We've come a long way in the last few decades, but for many young people SMYAL remains the only place where they can openly and safely be themselves. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are at greater risk than their heterosexual peers for physical abuse, homelessness, suicide, HIV infection, substance abuse, and dropping out of school. Newly-focused on youth leadership, SMYAL enables teens to build confidence, develop life skills, and engage their peers in service and advocacy projects. And the Youth Center provides a supportive, welcoming environment for those rejected by their families and isolated from their communities. Support and discussion groups explore self-esteem, health, sexual activity, drug abuse, and violence protection; free HIV testing, counseling, and referral are offered to everyone. Committed to a better world for the next generation, SMYAL trains schools to work with LGBTQ youth in an effective, affirming way and advocates for services that these youth need as they grow up. Some young people believe that assault and harassment are just the facts of life. We know better.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 6

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Montgomery County; MD-Prince George's County; VA-Arlington County; VA-Fairfax County; VA-City of Alexandria; VA-City of Fairfax; VA-City of Falls Church

Age Groups Served: Youth; Adolescence; Teenagers; Young Adult; Grade 9-12

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 90%; Asian American, 1%; Caucasian, 2%; Latino/Hispanic, 2%; Multicultural, 3%; Other, 2%

Population(s) Served: Gays/Lesbians; HIV/AIDs; Low- to Moderate-Income; Students

Awards & Recognition

GLAA Distinguished Service Award, April 2012
Washington Blade "Best Nonprofit" Award, 2011
Capital Pride Parade "Lady Gaga Award" for Best Theme and Energy, June 2011


  • Organization helps young LGBT community
    Thu Dec 4 2008  
    Washington, D.C.'s only completely youth-centered sexual orientation awareness group has created a place of belonging for LGBT teens in the Prince George's County and the District, bringing them together for events that range from movie nights to group counseling and making sure everyone who walks through its doors gets tested for HIV and is educated about safe sex.

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

Budget (FY2011)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue selected us as one of its featured charities! Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $30 million for charities across Greater Washington.

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