At Cartel, we feel it’s incredibly important for us to do our part in the community. In July of 2020, we took action by launching a benefaction initiative. As part of this initiative, we committed to donating 10% of the proceeds from our Give Back Blend to a different organization every quarter.
Now through Jan. 2022, we’ve proudly partnered with one•n•ten, a non-profit organization that actively provides essential support services promoting healthy living and life choices for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.
The idea for a program like one•n•ten evokes an interesting story:
In the fall of 1992, a woman named Toby Urvater was pursuing her master’s degree in social work. She loved engaging with young adults, and from her experience having a challenging adolescence, she wanted to find a way to strengthen social ties and self-esteem among youth while reducing risk factors, such as isolation and stigma. Urvater started having a drop-in group for gay youth, collaborating with a young man working at a local HIV prevention program at the time. While initially focused on HIV prevention for young men, Urvater proactively expanded her services to also encompass lesbian, bisexual, and trans+ youth, paving the way for a more inclusive and supportive community. This decision created considerable buzz, as it was unheard of to have a facility like this at the time – and this was only the beginning.
Since, one•n•ten has blossomed into a welcoming place that offers housing, education, health & wellness, and community building resource programs for LGBTQ+ youth. Thus far, they’ve served 1,279 individuals across 56 different cities.
“The community we build and the variety of programs we offer makes one•n•ten unique,” said Deputy Director Kado Stewart. Our youth, volunteers, and staff actively collaborate to create safe and welcoming spaces where every individual is celebrated and valued for their unique qualities, regardless of whether they participate in online Zoom programs or in-person groups at our youth center or satellite sites. Our variety of programs offer many opportunities for youth to build community, while being their most authentic self.”
When working as a staff member at one•n•ten, it’s imperative to ensure you’re a trusted adult in these individuals’ lives. This falls in line with their goal of creating a safe space for all.“We create youth centric programming around LGBTQ+ history, representation, self-worth, mental, physical & sexual wellness, gender identity and more,” said Youth Center Operations Manager Abby Loza. “Youth come to the Youth Center, various Satellite sites & digital programs to hang out with other youth. Young folks are encouraged to share desired program topics & ideas. one•n•ten staff then turn those ideas into programs!”
There’s something to admire about an organization that works so diligently to improve the world around them and help to change the lives within it.
“My favorite thing about working with one•n•ten is the community among staff and the LGBTQ+ youth and young adults that we get to serve,” said Satellite Program Manager Sanda Foisy. “I am excited to see the staff day in and day out as we work together to make a difference in so many lives. Our impact is felt amongst ourselves and our youth. I love seeing the passion in our work and seeing that reflect in the smiles we get in return for all we do.”
While the company’s ultimate objective is for their services to no longer be needed, this unfortunately won’t be possible in the short-term. However, according to Executive Director Nate Rhoton, in the next five years, they hope to cover the state of Arizona and beyond with additional programs. Within the next two or three years, they’d like to launch their first satellite beta test partnered with another LGBTQ+ organization in a neighboring state. They’d also like to work with Maricopa Community Colleges to help youth achieve higher education.
As Cartel continues its partnership with one•n•ten, we’ll soon be hosting a tree with tags on it at our Tempe location in celebration of Queermas. Customers who come into the cafe can select a tag off the tree listing a youth’s name and any items they’d like to receive for the holidays. We’ll also provide a sign with a QR code that will link directly to a wish list and the items purchased will be shipped to one•n•ten. Should you want to provide a physical gift, you’ll need to drop it off at one•n•ten in downtown Phoenix by Dec. 13.
“Queermas originally began as a way to support our youth experiencing homelessness and for those who were low-income,” said Development Manager Crystal Hughes. “We understood that youth in those situations had a hard time financially and emotionally during the holidays. As a chosen family to those youth who were kicked out from unaccepting households, we felt it was crucial to offer a fun and supportive holiday experience. As we expanded our reach and served more youth, we recognized that everyone deserves a loving holiday, and therefore, we opened it up to all so that no one feels excluded or left out.For many of our youth it is the only way they are able to get gender affirming clothing, pride items, and art supplies that they would not have access to ordinarily. We need the help from the public to make this a reality. They are the ones who are making holiday wishes come true.”
Interested individuals 25 and over can volunteer in programming, administration, and in-kind donations. One•n•ten currently needs volunteers for their Fountain Hills, Glendale, Prescott, and Surprise locations.
Register at https://bit.ly/Dec2021VolInfoSession. For more information on the volunteer program, visit https://onenten.org/become-a-volunteer/.