When the holiday season comes to an end and all the festivities are over, you are left with a new year. It can be a time to set in place all the things you wished you would have done in 2013. I know I am taking full advantage of the New Year by ensuring that the youth we serve at Compass have access to the resources, technology and opportunities that they deserve.

Our goals for 2014 are to further the potential of our youth by providing them with opportunities that nurture their talents, enhance their cultural exploration activities and link them with positive peer role models. Our youth are some of the brightest and most actively involved in South Florida. They are already leaders in their community and school.

As future leaders we’re providing scholarships for them to visit our state capitol for Legislative Education Advocacy Days in March, hosting Compass Youth’s 2nd Annual Equality Prom in May, expanding Cultural Exploration activities throughout the year and recently sent some of them to the 26th Annual National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference in Houston.

We are fortunate to have individual support and community partners like Integrity – Palm Beach at St. Andrews Episcopal Church and Penny’s at the Duke who support the efforts we strive to achieve this year by hosting annual fundraisers. Integrity – Palm Beach at St. Andrews Episcopal Church is a longtime supporter of Compass Youth Program and is hosting a Mardi Gras fundraiser Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.

Last year, Penny’s at The Duke created South Florida’s only Gay Chili Cook-off and they are bringing it back! You do not want to miss out on this event. Roll up your sleeves, slip into those Daisy Dukes, break out the Cowboy boots and come hungry!

On Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. there will be celebrity performers with DJ Q spinning the best country music, a 50/50 raffle, and prizes for the fan-favorite chili. The best part is, all entry proceeds and half of the 50/50 raffle support fantastic opportunities for Compass Youth to reach their goal for 2014.

If you are just like me and want to start the New Year off on my best pair heels, it is the perfect time to come out to support your community and give back to the next generation of leaders. With your support and participation we can make our youth goals a reality.

Julia Murphy is the Youth Program Director. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.