LPP Team Leader Alyssa here. A quick check-in as November wraps up…
I have not yet written a full update about my time in Colorado at the Matthew Shepard’s Foundation Bear to Make a Difference Gala. My family visited this remarkable city for the first time Oct 13-Oct 16, thanks to the generosity of The Matthew Shepard Foundation and those who supported me on my journey to being honored with the Spirit of Matthew Award.
This trip defies words, but I will post some pics to highlight a few of the myriad of life-changing moments.
Meeting Sara Grossman
, MSF and The Dru Project Communications Director, my advocate hero.
Meeting Louis Sisneros, who was one of my first connections with the MSF back last February, a champion of the LPP since day one.
Meeting Julie Marie Chavez
, the CEO and founder of Chavez for Charity, a jewelry line that benefits charitable causes, like the MSF. Purchasing a Chavez bracelet back in Freshman year was my first exposure to Matthew’s story. I didn’t get a picture with Julie, but I did get a picture with some Chavez bracelets I spotted at a bookstore hours before the gala…see, I’m even wearing a Chavez bracelet in the picture…#onbrand
Meeting Michele Josue, a friend of Matthew’s, who shared his story in the Emmy-Award winning documentary Matthew Shepard Is a Friend of Mine. (I got to HOLD THE EMMY). I also got to met Zeina Barkawi, another friend of Matthew’s. Both of these women were so beautifully kind. I jammed out with them at the Gala Afterparty! (See another trend in this photo? I’m wearing another Chavez bracelet.)
Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Shepard, and being able to give them a hug and thank them for their activism.
And last but certainly not least, meeting Jaimie Wilson, my fellow SOM honoree. I got to hear him sing two times that weekend, and they will be two of the best performances I have ever seen.
(I gave out SO MANY LPP PINS to SO MANY COOL PEOPLE!!!)
Every single employee and friend of the MSF were paragons of goodness. My family was welcomed into theirs immediately, a moment of validation that will never leave my heart. I felt such pride wearing the LPP pin and announcing to the Foundation that I will carry out operations as Team Leader for as long as I’m kicking.
The Tectonic Office
My autumn only got better as I was graciously invited to visit the NY office of The Tectonic Theater Project at the start of the month. I was able to meet the brilliant staff members and take a look around at all of the Tectonic artifacts at their office. Then I got to see Uncommon Sense at the Sheen Center, the new Tectonic piece by Andy Paris and Anushka Paris-Carter about the autism spectrum. This was my first time seeing another Tectonic piece other than Laramie, so being there for its NY premiere was a true privilege.
This was one of the most life-affirming nights of the arts. Tectonic is my role model theatre company, so to have connected with them still blows my mind. Zena Hinds, the TTP Development and Communications Manager, has let me share all the LPP journey with her, and she has shown me the true definition of an artist.
(This FB post
shows my four best pictures of the night :D)
We are on track to close up Phase 2 within the next five months, and then we will open up Phase 3: The Dru Project Project.
We are proud to partner with this incredible organization
that fights in the name of Christoper Andrew “Drew” Leinonen and his boyfriend Juan Ramon Guerrero, who were victims of the Pulse shooting. Drew was an out-advocate who inspired his friends to carry his legacy. The Dru Project promotes Gay Straight Alliances in Florida schools, which are safe haven clubs for all teens.
Our mission with Phase 3 is to spread awareness of The Dru Project by connecting 32 LPPs for Drew’s 32 years of life. We will honor the lives of the loving couple by modeling their bravery and compassion. We are looking forward to sharing the story of The Dru Project throughout the world, as we cultivate lifelong supporters of the initiative.
Two groups are already on board with this initiative–Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, FL, and Baruch College in NYC. We will share their LPP stories with you and other Phase 3 groups so that we can make sure we are spreading the word about The Dru Project in the most effective way.
After Phase 3, we will open up Phase 4, which is our longterm continuation of the project. We are unsure about the length of Phase 3, but we expect that Phase 4 will open up in either the middle of Summer ’18 or towards the end of that year.
There will be on LPP2 taking place this week, performed by Thespian Troupe 8118 Members of Noblesville, Indiana. They will present their production of Laramie to fellow classmates before they perform at Indiana’s Thespian Regional Competition. Break a leg, Noblesville, as they educate audiences about the victim of anti-gay hate crime described on page of this report ( link
Please note that this website is still under construction, as we create pages for our two new phases.
The perfect holiday gift for that special advocate in your life is an LPP pin! We sell these at the lowest price possible in lots of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30, and utilize any and all profits to creating more. Order the pins that have been to the Eiffel Tower and back today!
We welcomed back Team Member Kelly today and she will be helping me out with logistical LPP things as we open up this new chapter of a Project-Without end…looking forward to seeing how this project grows!
Registration for the LPP is always open at this link here.
Happy almost December…we’ll be updating more regularly, but be sure to follow the LPP on social media to be the most informed about our happenings!
LPP Team leader Alyssa