SafeGuards marks 21st birthday

SafeGuards marks 21st birthday

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SafeGuards LGBT Health Resource Center will celebrate its 21st anniversary next week with a birthday bash that honors the organization’s growth over the past two decades, as well as the many men and women who’ve fueled that progression.

SafeGuards’ supporters are invited to attend the party, which will be held from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 21 at Hamilton Hall at the University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St.

SafeGuards works to promote LGBT health through community outreach and education and partners with several area agencies to offer recovery programs, youth initiatives, HIV and STD-prevention work and LGBT health-competency training, as well as employing research on health disparities affecting the LGBT community.

SafeGuards executive director Brian Green noted that a 21st birthday traditionally signifies that one has reached the age of maturity, which he felt was appropriate for an organization that has become a pillar in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities.

“It made sense for this year because 21 is usually that marker where you can say that you’re really grown up,” Green said.

He added that several transitions took place at Family Planning Council, which houses SafeGuards, last year — such as plans to move to a new location and the retirement of its executive director — that made a 21st, and not a 20th, anniversary celebration more ideal.

SafeGuards was founded in 1989 by Heshie Zinman, John White and Anna Forbes. Since its inception, Green, who’s served as executive director for the past six years and was a volunteer and board member since 1990, noted that the agency has seen remarkable internal growth.

“We started as a grassroots organization with all volunteers,” he said. “Over the years we’ve really been able to gain in the number of staff that were hired and then the professional staff we brought on to provide health services and advocacy, which have always been part of our mission.”

During its anniversary celebration, SafeGuards will feature portraits of 21 agencies and individuals — like its founders and first executive director Chris Bartlett — who’ve been integral to the organization’s success.

The night, which is expected to draw about 150 people, will also include food provided by 12th Street Catering, a silent auction and a blackjack table. SafeGuards will also pay special tribute to area teens with an LGBTQ Youth Talent Showcase, an “American Idol”-type competition.

SafeGuards board chair Soda Nobuhle said the organization “is looking forward to this event as a key time for us to come together and give homage to the important innovative work that SafeGuards has contributed to the community.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (215) 985-6873.

Jen Colletta can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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