PAY IT FORWARD: Local organization empowers LGBTQ youth in DC region

June is Pride Month and while it’s supposed to be a month to celebrate the LGBTQ community -- not everyone is feeling the love.

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Unfortunately, there have been several incidences across the D.C. region of violence targeting LGBTQ members. The lack of acceptance, discrimination and violence can be especially hard for queer and transgender youth.

FOX 5's Maureen Umeh visited SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), an organization that empowers LGBTQ youth, by keeping them focused and prepared. SMYAL was founded in 1984 and provides development opportunities, counseling services, housing programs – as well as creating leadership opportunities.

Joel Bassam from Eastern Automotive Group donated $2000 to the group in FOX 5 Pay it Forward. SMYAL leaders say all of the funds will go directly toward their work to supporting and empower LGBTQ youth.