Group Moves Forward With Plans To Create Pocatello Youth Center

When  Julie Zicha’s 18-year old gay son committed suicide last year, she decided that something had to be done. Zicha, who lives in Pocatello, says her son Ryan was bullied, harassed and ostracized because of his sexuality. She is now working with other individuals to make sure that no LGBTQIA teen ever has to feel alone in the eastern Idaho town again.

As the Idaho Agenda reported in November, Julie recently formed a nonprofit group called Ryan’s Rainbow Connection.  She told KIDK-TV that, “Ryan’s Rainbow Connection will take the shape of a resource center in Old Town where Zicha hopes teenagers will come to meet each other and feel welcome.

Social worker Laura Bingham says she got involved in the project because she was doing her senior practicum/internship for her social work degree and was looking for ways to advocate LGBTQIA youth.

Bingham says the plan is to hold the space in the back room of Main Street Coffee and News in Old Town Pocatello. The shop is owned by Tom Nestor who has been a supporter of LGBTQIA youth for years.

She says right now the plan is to target LGBTQ youth ages 13-18 with the long-term goal of offering support groups, mentoring, maybe career building skills, life skills, counseling, social networking, supportive website, possibly foster care, GSA support, after school activities.

Zicha says the hole her son, Ryan left in the community because of his own efforts to help other LGBTQIA youth was a big one. “For me, the need for support and activities of some sort for kids too young to participate in ISU clubs  was a glaring one after watching what my own son went through; this all being the catalyst for “Ryan’s Rainbow Connection” a non-profit org dedicated to connecting LGBTQ youth with the support, opportunities and resources they need with a major emphasis on the need for mentoring from established LGBTQ community members,” says Zicha.

The group has some national backing behind it as well. Gay American Heroes, Into the Light Walk (Alan Bounville) and internet sensation, “Davey Wavey” of “Break the Illusion” have all expressed their support for the project.

Zicha says there is a good chance that Davey Wavey will also be visiting Pocatello for the opening of the center.

So far no official date has been set to open the center. The group has had  two planning meetings, and plan to have one on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Pocatello United Methodist church at 7 pm on the corner of Clark and 15th.  They have assigned task groups to various projects.

Those interested in helping with the project are invited to attend the meeting.  Bingham says the group is looking for funding, supplies, legal advice, advertising, and volunteers.


3 Responses to Group Moves Forward With Plans To Create Pocatello Youth Center

  1. Julie Zicha says:

    I just received a message inquiring about the 503(c) status of Ryan’s Rainbow Connection on Facebook and thought I’d post my response here as well just in case.

    We have been approved by the State of Idaho as a non-profit organization already and are in the process of filing our paperwork with the IRS.

  2. Pingback: New Youth Center in Pocatello Coming Together “All Under One Roof.” « The Idaho Agenda

  3. Danielle Bennett Cragun says:

    When will All Under One Roof begin its youth programs.

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