Terence McPhaul, the controversial executive director of the beleaguered YouthPride, spoke at a 2013 Atlanta conference for youth where he lied about some of the achievements the organization has achieved.
In a video posted Feb. 28, McPhaul is seen addressing a group of youth at the 2013 TEDxYouth@TheBeltline conference and claims, among other things, that in 2012 YouthPride saved 22 people from suicide.
He also said the rock group Fun. gave a private concert to YouthPride at the Tabernacle, which McPhaul noted seats about 1,000 people. The concert was actually open to the public. However, Fun. does have what it calls The Ally Coalition which calls for LGBT equality.
McPhaul also stated YouthPride has been “recognized by the White House.” However, it’s not clear if he means members of YouthPride that are a part of a different organization called National Youth Pride Services.
YouthPride has a comprehensive counseling and mental health program, McPhaul stated, and he also boasted about a Kaiser Permanente Clinic that YouthPride has, although no mention of such a clinic is made on its website. YouthPride was also mandated by Fulton County to refund more than $18,000 for not fulfilling its mental health services as required through a grant.
McPhaul said YouthPride has served 30,000 people since it opened in 1995 and serves an average of 4,000 youth a year, helping them with such issues as housing, food, healthcare and even getting them eyeglasses if necessary.
Universities from across the country are also seeking out YouthPride, including U.C. Berkeley and the University of Chicago, McPhaul said, because of the programming it provides. He added there is a desire and a push to take YouthPride’s programming nationwide. However, a federal program pulled funding from YouthPride for its lack of leadership.
The reason for YouthPride’s national success, said McPhaul, is in part due to Fun.’s support. Other musical artists are also wanting to help YouthPride, McPhaul also added.
McPhaul and YouthPride have a long history of not paying rent to landlords and most recently, criminal warrants were issued against McPhaul for writing bad checks in the name of YouthPride.
William Teasley, an organizer of TEDxYouth@TheBeltline, said he learned about McPhaul’s controversial past after he posted the video and that the video was likely to be pulled soon.
“We reached out to the organization two years ago and [McPhaul] expressed an interest in participating,” Teasley said. But eventually McPhaul said he and YouthPride were unavailable.
“Typically when we reach out to an organization that isn’t youth-led, we have the executive director speak and also a youth from the organization speak to share their journey,” Teasley said.
Leading up to the 2013 event, Teasley said there was sporadic communication between him and McPhaul but that a spot was left open to have a YouthPride speaker. Shortly before the conference, McPhaul told Teasley that he was able to speak but there was not a youth from YouthPride available to speak at the conference.
Because there was already a spot locked in for YouthPride, McPhaul was allowed to speak for about eight minutes.
“One of the things we do is strive to have diverse youth,” Teasley said. “Next year our plan is to have JustUs Atlanta as part of the program.”