100 Stories. One Alliance.

100 Stories. ne Alliance.

An Alliance Initiative

Featuring stories from LGBTQ youth and their allies

grace youth leader alliance Grace Gonia

Grace was one of the awardees for the Activist of the Year 2012. Watch this video of Grace explaining how the Alliance supports LGBTQ youth sensitize their peers and help build safer schools.

manny capozzi night of noise alliance 2015 mister e machine band indie rock rainbow twist Manny Capozzi

Manny Capozzi, a band member of Mister E Machine, who performed at the Alliance's Night of Noise 2015, speaks about the importance of the work the Alliance does.

emma leff safe schools youth committee alliance nonprofit justice equality Emma Leff

Emma Leff, former Youth Committee Member & Activist of the Year award winner in 2012, speak about their time as a youth activist.


jessica ratchford youth alliance committee queer straight alliance great gay national gathering university of illinois Jessica Ratchford

Jessica Ratchford, a former Alliance Youth Committee member, speaks about the role of the Youth Committee in helping them hone their leadership, youth activism and organizing skills.

casey horton abbvie board chair elect member LGBTQ youth illinois state alliance youth committee Casey Horton

Casey Horton, the Alliance Board’s Chair-Elect, speaks about ways in which the Alliance has impacted LGBTQ youth throughout Illinois.

melissa ockerman depaul university education counseling PhD alliance training professional development Melissa Ockerman

Melissa Ockerman, current Alliance board member and Co-Chair of the Education and Training (E.A.T) Committee speaks about the Alliance's commitment to LGBTQ youth across Illinois.

ellen jo ljung board member alliance teacher gay straight network Ellen Ljung

Listen to one of our former boardmembers speak about her experience with establishing a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) in the 1990's, as well as the key support that the Alliance provides to LGBTQ and allied youth in schools across Illinois. 


abe akande storyteller alliance 100 stories Abe Akande

Listen to Abe Akande tell their Alliance story. Abe won the Activist of the Year in 2012 and their story is sure to inspire others! 

india murphy they youth alliance committee night of noise day of silence GLSEN LGBTQ allies allied youth organization India Murphy

Youth Committee member India tells us their Alliance story and how they found allies, friends and mentors during their time here. 

katya alliance mazon youth committee member safe schools LGBTQ Katya Mazon

Listen to Katya Mazon, Activist of the Year 2014, speak about the Night of Noise and the Alliance Youth Committee's role. 

clinton rosette middle school dekalb illinois youth leaders LGBT allies LGBTQQ students advisor safe schools welcoming acceptance inclusion Clinton Rosette Middle School GSA

Clinton Rosette Middle School, DeKalb, IL's GSA members and advisor describe their Alliance journey.

sarah schriber program director prevent school violence illinois safe schools anti bullying prevention act Sarah Schriber

 Sarah Schriber, former Alliance Policy Director, who now serves as Coalition Director of Prevent School Violence Illinois, talks about the Alliance work ethic and culture, and how the Alliance has been youth-driven and youth-centered since its inception.

zephyr youth committee alliance LGBTQ activism leader leadership camp night of noise day of silence event Zephyr

Zephyr, a current Alliance Youth Committee member speaks about their experiences as a youth activist and leader.

In April 2015, the Alliance – among other organizations across the state – was notified that our State grant was being suspended after the Governor’s office decided to cut social services, public health, and education programs to address a budget shortfall. This grant accounts for nearly 15% of our annual operating expenses and is essential to our ability to support and promote safer schools for LGBTQ and allied youth across Illinois. While it was announced today that the administration intends to restore a small portion of those cuts, there remains uncertainty as to the future of these specific funds and those supporting the 2015-2016 school year. This uncertainty directly impacts our ability to continue to support to GSAs and provide professional development and advocacy to schools and communities across the state.

What We'll be Doing

To help establish the organization’s financial stability in the months ahead, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance is proud to unveil its 100 Stories. One Alliance. Campaign. Your support in reaching our $100,000 goal will help sustain the Alliance’s work with GSAs across the state, and allow us to continue being able to provide training and support to schools and communities throughout Illinois! 

Every week, we will feature new stories representing unique voices impacted by the work of the Alliance. Together, these storytellers, are taking one journey which demonstrates a shared commitment to LGBTQ and allied youth across Illinois.

What You Can Do

Join Us! Donate. Share these stories. Tell us your own Alliance story. Encourage your friends and family to listen and give.

All funds received via this campaign will directly support our youth leadership, advocacy, and professional development programs, so that more students, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender-identity/expression, have access to safe and inclusive learning environments.

We are excited and grateful to all our storytellers, and you—our donors and allies—for your time and continued support.  Help us get to $100,000 and inspire hundreds more stories!


Share your Alliance Story! Email Ranjani Murali, our Communications and Development Manager, at ranjani@illinoissafeschools.org for details on telling your own story.


We are grateful to all our supporters who donated through our Fundly page or our website. We are honored to feature your name in our Winter 2015 newsletter, due in November.

Today's Story

melissa ockerman depaul university education counseling PhD alliance training professional development
Melissa Ockerman is an Associate Professor at DePaul University’s Counseling Program, and serves on the Alliance’s Board as well as our Education and Training (E.A.T) Committee. She speaks to us about her Alliance journey as well as the specialized professional development and training...