Atlanta’s Lost-N-Found Youth, a nonprofit working to get homeless LGBT youth off the streets and into permanent housing while also teaching job and life skills, was featured on a local news station Thursday.
Justin Ziegler, Lost-N-Found board member, and Ryan Peterson, who is receiving help from the organization, discussed their thoughts with WSB-TV on being gay and the fight for equality while on a visit at the city’s new Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Peterson is HIV positive, fighting an addiction to methamphetamine and grateful for the grace of a second chance.
“Every day my emotions are coming back and I’m able to feel things again,” Peterson said. “Every day I wake up and I’m so glad to be alive.”
Ziegler said he uses that for motivation. He believes complacency is a current stumbling block, and urged the younger generation in metro Atlanta to pick up the baton from civil rights greats to carry equality forward.
“Absolutely I’m hopeful, especially after seeing this, to see where we are now compared to where we were or where we could be, seeing people around the world who dream of being in a world where they have situations and opportunity like we have,” Ziegler said.
The organization currently owns and operates a thrift store to raise funds for housing and other expenses for young adults they are currently helping transition into more stable environments and is undertaking a capital campaign to renovate and open a new housing center.
Within the sizable thrift store, where youth can also learn job skills, is a drop-in center for young people in need. At the drop-in center, teens can eat a hot meal, get hygienic kits, use a computer, take a shower and even do laundry.
Lost-N-Found was voted Best LGBT Nonprofit in the GA Voice’s Best of Atlanta issue.