Trailblazing 4 ROSMY: One Girls Trek is a Non-profit’s Gain
Fresh out of VCU, Richmonder Katheryne Lewis hopes to hike the entire Appalachian Trail for a cause that’s near and dear to many members of the Richmond LGBTQ community; ROSMY.
“ROSMY, being a non-profit, it can be hard to get publicity, so I’m excited to help raise awareness about them and have conversations with people about the issues facing LGBTQ youth,” said Lewis. She’s readied her hiking boots and is looking for support. Using a GoFundMe online donation program, Lewis is hoping to raise $2000 for the walk to speak with folks she meets along the way about the local nonprofit that specializes in supporting sexual minority youth. She needs $1 for ever mile of the trail.
“LGBTQ youth remain at risk for substance abuse, depression, and even suicide. ROSMY works in Richmond, VA to educate, provide support, and advocate on behalf of LGBTQ youth,” said Lewis on her GoFundMe page. Though she grew up in Northern Virginia, she’s been in Richmond for the last 4 years going to VCU. She said the many friends she’s made within the LGBTQ community here in Richmond helped her pick from the many causes that concerned her.
Lewis and her girlfriend Émilie Mulcahey
When someone suggested ROSMY, Lewis “had a ‘duh’ moment.” “They’re a great organization, why wouldn’t I do it with them,” said Lewis. “I’ve made a lot of trans friends in the last few years, and they always said how great ROSMY was in their support for the trans community.”
Lewis, who considers herself a regular hiker, was excited about the 2000 mile hike ahead of her. She already had dreams of making a living in the great out doors, and this journey is a way for her to do just that for a larger cause. “I’ve thought of just living in the woods for the last year, so I figured hiking the trail would make a great challenge for myself. And it would help prepare me for a career in wildland firefighting in the forest service.”
Lewis approached Beth Panilaitis, ROSMY’s executive Director, a few weeks ago and spoke to her about her hopes for the project. Panilaitis said ROSMY is always grateful for folks looking for creative and interesting ways to help the non-profit raise funds. Part of the hike includes talking with folks Lewis runs into along the way and telling them about the issues faced by LGBTQ youth. Panilaitis sat down with Lewis and gave her the tools she needed to inform and educate people. “She’s really equipped with all the information to really go out and speak on ROSMY programs and the larger issues of LGBTQ youth,” said Panilaitis.
Lewis is readying her travel bag and hoping to reach her $2000 goal – head on over to her GoFundMe page and consider donating some dollars to a great cause in a creative fashion. “I’m extremely excited to be doing this,” said Lewis. “Doing it for ROSMY is gonna make it even more fulfilling, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone when I get back.”
“Times and culture have shifted and the organization has expanded over the course of 25 years toward building communities with LGBTQ+ youth, families, schools, and faith communities.”September 12, 2016
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