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LGBT Youth Center Committee Will Gather for First Time Friday

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth says nearly 40 people signed up to be on the committee after meeting to tap interest in October.

Just a little over a month after the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth announced it was forming an advisory committee, as it looks for space to open the first LGBT youth center on the South Fork, the committee will meet for the first time.

The East End Center Advisory Committee will meet at the Bridgehampton National Bank in Bridgehampton on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

LIGALY, an advocacy organization based in Bay Shore, called a meeting at East Hampton High School in October, two weeks after the death of 16-year-old David Hernandez Barros, amidst revelations that he was bullied and that he was gay.

Over 130 people attended the community meeting on Oct. 22 to discuss what can be done to combat anti-GLBT bullying. "The message from the meeting was clear: Long Island's End End needs a GLBTCenter where youth can find the support they need," the organization said on its website, announcing the advisory committee meeting.

"We were very happy with the evening, both in turn out, commitment and willingness of folks to get actively involved," said David Kilmnick, the chief executive officer of LIGALY said last month. "Out of the 134 attendees, 37 signed up to be part of the East End GLBT Advisory Committee, which is a fantastic number and indicative of the community support that is out there and needed to make The Center a reality."

The meeting is open to the public, according to Kilmnick. 

"Since the coverage on our community meeting, we have been receiving calls for support on a variety of issues that parents and their children are facing in their schools and communities (the call for a Center, safe space and advocate like LIGALY has never been stronger)," he said.

LIGALY runs two community centers, the closest being 60 miles away from East Hampton in Bay Shore, and says there have been demands for one on the eastern end of the island for years.

Community members will play a major role in finding resources the organization needs to open a center on the East End. In the days before the October meeting, Sag Harbor residents Beatrice Alda — the daughter of actor Alan Alda — and her partner Jennifer Brooke, of the JenJo Foundation, promised a $20,000 matching grant for the community center.

East Hampton residents Beverly Dash and Debra Lobel, partners who have been together nearly 55 years, pledged $2,500 toward the first $20,000 the organization needs to raise.

Those who want to donate to the East End GLBT Center (and that will count toward the matching grant, can call the Development Department at 631-665-2300 or go online.

Anyone else who wants to be involved in the committee, they can call Robert Vitelli, chief operating officer at 631-665-2300 or go online and sign-up.

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