MISSION AND HISTORY
GLOW OUT! provides education and awareness of and around the LGBTQ+ community; creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBTQ+ individuals.
GLOW OUT! was created in the spring of 2019 with the sole intention of creating the first Pride Festival in the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties of NY). A handful of caring and dedicated LGBTQ+ residents and allies tirelessly pulled together the resources to launch this first festival in less than one month's time. The overwhelming support and attendance from the community proved to be both an emotional experience for many who had long-awaited this moment and a rallying cry to continue to educate, celebrate, and uplift the lives of LGBTQ+ residents in the area.
Click on this image from our first Pride Festival to view "First Gay Pride Parade" by Cosmic Video.
The organization continued its work after Pride, officially becoming a not-for-profit and adopting the mission, “GLOW OUT! provides education and awareness of and around the LGBTQ+ community; creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
Their second large event was in the fall of 2019 and focused on supporting LGBTQ+ youth with an overnight “lock-in” at GO ART! with 30 students served. They continued their outreach work through the fall and into 2020 by hosting weekly educational sessions open to the public with the help of the Human Rights Campaign and the Out Alliance of Rochester. In the spring of 2020, with the complications of the coronavirus pandemic and fearing a lul in their momentum, the organization created a variety of virtual events entitled “GLOW OUT, BUT STAY IN!” to serve the community, including a group scavenger hunt and a pride parade video shared on social media.
During the spring of 2021, with renewed energy and feeling safer gathering in person, GLOW OUT! held its second Pride Festival, adding additional events to reach more community members. The ambitious 2021 Pride Festival included the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus, 18 drag performances, a band, a disc jockey, a drag queen story hour, Bingo, a baseball game, a 5k race, a yoga session, and open mic night. There was something for everyone in 2021!
In 2022, the organization reorganized due to the Covid-19 interruption. Having successfully applied for the WNY Restart Grant, GLOW OUT! acquired the funding for the Pride Festival, allowing our volunteer board and committee members more time for the community. The main focus of this work was to protect and uplift LGBTQ+ youth in the GLOW region. This campaign, with the help from GLYS of WNY and financial support of the Genesee County Office of Mental Health, created the Batavia Youth Drop-In Support Centers which currently meets every two weeks at Go Art!. Please visit our Act Out! page for more information on this program. They also established Act Out!, the youth league which runs youth-led social and educational events and provides mentorship and leadership training to select leaders from the four counties.
GLOW OUT! is reaching new heights in 2023, having received two grants from the NYS Office of Mental Health and establishing itself as an outreach agency. The organization will put the funding to great use in expanding the drop-in centers to all four counties, coordinating regional youth events which highlight suicide prevention, and providing anti-stigma education in high schools through the creation of a youth theatre troupe. And because supporting our youth also means increasing acceptance and understanding in the region. Therefore this project also includes a large-scale educational campaign for the businesses, agencies, schools, churches, and people working with them (and all of us!). We are on quite a mission and hope you join us!
2023 GLOW OUT! BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sara Vacin (she/her)
Sara (she/her) is a seasoned educator with over twenty-five years of experience teaching sensitive topics to vastly different groups of people. She began her career as a successful high school theatre arts teacher and director in the suburbs of Washington D.C. where she directed over 25 productions, crafted culturally relevant performances, and created a social issues theatre troupe. After relocating to WNY, Sara worked within health and human services. She began as an adjunct instructor for Niagara County Community College, then Genesee Community College, and is currently with the University of Rochester, teaching incarcerated men through their Rochester Educational Justice Initiative.
She is thrilled to bring her vast array of skills, creativity, and advocacy to this position. And she feels blessed to spend her time uplifting the GLOW community she and her wife have called home for the past ten years.