More people are participating in a Pacific Pride Foundation youth group as the nonprofit serves the LGBTQ+ community through virtual platforms.
The Santa Barbara County nonprofit’s PROUD Youth Group continues to meet weekly on a secure platform that’s compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
“We are seeing even more attendance and engagement online from our youth, and we are reaching youth who otherwise might not have transportation to either our typical Santa Maria or Santa Barbara meeting places,” the foundation staff told the News-Press.
Answering questions by email, the staff noted they’re still able to serve clients in both North and South County.
“Our offices in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara are currently closed for the safety of staff and visitors, but most of our programming has been able to pivot to virtual platforms,” the staff said.
For example, the nonprofit is counseling clients through teletherapy. The secure, live video platform is HIPAA-compliant.
The foundation staff said the nonprofit also is being more flexible with fees and cancellations. “Our clients feel supported and are adapting to the changes very well, as is our counseling team.”
The staff said the coronavirus pandemic puts the foundation’s clients at a higher risk of negative mental and physical outcomes. “We are doing our best to reach them in isolation and make sure they know they are not alone.
“Luckily, community partners like Planned Parenthood allow us to refer clients for testing and sexual health resources during this time,” the staff said.
The staff noted its website, pacificpridefoundation.org, is continuously being updated with program changes. The staff also noted the foundation is using social media to engage its audience and “ensure LGBTQ+ folks feel connected to their wider community.”
“And we hope to bring regular programs and services back as soon as possible.”
For more information, go to pacificpridefoundation.org.