Senator Santarsiero Announces State Funds to Support LGBTQ+ Youth Through Expansion of The Rainbow Room
BUCKS COUNTY – October 21, 2022 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today $630,000 in state funds to support and grow The Rainbow Room, ensuring the LGBTQ+ youth center’s continued presence in Doylestown and previewing a new, second location in Lower Bucks County.
The Senator was joined by Melissa Reed, CEO & President of Planned Parenthood Keystone, Marlene Pray, Director of The Rainbow Room, parents and youth of The Rainbow Room and clergy, to discuss the importance of supporting and expanding the organization to reach more youth.
“The Rainbow Room has been an important part of the Bucks County LGBTQ+ community for 20 years, and this investment will ensure the future of The Rainbow Room is robust and bright,” said Senator Santarsiero. “I have seen first-hand the immense benefit The Rainbow Room offers LBGTQ+ youth and their families in Bucks County. At a time in their lives with so much pressure and scrutiny, The Rainbow Room provides a safe and nurturing space for these young people to find community, education, and empowerment.”
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rainbow Room and an already special milestone becomes even more memorable with this grant. The expansion of the Rainbow Room means that more LGBTQ+ youth have access to the peer support, education, and resources they need to be their authentic selves,” stated Marlene Pray, Founder and Regional Director of LGBTQ+ Youth Education.
“We are honored to be recipients of this grant that will expand LGBTQ+ youth programming in Bucks County. Senator Santarsiero is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ youth, and we are thankful for this support in making this expansion possible. Now the Rainbow Room will have two locations in Bucks County to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth have a safe and supportive space all their own. In the face of attacks on and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, this grant empowers us to stand up in the face of bigotry and provide more educational programming and resources to youth,” stated Melissa Reed, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Keystone.
SueAnn Devito, the parent of a Rainbow Room youth member echoed support for the organization saying, “The most difficult thing as a parent of an LGBTQ youth was fearing for my daughter’s safety. I am eternally grateful for the safe space that Rainbow Room provided her. In addition to having a safe place to gather, she and her friends learned about healthy relationships, holding safe space for others, and civic engagement-positively shaping all of their lives. The Rainbow Room has had a long lasting and profound impact they have all carried into adulthood.”
An initiative of Planned Parenthood Keystone, The Rainbow Room, which opened in 2002, is Bucks County’s LGBTQ+ youth center, which provides a supportive, brave and empowering environment and dynamic programs for youth ages 14-21. Currently, The Rainbow Room has one location at 186 E. Court Street in Doylestown, PA.
Additional information on The Rainbow Room can be found here.
The full press conference can be viewed here.