Content warning: Suicide
In response to a rash of suicides among LGBTQ+ youth in Thurston County, WA in 2007, a group of concerned private therapists, community leaders, and mental health professionals teamed up with the North Thurston School District to create an after-school support group for high school students who identify as LGBTQ+. Many of these youth had no other access to LGBTQ+ information or support, lived at home with unaccepting families, or were not able to come out to their parents or classmates for fear of negative outcomes. The after-school support group provided a refuge for youth in need, but was discontinued in fall of 2007 after students were discovered by disapproving parents and suffered punishment.
The support group quickly moved to lunchtime, and pizza was served at the first "Pizza Klatch" in February of 2008. Now youth had a safe and confidential place to meet during school hours to gain support and community.
Many community members invested time and energy into creating this program and some of the early pioneers included representatives from PFLAG, Stonewall Youth, PiPE as well as private therapists (including Co-Founder, former director and board president Lynn Grotsky), high school counselors and faculty from Timberline and North Thurston high schools, and community members and parents such as co-founder Jeff Loyer. Together, these passionate folks have recruited friends, family members, and community allies to help sustain Pizza Klatch through donations, fundraising events, and sponsorship. It has been a true example of community organizing and a truly collaborative effort. What started in two schools now serves pizza and support to 14 high schools and one middle school reaching nearly 300 students in 28 klatches per week.
Thank you for visiting our website and supporting Pizza Klatch so we can continue to offer youth safe access to services, information, and support.
Co-Founder Lynn Grotsky won Capital City Pride's 2014 Pride Day Award for her work in the LGBTQ+ Community. Here she is riding in co-founder Jeff Loyer's car.
From left to right: co-founder Jeff Loyer, Board Secretary Ann Grabler (2014-Present), Co-founder Lynn Grotsky, and Board President Kathy Kravit-Smith (2015-Present)