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Staff Spotlight: Layne Gianakos, Young Adult Services Coordinator

Layne Gianakos brings to TCC a passion for local community work and an understanding of the needs of young adults in Connecticut. He is TCC's most recent hire and another staff dedicated to programs and client services- a symbol of the center's exponential growth as a service organization and dedication to serving the community.


Welcome aboard, Layne! What is your role at TCC?

I have the position of Young Adult Services Coordinator and will be facilitating the new Young Adult Space known as YAS!

What does the LGBTQ community mean to you?

To me, the LGBTQ community means family. It means uplifting one another and providing support. It means triumph in the face of adversity. I consider every member of the LGBTQ community part of my family, and I live my life in a way that acknowledges and supports all members of that community.

A big part of your job is coordination of the YAS program. What is YAS to you?
YAS stands for Young Adult Space and is essentially a welcoming and affirming drop-in center for all young adults aged 18-25. YAS will have several roles for the young adult community. First and foremost, it is a safe space to hang out and meet other young adults. Anyone can walk in and spend some time at the center- there are no requirements for young adults who want to hang out. They can come alone or bring friends. We are working hard to provide fun and relaxing activities as well as snacks. Second, it is a way to link young adults to much needed services. If someone comes in and needs assistance with housing, mental health services, healthcare navigation, substance abuse, name and gender change documents, or social support, we will provide that. Essentially, the space will be whatever a young adult needs it to be. Think of it like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter.

Why is YAS needed? Why is Triangle Community Center the perfect place to run this program?

There are lots of community services for youth, families, and older adults. However, there is a lack of support for young adults. Transitioning into adulthood has always been difficult and today’s young adults face more struggles than other generations have at the same age. YAS will provide the support needed for young adults to thrive during this difficult period and be better prepared to succeed as an adult.

Triangle Community Center is a lovely place for YAS since the organization has a long history of uplifting community members. Triangle Community Center already provides a multitude of services, social events, and support groups so YAS can follow the example of these successful programs while also catering to a specific group. The only thing different about YAS is that it has a specific age range (18-25) and it is NOT just for LGBTQ folks.

Who can benefit from YAS?

Any young adult who comes to YAS can benefit. It is a place to connect with other young adults, learn from one another, and receive services. However, we are particularly useful to any young adults who might be struggling with homelessness, mental health concerns, substance abuse, or need guidance for specific things like finding a job or eating well on a budget. As the space grows, we will have more events and programs to offer.

What is the experience of someone walking into the YAS space?

When you first walk into YAS, you should feel welcomed but not pressured to move in any one direction. We provide fun activities like adult coloring books and cheesy board games, but I will also be there to provide support in any way that it is needed. Even if someone just needs a safe space to unwind, they can walk in and get comfortable.

What are the ways any of our readers can support TCC’s clients in a more direct way?

If anyone reading this wants to help support YAS, the biggest thing would be promoting YAS. Since we are brand new, it will take some time to be known as a safe and helpful space for 18 to 25-year-olds. Let your friends know about the space, even if they aren’t a young adult. Odds are, most people know at least one person who can benefit from YAS. If we can get those individuals to come together, we can do much greater work in the community.

Want to give us some facts about this demographic?

It’s hard to be a young adult in today’s world, but it isn’t all doom and gloom. The current generation of young adults have a lot to offer:

-        Young adults are the most racially, ethnically diverse generation yet. 

-        Today’s young adults are charitable- 81% have donated money, goods, or services and 84% agree that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than being recognized professionally.

-        Young adults are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

 

Walden University and Harris Interactive

Pew Research

Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business


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