Local Support Group Helps Latino Gay Youth

'Sabores' Already Making Impact On Local Youth

INDIO, Calif. - Alex Aldana is 24 years old and he's gay. He was raised in a traditional Mexican family and lived in Guadalajara, Mexico until the age of 15.

"I grew up in a private school in Mexico, and it was Catholic and it was always if you don't do something right there's a punishment and God forbid if I was gay," said Aldana.

As a teen, he approached the Gay-Straight Alliance of his high school.

"I met people through the GSA network meetings in high school. That has always been a useful tool but after high school I was like 'OK, I have nobody else to meet'," said Aldana.

Our country has different racial backgrounds and kids and young adults often face situations of harassment and discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation. Aldana said that's why getting involved now is so important.

"When he came he brought "Sabores" with him from east L.A. which was a great thing for the kids, for the youth, because we didn't have that," said Aldana.

Joanna Alfaro works for "Bienestar" which means well-being in Spanish. It provides services for those living with HIV in the Coachella Valley. "Sabores" means flavors in Spanish and is part of "Bienestar" here in the desert.

"It's a place where they can feel safe and comfortable. They can talk about anything," said Alfaro.

Gianna Chavez is 17 years old and is involved with "Sabores." She says she loves helping people and looks to continue with the group for a long time.

"Volunteering with this organization has influenced me a lot. I've actually had the chance to run the support group sometimes, and I'm the president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Indio High so, I love doing this. I love helping people," said Chavez.

Aldana said that although there's still a lot of ground to cover "Sabores" is a good start.

For more information on how to get involved with this group go to the home page and click seen on 3.

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