Santander volunteers support ‘safe haven’ for LGBTQ youth

Embrace volunteer safe haven
An Embrace volunteer works on donation closets at one-n-ten in Phoenix, AZ.

A safe haven.

Santander Consumer USA (SC) offered members of the Embrace Diversity Network in Mesa, AZ, the chance to help provide that by volunteering at a recreational center for LGBTQ youth.

“I’ve been looking forward to working with an LGBTQ-focused charity, and am extremely grateful that Santander has given me that opportunity,” said Viktor C., a collections manager at SC’s Mesa location.

“It was great to hear about all of the LGBTQ youth that one-n-ten supports.”

Operated by Phoenix-based one-n-ten, the center doubles as a location for a K-12 school and was selected because Embrace had a “strong desire to make an impact with LGBTQ youth.”

“I especially enjoyed learning about their K-12 online school that allows LGBTQ youth a safe place to learn,” said the volunteer, one of 15 SC associates who participated in the activity. “Almost a third of LGBTQ students drop out of high school due to harassment, so knowing that we were able to help prevent that and provide a safe space with our volunteer efforts is amazing.”

One group of SC volunteers cleaned the recreational area and sorted donation closets at the center, which serves from 10-20 youths per night. A second group created posters for one-n-ten’s CampOUTdoors, the largest LGBTQ summer camp in the nation.

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The organization seeks to enhance the lives of LGBTQ youth and young adults by providing social and service programs promoting self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices. “One-n-ten envisions a world where all LGBTQ youth and young adults are embraced for who they are, actively engaged in their communities, and empowered to lead,” said the organization, which also operates locations in Glendale, Prescott, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Mesa and Queen Creek.

“Volunteering for the one-n-ten event was very rewarding and a great learning experience,” said Tre B., an SC customer assistance team lead. “I know as a kid and young adult I wish there was a place like one-n-ten that I was aware of, so it’s nice to be able to tell people about them and the programs they offer.”

Other SC volunteers had similarly positive reactions:

“It was a great experience to learn about the support we provide to the LGBTQ youth in our community,” said Jamarsa P., an SC collections manager. “I’m excited to have been a part of this great cause with my peers here at Santander, providing time and service to the one-n-ten organization.”

“It was great volunteering at one-n-ten,” said Mary C., a senior collections representative. “I am so happy that there is a safe place for LGBTQ students to feel safe and accepted. It warms my heart to know that I was given the opportunity to help such a worthy organization.”

Another Embrace volunteer summed up the experience simply.

“To know that there is a safe place for LGBTQ kids is good,” added Anna B., who also is an SC collections manager. “But the chance to help provide a safe haven words cannot explain.”

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