Inspired by a family searching for an LGBTQ+ youth group for their daughter and other queer youth in the community, Hopeloft’s Event Coordinator Hillary Nichols partnered with Stephanie Modri and Matt Lawrence to create Prism, a club operating out of Hopeloft for queer youth and their families, friends, and allies.
Hopeloft’s Prism is a safe space for local LGBTQ+ youth to relax, have fun, and share their experiences with accepting and understanding members of the community—a space where you’re not just a member of a club, you’re family. Prism offers guidance and support, and is unique in that it is a platform born from youth-based leadership. Members are empowered to lead and embrace their beautiful and diverse identities, and the inclusive environment of both the club and the Hopeloft community bolsters the self-confidence and self-worth of its members through providing LGBTQ+ youth with an outlet to speak freely and without fear of judgement.
In true queer spirit, Prism kicked off their celebratory first meeting in 2019 during Pride Month (July), during which they served food from Self Love Vegan Café and Dodge’s Market, played games, meditated with Kay from Eastern Sky Co-Op, and received gifts from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Reverend Dr. Robin Weinstein of Bethany Grace Community Church spoke at the meeting about his journey coming out to his family, friends, community, and church congregation, and gave the club members advice based on his experiences.
“Our community, as with every community, can only thrive with the support of its families and individuals,”
says Hillary. “Prism has been establishing itself as a beacon of acceptance and understanding within Bridgeton and greater Cumberland County and serves as a model for other aspiring queer spaces.”
Prism is a first of its kind in our community, and Hopeloft is excited to exhibit a model that may serve as inspiration in creating more accessible safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in the area. Hopeloft is a place where people in the community are invited to express their wants and needs and, in doing so, feel reassured that they will be heard; we are active members in our community, and tirelessly work to assure that everyone in our community is helped and represented. Prism is one small yet impactful way Hopeloft continues to evolve and better serve the members of our local community.
Prism meetings are held every first Friday of the month at 6 p.m., usually on the second floor of Hopeloft in Eastern Sky Co-Op’s yoga studio. You can learn more and RSVP to Prism's events through our Facebook, or in our Events page.
Join us February 7th to celebrate the "Love is Love" Party! Make sure to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 6th.
Show your support and follow Prism on Instagram!