Housed in its own wing on the campus, Thrive provides youth 18-24 their own rooms, showers, counseling, medical care and transitional services.
“I know how it feels to be absolutely alone,” Whitley tells the youth. “But whatever your dream is, we will walk through it together and remove every single barrier that is in your way.”
While 2020 has thrown curveballs to so many, Whitley said the pandemic reminds her of the lesson she learned when she was 13.
“Thinking I’m going to the Olympics and, you know, the next minute, because I’m gay, I’m locked up in an institution,” Whitley said. “You know, life can change.”
“[The pandemic] has made all of us kind of take a step back and say, ‘Am I really doing what I really want to do? Is there something that I should be doing right now or that I’d love to do?’” she said.
With Thrive, Whitley’s doing exactly what she always dreamed of: helping LGBTQ+ youth.