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April 17, 2021
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Encircle breaks ground on new Ogden home for LGBTQ youth following donation from Apple CEO

OGDEN — Ground was broken this week on a new resource home in Ogden for at-risk LGBTQ youth as part of Encircle’s new campaign to build eight new homes across four states.

The new resource center will be located at 25th Street and Washington Boulevard in Ogden and is expected to be completed later this year. It will serve youth in Ogden and in Weber County.

“I think that sometimes LGBTQ youth grow up not feeling that they’re loved or supported by their community,” Encircle CEO Stephanie Larsen told KSL at the groundbreaking. “They feel shame sometimes around who they are. And Encircle’s mission is to help them realize that they’re beautiful just how they are and that they have bright futures.”

The groundbreaking comes a month after a $4 million donation came from Apple CEO Time Cook, Utah Jazz owner and Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith, and lead singer of Imagine Dragons Dan Reynolds.

In addition to Ogden’s slated home, the organization has locations in Provo, Salt Lake City, St. George with another under construction in Heber. Next week, Encircle will break ground on its new Logan location as well. Homes in Arizona, Idaho and Nevada are also planned.

“All LGBTQ+ people should feel safe and supported enough to be open about who they are with their community and themselves,” Cook said in a statement at the time of his donation. “Encircle is helping to bridge divides and bring people together — sending a powerful message that the greatest thing you can aspire to become is who you truly are.

Ogden City Mayor Mike Caldwell said he was grateful the area was getting resources for this community and he knows how needed it was considering a family member attempted suicide years ago because they didn’t know where to access resources for LGBTQ individuals.

“This resource center really is personal to me and we appreciate everything that has gone into this,” he said.

The nonprofit, which was founded in 2017 to help LGBTQ youth in Utah, has helped provide direct services to more than 20,000 individuals and subsidized more than 6,000 families and youth therapy sessions.

Ogden City Mayor Mike Caldwell said he was grateful the area was getting resources for this community and he knows how needed it was considering a family member attempted suicide years ago because they didn’t know where to access resources for LGBTQ individuals.

“This resource center really is personal to me and we appreciate everything that has gone into this,” he said.

The new Ogden home will have a cafe, therapy services available, support groups, a kitchen, an art room and a music room for the LGBTQ youth to utilize.

“Encircle wants to create a safe space and feeling of home for youth who may not feel at home otherwise,” Larsen said.

Contributing: Meghan Thackrey, KSL TV

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