Submitted by Pizza Klatch

“Pizza Klatch makes a difference in my week – someone is always there to listen.” – Pizza Klatch participant

Pizza Klatch will be serving up “A Slice of the Good Life” on February 4 at the Washington Center. The local non-profit’s third annual event of that name, this year’s fundraiser features renowned pianist/singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright.

Pizza Klatch
Pizza Klatch’s “A Slice of the Good Life” fundraiser is scheduled for February 4. Photo courtesy: Pizza Klatch

The son of folk stars Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, mentee and close friend of Leonard Cohen, Grammy nominee Rufus Wainwright performs orchestral pop with hints of folk, rock and even opera. He is perhaps best known for his celebrated recreation of Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall concert. He is coming to support LGBTQ+ youth through Pizza Klatch which provides weekly lunchtime support groups in 11 Thurston County High Schools. There will also be an online auction, pizza and fabulous schmoozing with wonderful people. Tickets are available online at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts website.

“A Slice of the Good Life” is Pizza Klatch’s largest fundraiser of the year, helping the non-profit further its mission of supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Thurston County schools.  Funds help cover operating costs including the purchase of 60 pizzas per week for up to 300 participants.

These are testimonials from youth who participate in Pizza Klatch, a simple and innovative program for supporting LGBTQ+ youth and their allies in Thurston County schools:

“Sometimes we have fun, sometimes we talk about stuff that’s hard to talk to other people about.”

“I can be who I am here.”

“Pizza Klatch strengthened my decision to be an ally.”

Pizza Klatch’s mission is to support LGBTQ+ youth and their method for doing so is surprisingly simple – hold support groups once a week during lunch, providing pizza and two trained facilitators. Each Klatch, defined as “a gathering characterized usually by informal conversation”, provides a confidential and safe environment within which participants can share life events, talk about difficult issues and gain support.

Pizza Klatch
Pizza Klatch provides lunchtime support meetings for LGBTQ+ youth throughout Thurston County high schools. Photo courtesy: Pizza Klatch

Facilitators come with information on other relevant local organizations that serve youth, handing out flyers and phone numbers as needed. Groups are led by the needs of the youth participants, making each group unique. Because they work with each school’s counselors and staff to provide ongoing support for participants in need, Pizza Klatches have made an immense positive difference in the way students are supported during the remainder of the week, when Pizza Klatch facilitators are not onsite.

“A Slice of the Good Life” event is on February 4, 2017. Doors open at 6:00 pm with a Silent Auction featuring a long list of great items, fun events and activities from local organizations, artists and individuals. The main stage lights up at 7:30 p.m. with Lee Callahan of KCBS Radio emceeing. Along with Rufus Wainwright’s performance, attendees will hear from youth speaking about the impact Pizza Klatch has had on them and their high school experience.

Starting January 21, Silent Auction items will be available for online bidding. The organization Silent Auction Pro is hosting both the online and in-person auction for the event, including the option to pre-register and enable a faster checkout on the night of February 4.

Pizza Klatch
During the February 4 Gayla, Pizza Klatch youth will speak about the impact of the group on their lives. Photo courtesy: Pizza Klatch

Pizza Klatch is a 501(c)3 non-profit started in 2007 in response to a rash of suicides among LGBTQ+ youth in Thurston County. A group of concerned private therapists, community leaders and mental health professionals teamed up with the North Thurston School District to create an after-school support group for high school students who identify as LGBTQ+. Many of these youth had no other access to LGBTQ+ information or support, lived at home with unsupportive families or were not able to come out to their parents or classmates for fear of negative outcomes. In February of 2008, the support group moved to lunchtime and started providing pizza, allowing more students to attend. For more information about Pizza Klatch, please visit their website at http://PizzaKlatch.org.

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