Presentation Minutes

Oasis Youth Center

  • Matthew Wilson, Oasis Youth Center -
  • We’d love to give you a tour and show you our building – at 23rd and Pacific – we are collocated (I wasn’t sure if I should go with co-locate or collocate, but the Latin roots of collate, “col” – together, and “locare” – seems more elegant than having to put the hyphen in the middle of the word.  However, Collocate, to a grammarist, also means two words that often appear together, like “take pictures”.  Non-native English speakers are often not familiar with the common “take pictures” collocation, and say “make pictures”, which is perfectly sensible and understandable, but just not how native English speakers typically collocate words about photography.  Collocation is often arbitrary, but not knowing the usual collocation makes you sound odd.  I’m sure you’ve observed it – now you have a word for it – collocation. –ed.)  with the rainbow center.
  • We serve ages 11-24
  • We started 34 years ago in a church basement – a support group of youth excommunicate, rejected by family, bullied, etc. (some days I feel like a failing parent, but then I haven’t kicked them out just for who they love, so that is something. -ed.)
  • Advocacy – subcontracted through the State to provide advocacy services – if youth are experiencing bullying at school – we can meet with  teachers and administrators, can be a supportive ear to listen, also have therapy vouchers to cover costs, even if they have documentation issues.  Help them navigate difficult situation.  We can help transgender youth with name changes – covering the $300 costs and walking them through the process.  It is tough to focus on life actualization goals when you are not called the name or gender you identify with. 
  • Prevention – Project 13 – our middle school program – ages 11-14.  This is different in that parents are involved – they sign up for an 8 week cycle – online safety, healthy relationships, connect with LGBT identifying youth to help with creating the social connections.  Many suicides are caused by isolation, and we are working to address that. 
    • Question – do parent have to be involved?  Matthew – yes, ages 11-13 – parents must be involved – after 14 – can be on their own.
  • Leadership – have a youth council on Monday – youth are in charge of fundraising, planning events, civic engagement, events, planning a prom –we put on the largest LGBT prom in the state – on May 18th (a Mount St. Helen’s eruptions themed prom, perhaps?  Just an idea… -ed)
  • Do HIV testing – confidential and only takes 5 minutes (modern medicine has its moments – while not yet producing an HIV vaccine for the masses – it does some amazing things, and an instant HIV test is pretty darn useful –ed.)
  • Have a workshop called Open, which addresses racism and sexism and openness.
  • Open Monday through Saturday, also a satellite location on the Kitsap Peninsula on Tuesdays.
  • If you want to connect to OASIS, we are mobile and can meet wherever the youth is.  Intake takes about 20 minutes – we ask demographic questions, ask what is going on in their life, discuss what they can expect from us and what we expect from them
  • Have some bus passes if transportation is an issue to get to oasis or medical appointments
  • Al – geographically, out of the south county, do you have much participation?  Matthew – 50% come from the City of Tacoma, the other 50% come from around the County
  • Questions - What do you do on Kitsap Peninsula?  Matthew – at the civic center we rent a room and have a group that meets, have a check in, play games 2:30-6pm.  Kitsap Peninsula has been supportive and provided an activity bus to get folks home. 
  • Our next satellite location is Lakewood. 
  • We serve everyone, not just folks that are homeless
  • Every Thursday – have Coordinated entry on site at OASIS.
  • Question – do you need prom volunteers?  Matthew – yes, some 500 folks show up, and we need lots of folks to help put on the party.  I’ll send the poster out when we complete it.  We also need general drop-in volunteers. 
  • Al- do you still do open mike?  Matthew – yes, once per month.  Sometimes it is improve, sometimes it is just open mike.
  • Martha – do you connect with youth in the foster care program?  Matthew – yes.
  • We have free haircuts twice per month – 1st and last Thursday of each month.
  • James - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, after the 4pm-10, have transportation to get them to the youth shelter.
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