“We are very happy to welcome Meryl Franklin as our new Director of Youth Services,” announced Debra Pollock, CEO of The Center on Colfax. “Meryl brings wonderful qualifications to our Rainbow Alley youth program. We are very excited to work together so we can continue serving LGBTQ youth now and into the future.”
Meryl Franklin, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker with extensive training and experience utilizing trauma-focused evidence-based practices utilizing a harm-reduction and anti-racist approach. She received a bachelor’s in psychology from Vassar College, a master’s in psychology from Boston University and a master’s in social work from New York University. For the last few years, she has worked as a therapist working with individuals and families of all ages. Most recently, she managed a drop-in center for youth experiencing housing instability.
“I am excited to work with the youth at Rainbow Alley,” Meryl said. “And I am looking forward to helping provide them with a safe place to be themselves.”
Rainbow Alley is The Center’s program serving LGBTQ youth. The program is open to all youth ages 11 to 21. The program provides a safe, welcoming environment where youth can be themselves and find support they need to grow into healthy adults. In addition to a drop-in space and social activities, Rainbow Alley regularly provides life skills workshop for youth. In cooperation with Mile High Behavioral Health, Rainbow Alley also provides a full-time licensed therapist available to youth at no charge. Youth visited Rainbow Alley more than 4,400 times in 2018.
The Center on Colfax opened in 1976 and over the years has grown to become the largest LGBTQ community center in the Rocky Mountain region, giving voice to Colorado’s LGBTQ community and playing a pivotal role in statewide initiatives to reduce harassment and discrimination. Today the Center is focused on fulfilling its mission – to engage, empower, enrich and advance the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of Colorado – by ensuring that every member of the LGBTQ community has access to the programs and resources they need to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. The Center currently operates on an annual budget of $2.3 million, employs 20 staff members and utilizes more than 500 community volunteers to serve more than 52,000 people each year.