Supporting the Mental Well-being of LGBTQIA+ Youth in Schools

Series Archive

Gender Development and Foundational Terms

Aug. 25, 2023 | 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


  • Attendees will learn foundational terminology and history related to gender and sexuality. Attendees will identify strategies in supporting LGBTQIA+ youth in schools.

Presented by: Jordan Mix

Jordan Mix

Jordan Mix (they/them) is the Director of Educational Programming at Iowa Safe Schools. They graduated from Drake University in 2016 with degrees in Law, Politics, and Society; Sociology; and Women and Gender Studies. While at Drake they were the president of Drake’s LGBTQ organization, Rainbow Union, helped establish the first all-gender bathroom on campus, and collaborated heavily in writing Drake’s Transgender Inclusion Statement. Jordan also completed their graduate studies in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

In 2019, Jordan was the head curator of a project called Breathe, Learn, Act — the first ever virtual care package for parents and loved ones of transgender and non-binary kids. Jordan joined the Iowa Safe Schools team in March of 2020, where they work with K-12 educators to develop LGBTQ-Inclusive curriculum, facilitate an online academy for Iowa’s K-12 educators, and lead training sessions for students, educators, and other community members.

When they’re not working, you can find Jordan hiking with their wife, cheering on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team with their cat, and honing their home barista skills.

Supporting Youth at Tier 1

Sept. 8, 2023 | 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


  • Attendees will learn about federal policies and procedures that impact trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive youth. Attendees will receive examples of inclusive policies that states, districts, and schools have implemented that impact the mental well-being of LGTBQIA+ youth.

Presented by: Jabari Lyles

Jabari Lyles

Jabari Lyles (they/them) is an unapologetically Black, fat, queer, gender non-conforming educator, community organizer, servant leader and consultant with over 15 years of experience leading initiatives which emphasize their passion for people, education and justice. A native of Maryland, Jabari has been active in LGBTQ organizing in across the state throughout their entire career. Aside from a long history with several flagship LGBTQ organizations in Baltimore and beyond, Jabari is most proud of their experience as a proud, Black and openly queer classroom teacher at public and independent schools in Baltimore City.

Jabari was born in Baltimore City and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland. Their family, who were mostly educators and human service providers, encouraged them from an early age to nurture their love of learning and to be proud of any job well done. It was in high school that Jabari became involved with the local chapter of GLSEN, the country’s leading organization championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 schools. At 15, Jabari began assisting with producing the annual Youth Summit, a free conference-style event for LGBTQ youth and allies from the Greater Baltimore area. At 19, Jabari became the lead facilitator for the Safe Schools for All—Baltimore program, offering assemblies, guest lectures and workshops to elementary, middle and high school students on anti-bullying and LGBTQ inclusion, as well as professional development training to teachers and administrators on creating safer and more affirming schools for LGBTQ youth. For the next decade, Jabari would dedicate their career to helping shape Baltimore’s schools, nonprofits, government and businesses, into safe, inclusive places for all of the many identities found within the LGBTQ community.

Prior to launching into a career as a full-time consultant, Jabari was the first-ever Senior Advisor and Director of LGBTQ Affairs for the Office of the Mayor in Baltimore City, a newly created position in local government, where they supported Baltimore’s three previous Mayoral administrations on the needs and interests of the LGBTQ community, while working to grow the community’s capacity and visibility. During their time in the Mayor’s Office, Jabari was instrumental in developing crucial new policies, including the city-wide Gender Neutral Restroom Act, the sex-based discrimination and transgender student rights policy in Baltimore City Public Schools and the legislation to amend the City charter to create Baltimore’s first Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. Jabari is the former Chief Operating Officer and Senior Strategist at Baltimore Safe Haven, a nonprofit organization providing health and housing services for transgender people living in survival mode in Baltimore City. Currently, Jabari works with communities across the country providing consultation, technical assistance and guest speaking on gender, identity, leadership and inclusion in education. Jabari is retained by the Gender & Family Project at the Ackerman Institute for the Family as a Training & Capacity Building Associate, where they provide gender inclusion training for educators and service providers in New York City, including the New York City Department of Education. In October 2021, Governor Larry Hogan appointed Jabari to a four-year term on Maryland’s first-ever statewide Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, a 15-member body who will assist the state government with shaping public policy and furthering the capacity of state agencies to fully serve and represent LGBTQ Marylanders.

Jabari has worked with and led local and statewide LGBTQ organizations, including becoming the first-ever executive director of GLSEN Maryland, the youngest-ever President and Executive Director of The Pride Center of Maryland, and co-chairperson of the education workgroup for Youth Equality Alliance, a policy coalition working towards positive outcomes for LGBTQ youth in Maryland convened by FreeState Justice. They are the former chairperson and executive producer of Baltimore Pride, a former elementary and middle school teacher in Baltimore City and the first-ever LGBTQ Studies teacher in the Upper School at Friends School of Baltimore. They are a seasoned diversity trainer and group facilitator, and has participated on several workgroups, boards and coalitions working towards gender, racial and sexual justice for Black people, transgender people and LGBTQ youth. Jabari has delivered guest lectures and guest speaking on LGBTQ inclusion and public service for Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, McDaniel College and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Their contributions have appeared in local and national publications, including the Baltimore Sun, Washington Blade, Baltimore Magazine, The New York Times, WYPR, Okayplayer and Youth Today. Their 2017 TEDx Talk, entitled Black Self/White World: Lessons on Internalized Racism gained over 200,000 views and has been featured in racial justice education and university syllabi across the globe.

Jabari is a 2018 Baltimore Homecoming Hero, the only two-time recipient of the Mark Scurti Award for Outstanding Contributions to the LGBTQ Community by OUTLaw at the University of Baltimore School of Law, a 2020 Business Equality Pride Magazine LGBTQ Leader Under 40, and was recently named Emerging Leader of the Year by the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Jabari attended The Community College of Baltimore County, and The University of Maryland—Baltimore County (UMBC) as a Sherman STEM Teacher Scholar. They have completed significant university coursework in mathematics, physical science, teacher education and gender studies, as well as a graduate certificate program in Supporting System-Involved LGBTQ Youth from Georgetown University. They currently reside in Southeast Baltimore City, where they enjoy trying out new recipes, entertaining for family and friends, dancing to loud music, the beach, and Beyoncé.

 Supporting Youth at Tier 2

Sept. 22, 2023 | 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 


  • Attendees will learn evidence-based, small group practices for LGTBQIA+ youth. Attendees will understand core components for small group therapy and identify components that can be modified to be inclusive of LGBTQIA+ youth. Attendees will also hear about a small group intervention that was specifically designed for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Presented by: Shelley Craig, PhD

Shelley Craig

Shelley L. Craig joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work in 2009 as an Assistant Professor. She served as an Associate Dean, Academic from 2016-2019. She is currently a full Professor and holds a Canada Research Chair in Sexual and Gender Minority Youth.

Dr. Craig’s program of research focuses on cultivating resilience in marginalized populations through innovative, community-based interventions. Her primary specializations are: (1) understanding the needs of sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY), particularly the role of information and communication technologies on their mental health and wellbeing (2) developing of tailored interventions to address the mental health disparities of SGMY (3) exploring the skills and interventions used by health social workers to impact the social determinants of health (3) developing competent social work practitioners through effective social work education.

Dr. Craig has developed and tested the first evidence-informed interventions for sexual and gender minority youth mental health including Strengths-First (a resilience-focused case management program for youth at risk); ASSET (an empowering group model delivered in schools), AFFIRM (an affirmative cognitive-behavioural group intervention) and AFFIRMative Caregiver (an affirmative group intervention for parents and caregivers of SGMY). She has created INQYR, The International Partnership for Queer Youth Resilience, which consists of fifty international scholars, four regional research networks and twelve students as part of the International Student Training Network. Dr. Craig has also directed a community research plan in Miami-Dade County and subsequently established a comprehensive system of care for SGMY and their families. In addition to many other research activities, she has conducted extensive research on HIV prevention interventions with juvenile detainees, newcomers and immigrants and sex workers. She is a PI on an international study of LGBTQ students in social work programs. Dr. Craig is grateful to have been funded by SSHRC, CIHR, PHAC, Lesbian Health Foundation as well as other donors.

During her extensive practice history, Dr Craig has served as: Founder and Executive Director of the Alliance for LGBTQ Youth, Executive Director of ALSO for Out Youth; Medical social worker in the emergency care center of a community hospital; and Director of a domestic violence shelter as well as many other positions. She has been grateful to be the recipient multiple awards including the Ontario Association of Social Work (OASW) Inspirational Social Work Leader (2015).

 Supporting Youth at Tier 3

Oct. 6, 2023 | 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


  • Attendees will learn evidence-based, individual and family therapy practices for LGBTQIA+ youth. This session will highlight creating an inclusive therapeutic context and recognizing intersectional identities of individual students.

Presented by: Leah Love, MSSA, LISW, LCSW

Leah Love

Leah Love (she/her) has a passion for helping others and creating a safe space for individuals to navigate through life’s barriers. Leah is an independently practicing social worker with an undergraduate degree in Applied Science and a postgraduate degree in Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA). Leah Love, MSSA, LISW, LCSW has a hybrid role with Vita Health as Clinical Development Lead and Clinician. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Ohio. She has worked in the social service field for over 10 years in both clinical and administrative roles.

Leah has a passion for assisting others reach their goals, needs and fundamental happiness by intentionally creating a safe environment to work through life’s barriers. She practices from an array of theoretical perspectives utilizing various applicable interventions. Her expertise is in working with youth identifying in the LGBTQ+ community.

Navigating Context Paralysis and Legislation Panel

Oct. 20, 2023 | 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


  • Attendees will engage in discussion with panelists on navigating context paralysis and addressing the mental well-being of LGBTQIA+ youth. Panelists are presenters from the previous sessions.

Speakers: Jordan Mix, Jabari Lyles, Shelley Craig, PhD, Leah Love, MSSA, LISW, LCSW, and Alison DeLizza, PhD

About Alison DeLizza, PhD:

Leah Love

Dr. DeLizza is a child psychologist who has a special interest in working with children and teens with anxiety and depression. She has been working in Nebraska since 2018 when she relocated from Western Michigan. In addition to anxiety and depression, Dr. DeLizza also has experience working with children and teens with ADHD and other behavior disorders. Dr. DeLizza's therapy interests also include OCD and working with LGBTQIA+ youth. Dr. DeLizza completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Western Michigan University and her Clinical Internship at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC.

Questions? Email us at [email protected].

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