The COLOURS Organization, Inc., moved to 4916 Chesnut St. in West Philadelphia Dec. 29, from its original location at 112 N. Broad St.
According to executive director Ralph Godbolt, the organization hopes to be at the location for at least a year.
Godbolt explained that during the last fiscal year, rent at the Broad Street location amounted to 35 percent of the organization’s budget, but that figure will go down to 20 percent at the West Philadelphia location.
The transition will allow for new opportunities, Godbolt said.
“Our [Broad Street] office is strictly offices. The new space is a townhouse, which will allow for program space, support groups and additional staff offices.”
Godbolt said the new space will allow the group to expand its HIV-testing programs to different at-risk neighborhoods.
“Most of the HIV/AIDS organizations are located in Center City,” he said. “We want to focus on the African-American community who do not live in Center City or cannot afford to travel back and forth to the city. One of the things we want to do is off-site testing, especially in at-risk communities throughout the cities.”
The new location officially opened its doors Jan. 3.
With the move will come new programs, including an online magazine for LGBT teens.
“This will help teens develop skills with Microsoft Word, research, communication skills and life skills as a whole,” Godbolt said.
The magazine program will kick off in early February and will include four-five months of youth training on magazine production.
COLOURS will also introduce mentoring, college prep and community-service elements to its programs and will develop a physical space dedicated to youth.
Godbolt said COLOURS also hopes to make connections with nearby Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania.
“We hope to bring incoming college students and LGBT students for mentoring and have students complete their work-study at the organization. We want to develop those relationships; however, we also want to reach students of color across the board.”
The new location is across from West Philadelphia High School, where Godbolt said COLOURS hopes to encourage HIV testing.
“Regardless of orientation, there are too many youth in Philly who are HIV-positive and some do not even know it,” he said.
The organization also plans to implement an ally program at West Philadelphia High School to stem classroom homophobia.
He said the new location will bring COLOURS into its next phase of development.
“I think COLOURS has a great history, and part of our history is our time spent downtown. It is time for COLOURS to create a new history, recognizing and never forgetting the history and tradition we have. But the 2013 version of Philadelphia is different than the version of Philadelphia that was around when COLOURS was founded.”
For more information on COLOURS, visit www.coloursorganization.org.