at their convenience. This is all super exciting, as I use technology every day and am eager to learn new ways that technology can continue to push the momentum and create change surrounding LGBTQ youth housing instability.

I have been using my passion and lived experiences to educate others and advocate for youth facing housing instability and homelessness since 2014. My passion and determination stems from experiencing homelessness and unstable housing between the ages of 19 and 22. In that time frame I felt lost. My anxiety and depression spiraled out of control and it’s still something I fight with daily even after escaping those situations. In 2014, I joined a group called Advocates for Richmond Youth (ARY) and absolutely fell in love with advocating. It didn’t take long for me to jump in and to start creating change. I have planned and implemented several pop-up drop-in centers, trainings, breakout sessions, work groups, focus groups, and fundraisers in order to raise awareness and share knowledge amongst service providers, advocates, activists, allies, and those affected by unstable housing and homelessness. As a group, ARY focuses on the rights, empowerment, and fair treatment of all youth with a special focus on LGBTQ youth and youth who have aged out of foster care. More recently we’ve been working extremely close with Side by Side, Virginia Anti-Violence Project, and Nationz Foundation to create an LGBTQ host home and peer navigation program for our community. I was hired to lead the youth engagement component of this collaboration.

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The possibilities are endless.

The True Colors Fellowship is allowing me to grow on a personal level, educating me on best practices, adult learning methods, as well as continuously advocating for myself and my well being so that I can fight for what I believe is right for others. It’s such an amazing opportunity to be a part of creating a tool that will train service providers and advocates alike. Ideally, I hope that transitioning the True Colors learning community to an app will create a user friendly interface ultimately reaching a more diverse audience. In my opinion, this is only the beginning. Once our app launches, the possibilities are truly endless. We know that not everyone has access to a computer at all times, so with training courses and resources right at your fingertips, you are now in complete control of educating yourself and others about youth homelessness.

We’re unveiling the app at the Impact Summit!

The True Colors Learning Community app will be unveiled at the 2018 True Colors Summit this October 3-4 in Atlanta, GA. So I hope to see everyone there! Learn more here.