Indiana Youth Group asks community for programming support

Rendering of Indiana Youth Group's future home near 38th and Meridian in Indianapolis. (Provided Photo/Indiana Youth Group photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Youth Group is launching another round of fundraising as work on the group’s new building is underway.

Work is actually ahead of schedule and the organization hopes to move into the 15,000-square-foot building sometime in November. Electricians have been hard at work and this week, heating and cooling systems will be complete and flooring will be installed.

Indiana Youth Group is one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ youth centers of its kind, but for decades it has been operating out of a 2,500-square-foot house at 46th Street and Binford Avenue. The new location is seven times larger than the current facility.

In recent years, Indiana Youth Group has served more than 700 youth each year and with dozens of programs available more space is needed.

“They can fit in the space without having to worry about getting out of one space so we can start another program in there, we actually have separate art spaces, and education spaces, and different programming rooms here so we can carry on multiple programs all at once, so that’s the biggest change the youth will see,” Chris Paulsen, Indiana Youth Group executive director, said.

Over the last year, the Indiana Youth Group has raised about $2.8 million during phase one of its capital campaign. Phase two aims to raise another half-million for programming support.

Paulsen said she’s confident the community will step up.

“Sales Force did donate $75,000 to the education space where we are going to be doing computer coding, high school equivalency testing and things like that, but most of our support has been from the community, so that has been great to see that the community is really behind Indiana Youth Group,” Paulsen said.

Currently, IYG provides wellness programming, tutoring, college prep, meals and cooking classes, and a unique suicide prevention program, just to name a few programs available. Paulsen said the organization also provides clothing and hygiene products to homeless teens. The organization estimates about 25 percent of LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.

Indiana Youth Group is celebrating its 30th year of serving LGBTQ youth. The organization plans to hold a gala in the new building in late December.