The Make It Safe Project donates books about sexual orientation and gender identity to schools, youth homeless shelters, and juvenile detention centers. Each donation contains fiction and nonfiction books that deal with topics like coming out and dealing with bullying, or books with queer and trans characters.
Since starting in 2011, we have given more than 130,000 teens access to books in 24 states and abroad.
In addition, we offer an annual writing scholarship to queer and trans youth to encourage them to write about queer and trans characters.
Why Youth Homeless Shelters?
We began our youth homeless shelter program in early 2012 after we learned that an estimated 40% of homeless teens in the United States identify as queer or trans. The Make It Safe Project hopes to give them access to resources they need by sending books to shelters that serve people under the age of 18.
Why juvenile detention centers?
An estimated 300,000 queer and trans teens are incarcerated. Queer and trans teens are more likely to experience violence and homelessness. Those things, combined with their identities, often lead them to be targeted by law enforcement. (This is especially true for queer and trans people of color.) Queer and trans teens who are incarcerated are at an even higher risk for experiencing violence and discrimination, and are often deprived of access to resources about their identities.
Where do we send books?
Anywhere! Check out the map below to see where we have already donated books. Although most of our donation requests come from the United States, we love working with places outside the United States as well. We prioritize who receives books based on need, not location.
Contact us! You can be a student, teacher, parent, or administrator at any school or connected to a homeless shelter or detention center that serves people under the age of 18. (If your school does not have a Gay-Straight Alliance, you can still receive a box of books. We also recommend visiting GLSEN and checking out their incredible resources for starting Gay-Straight Alliances.)