IYG Center location: 2943 E. 46th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Mailing address: P.O. Box 20716, Indianapolis, IN 46220
(photo to the right: Chris Gonzalez and Jeff Werner, founders of IYG)
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) provides safe places and confidential environments where self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth are empowered through programs, support services, social and leadership opportunities and community service. IYG advocates on their behalf in schools, in the community and through family support services.
Outcomes underlying IYG's programming
For the present:
Self-acceptance, resilience, positive self-image, awareness of the LGBT community, the ability to support others, experience a safe environment, and have support away from home… especially if their home is negative
For the future:
Self-actualization, competency as adults, future leadership and advocacy for/in the LGBT community
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) was founded in 1987 by a few members of the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard in response to the dismal suicide, homeless, and dropout rates of self-identified gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth in Indianapolis. Partners Chris Gonzalez and Jeff Werner were the primary founders and led IYG from its inception through the mid-1990s. Their vision and dedication is still vibrant.
In 1992 with help from the Health Foundation, IYG purchased its present facility at 2943 E. 46th Street in Indianapolis. In 1998 at the IYG Youth Quarterly Business Meeting, youth members voted to make the IYG Youth Center's location public.
Between 2000 and 2003, IYG's Executive Director expanded the programming, staff, and budget. With his departure the organization went through much reorganization and consolidation, ending with the board of director's mandate that the organization be mission-driven rather than grant-led.
In 2007 the Board of Directors reversed its prior decision and decided to pursue affiliation with the United Way. IYG's affiliation with United Way of Central Indiana was approved in December of 2008. Funding through the United Way's Community Fund began in July, 2011 adding a degree of stability long awaited.
In 2011, after applying three times and settling a law suit, IYG was approved by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles for a specialty license plate which was the first specialty plate issued for an LGBT youth services organization in the country! In March, 2012, after receiving a letter signed by 20 state senators, the BMV revoked the license plate without any hearing charging that IYG was selling the low-numbered plates instead of using them for thank you gifts.
This dark storm had a wonderfully rainbow lining. IYG gained a great amount of support from the community and tremendous exposure in the local and regional media. This resulted in an increase in donations and many requests for information and trainings. The license plate was reinstated in July of 2013.