Once upon a time I was a closeted teen, with no where to go... Then I found the Internet. WOW!! The Internet gave me the courage and the resources to come out to myself, and then to friends and family. The relationships I have established with people on the Internet are more real to me than some of the relationships I have with people that are around me personally every day. The people I met through the Internet gave me love and support when I thought there was none. Silly me though, all I had to do was first be proud of who I was, then tell my friends and family who the real me was, and I would discover that there was love and support there for me the whole time.

Unfortunately though, I know that many teens don't have this luxury. I found my salvation through the Internet. If I didn't have Internet access I don't think I would be here today... honestly. So I have this very intense need to give back what was given to me. That is why I am such an outspoken advocate for gay+ youth (gay+ meaning gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning and supportive youth!). I must be there for people who feel they have no one. Because people were there for me on the other side of the computer, when I felt I had no one.

And so I began my work as (what I have been called by others) "The Internet Youth Guardian". Pretty nifty title, doncha think? I started with a personal home page and joining the PFLAG-TALK list (of which I am now a ListAssistant). My presence on that list led to forming the SCHOOLS list.

What prompted me to start the YOUTH lists was the fact that I was being bombarded by email from people reading about me over the Internet and visiting my web page. Thousands of teens needed help and support, and I wanted to be there for each and every one of them. But eventually, in my quest to be this sort of "saviour" to gay+ youth, I started to neglect my "real world" responsibilities (i.e. work, school, house work, eating, etc.). I knew something had to change, but I also knew I just couldn't give up what I had started. So I thought, what if there was an email list specificically for youth, then, all these people could be teamed up with each other and help each other. I could still feel good knowing that they were brought together because of me, but I could refocus on getting myself back together.

So that's the start of the story... The rest is still in progress. I think I have a great team of people I like to call my YOUTH staff. And I know I have a great bunch of subscribers.

Thanks for visiting us, and if you have any ideas, suggestions, or comments, please be sure to let me know.

-- Jason Hungerford
YOUTH13-17 / YOUTH17-21 / YOUTH21-25 ListOwner
Email: Jason Hungerford
WWW: http://www.youth-guard.org/jason