Photo Tour: Rivera House

Take a look inside Rivera House, a residential program that serves LGBTQQI youth.

Take a photo tour of Rivera House, run by Janus Youth Programs, a residential program that serves OYA youth who identify as LGBTQQI. Read more about Rivera House here: https://insideoya.com/2019/06/12/a-place-of-their-own/ Rivera House

Dennis Morrow, executive director of Janus Youth Programs, says they wanted Rivera House to look as much like a home as possible, instead of an institution. The homey feeling starts when visitors walk up to the front door.

Rivera House

One re-entry skill youth learn at Rivera is how to live with roommates in a positive, cooperative community. Sometimes that involves working together on projects — and other times it means spending time and space away from each other to cool off after an argument.

Rivera House

Rivera staff and youth prepare meals together in the kitchen daily. Youth are required to cook at least once a week. Youth also work with staff to help create menus and go food shopping.

Rivera House

In the living room, a rainbow flag and a photo of 1960s transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson (left) and Sylvia Rivera (right) greet visitors.

Rivera House

A white board calendar in the living room details area events and support groups that might be of interest to the youth. These programs can help youth connect with the LGBTQ community, but they also give youth positive activities to fill their time.

Rivera House

Learning accountability is an important part of youths’ rehabilitation at OYA. At Rivera, they continue to receive appropriate treatment, they must maintain their sobriety, and they must demonstrate that they can follow program rules as well as laws.

Rivera House

Decorations on the wall of one youth’s room. Most youth at Rivera have a roommate and, much like in a college dorm, must learn to navigate living with others in a positive way. As the youth prepare to go back into the community, Rivera staff help them connect with resources to find housing with other members of the LGBTQQI community, or people who are supportive of the community.

Rivera House

Frank (name changed), a young artist living at Rivera, holds one of his favorite pieces. Frank created it using a technique called quilling, where he rolls, shapes, and glues together strips of paper to make designs.

Rivera House

Another one of Frank’s pieces. He doused it in coffee to give it the weathered look around the edges. He is working on a business plan for selling his art in the community.

Rivera House

Rivera keeps a clothing storage area for youth who may need extra or different apparel. Rivera youth receive a clothing voucher from OYA, but if they are transitioning genders and potentially need an entire new wardrobe, the voucher is not always sufficient.

Rivera House

Rivera program supervisor Lori Torres talks with Frank on a recent day in the upstairs “book nook.” Torres, like almost all of the staff at Rivera, identifies as part of the LGBTQ community and is able to rely on first-hand experience as she mentors youth.

  1. […] Photo Tour: Rivera House– Take a look inside a residential program that serves LGBTQQI youth. […]

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