Live bigger
+ succeed harder!
Enter your email to get Queer Money podcast episodes emailed weekly.

Why Destination Tomorrow LGBTQ Youth Shine & How You Can Help

Destination Tomorrow is Helping the Bronx’s LGBTQ Youth

The LGBTQ population in every community deserves local access to medical and legal services – and a safe space to meet. Destination Tomorrow in the Bronx is giving its LGBTQ youth all that and more.

 

Gay Podcast Queer Money by Mass Mutual

Sean Coleman of Destination Tomorrow

Sean Coleman saw that the South Bronx in New York City was lacking such services for his LGBTQ community. Therefore, he cashed out his 401K and founded the non-profit Destination Tomorrow. Destination Tomorrow serves LGBTQ youth 13 to 24 years of age, with a focus on the transgender community.

Sean established the agency in 2009 and was its sole employee. (Well, perhaps ‘volunteer’ is a more accurate term, as he did without any income whatsoever for the first two years!) Despite many struggles – including the loss of his condo – Sean knew that Destination Tomorrow was his purpose. Consequently, he persevered. Today Sean serves as the Executive Director of a growing organization. He leads a staff of eight salaried employees who served more than 300 individuals in 2016.

On today’s Queer Money, Sean discusses the services offered at Destination Tomorrow, how he approaches financial literacy with a population that distrusts the banking system, and his advice for others who may want to initiate similar programs in their own community. Listen in as Sean explains how you can get involved in making your community a safe space and shares success stories of individuals served through Destination Tomorrow!

Topics Covered

Destination Tomorrow’s programs

  • Drop-in program (safe space)
  • Economic empowerment
  • GED-readiness program
  • Housing referrals
  • Medical, mental health referrals

The statistics around homelessness and the LGBTQ population

  • 51% of homeless in South Bronx are LGBTQ
  • Majority of that 51% are individuals of color
  • Many have aged out of foster care system

Sean funded Destination Tomorrow

  • Cashed out 401K
  • Filed for bankruptcy when personal funds ran out
  • No income whatsoever in first two years

Sean maintained the courage to keep going

  • Had come too far to give up
  • Built momentum with each small victory
  • WHY was important enough to persevere

Destination Tomorrow’s Financial Literacy Program

  • Partnership with TD Bank
  • Community unfamiliar with conventional banking
  • Teaches importance of saving, understanding credit
  • Students learn basic banking (i.e.: reconcile checkbook, budgeting)
  • Participants can open bank account with $25

Financial security is the foundation of a strong queer community

  • Can’t give back, support community when struggling
  • Make poor decisions when resources lacking

Destination Tomorrow’s Financial Literacy Program counters the distrust of banks

  • MassMutual’s LGBTQ Financial Security Summary reports that 59% of LGBTQ community doesn’t trust banks
  • Understanding the process eases fears (e.g.: overdraft fees)
  • Education around establishing cushion, overdraft protection
  • Build relationship with TD Bank rep, Barton

Fear for physical safety is connected to carelessness with money

  • May spend money don’t have for cab fare
  • Must work to change environment
  • Promote understanding that money provides a certain amount of protection

How to work for change and promote safety

  • Get involved in local politics
  • Make small donation to non-profits in space
  • Join community board
  • Write Trump while you’re at it

Destination Tomorrow’s KIKI World events

  • Based on cult classic Paris is Burning
  • Participants compete in stage competitions (known as KIKI Balls)
  • Youth meet every Thursday to prep (KIKI Lounge)
  • Affords staff opportunity to build rapport with young people, connect with services when appropriate

The end goal for Destination Tomorrow youth

  • Self-sufficiency
  • Ready for employment
  • Understand what independent living looks like
  • Healthy

Sean’s advice for establishing your own agency

  • Must be your passion
  • Must be about the community
  • Recognize gaps
  • Don’t replicate services (establish partnerships)
  • Ask for help (mentors, free trainings, webinars, etc.)
  • Don’t underestimate the power of elected officials

How Destination Tomorrow is funded today

  • Private foundation grants
  • Two city grants, one state grant
  • Individual giving plan

Connect with Sean & Destination Tomorrow

Resources

 

Listen

Leave a Comment