Join us in honoring leaders in the community that have done outstanding work in support of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth, including LOFT staff member Shepard Verbas!
Click below to learn more and to purchase your ticket!
-Adult Ticket: $15.00. Purchase ticket & RSVP here.
-Student Ticket: FREE. Must RSVP here.
Johanna Mustacchi, Pierre van Cortlandt Middle School, Pride Club advisor
Johanna Mustacchi is the founder and advisor for Pierre van Cortlandt Middle School’s PRIDE Club. Johanna has become a fierce
advocate for students and a role model for other teachers to follow. Johanna’s extensive work includes creating safe spaces for
students, raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in the community, hosting Pride Week, speaking at faculty meetings, and increasing
LGBTQ+ visibility in the school.
Shepard Verbas, The LOFT, Assistant Director of Programs & Services
Shepard Verbas’ advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community spreads far and wide. Shepard is the Assistant Director of Programs and Services at The LOFT LGBT Center in White Plains, where they oversee many of the center's programs and events. Additionally, Shepard works with LGBTQ+ youth through CANDLE Rockland's Trans Youth Group, and previously through WJCS's Center Lane's TransParentcy program. Shepard has an unrelenting passion for LGBTQ+ advocacy, and lifting up the voices and experiences of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) communities.
Kian Tortorello-Allen, Fox Lane High School, GSRA student president
Kian Tortorello-Allen is a student at Fox Lane High School. Kian is the president of the Fox Lane GSRA (Gender Sexuality Race
Alliance) and is a member of the GLSEN National Student Council. Kian is an activist in LGBTQ+ issues both locally and beyond.
Kian’s reach is furthered by their pro-LGBTQ+ Instagram page, “Just Lgbt Stuff,” as well as their appearance in GLSEN promotions and campaigns. Additionally, Kian has become a model and representative for Hollister’s “Safe Space” campaign. Kian’s work has been honored by the Westchester County Board of Legislators and they have been a keynote speaker at many events including the
Westchester Transforum and GLSEN’s Chapter Leadership Summit.
Peggy Borgstede and Kathleen Green, Yonkers, work with LGBTQ homeless youth.
Peggy and Kathy are a couple who have devoted their lives to helping LGBTQ+ youth. They were instrumental in procuring The LOFT's present residence in the Memorial Methodist Church in White Plains. They established the Interfaith Taskforce for LGBTQ Homeless Youth in NYC. Much of their work through this taskforce has been with churches to create sanctuary and shelters for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. In addition, they organized a network of volunteers to work in these shelters and sought donations to fund them. More recently, they have endeavored to help a shelter within Children’s Village called the Sanctuary which houses homeless youth.
Adrian Shankar, Keynote Speaker, Founder & Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Adrian Shankar, the keynote speaker, is the founder and Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA. He is a leader in LGBT legal, social and health advocacy and is presently serving as a Commissioner on the PA (Pennsylvania) Commission for LGBTQ Affairs and as a Commissioner on the PA Human Relations Commission. He is a member of the ACLU of PA's Board of Directors. As a graduate of Fox Lane High School, he was a GSA leader, attended Center Lane and was a recipient of a 2004 GLSEN Hudson Valley Leadership Award. Adrian is an exciting speaker and a role model for us all!
Please come out in support of GLSEN and these extraordinary awardees! Bring friends and encourage students and their families to join in this moment of gratitude for folks who make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth! Spread the word! It promises to be a fun and inspiring evening for all.