The saying “home for the holidays” doesn’t exist for hundreds of LGBTQ youth in the Valley and beyond. They are on the streets or bunking up in someone’s home after being pushed out because of their family’s discomfort with their sexual orientation or gender identity. While some Arizonans might be busy with last minute shopping and prepping for parties and meals, or ticking off their lists for the Christmas season, fifteen bars, restaurants, and coffee shops return for another year to help one•n•ten collect a few necessities and fun gift items for LGBTQ youth ages 14-24.
A long running program, one•n•ten’s Adopt-A-Diva and Queermas invites people and the customers from a variety of small businesses to pitch in for a small gift to support the youth who are working hard to get on their feet, despite facing bullying or other challenges. Through December 19th, people can make the contributions and let the volunteer elves wrap and ready the gifts for the special holiday celebration.
one•n•ten provides its youth, who they reach across the Phoenix metro region, in Flagstaff and beyond, with tools to improve self-esteem by providing access to social programs that promote self‐acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices. That works comes to life in its youth centers and a variety of counseling groups, housing programs, employment programs, QLBC, a nationally-recognized summer camp, athletics, arts and music, and partnerships with national LGBTQ organizations.
“We have a number of businesses that return year after year to invite their customers, or community angels, to pull a tag for the “holiday wish list” and help us play Santa for the youth on Christmas Day,” says Nate Rhoton, executive director for one•n•ten. “Our amazing community will prep for the youth to arrive on Christmas Day, serve up a hot meal, kick in some caroling, a small gift and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus!”
People can help by heading to one of the participating businesses, pull a tag and fulfill the wish of the youth. All gifts, wrapped or unwrapped, should be turned in between 10am and 5:30pm Monday-Friday no later than Wednesday, December 19th at the one•n•ten offices located at 1101 N Central Ave. #202 Phoenix, AZ 85004.
Adopt-A-Diva Trees can be found at the following Valley businesses:
Bar 1 905 N 4th St, Phoenix
Bliss Rebar 905 N 4th St, Phoenix
BS West 7125 E. 5th Ave. Scottsdale
Bunkhouse Saloon 4428 N 7th Ave, Phoenix
Cash Inn 2140 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix
Community Church of Hope 4121 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix
Fair Trade Cafe 1020 N 1st Ave, Phoenix
Kobalt 3110 N. Central Ave. #175 Phoenix
Los Diablos 1028 E Indian School Rd. Phoenix
Pink Elephant Records 2240 N Scottsdale Rd. Tempe
Stacy’s At Melrose 4343 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix
Swizzle Inn 5835 N 16th St. Phoenix
The Rock 4129 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix
Valley Unitarian Universalist Church 6400 W. Del Rio St. Chandler
Volt 3108 E McDowell Rd. Phoenix
If you can’t make it to one of those businesses, one•n•ten’s wish list of most requested items can be mailed or dropped to its offices. They include bus passes, art supplies, athletic shoes in all sizes, socks in all sizes, gift cards to places like Hot Topic or Gamestop, bookstores, grocery stores, quick serve restaurants, Walmart and elsewhere, underwear for both men and women of all sizes, and fun wigs. Contributions can also be made through the Amazon Wish List just by searching for one•n•ten.
For questions on the program, please call 602.400.2601 ext 2. Cash donations to one•n•ten are eligible for the Arizona low income tax credit for charitable organizations. Donors can receive a credit for the full amount of their donation on their taxes, including up to $400 for single filers and $800 for those who file jointly.
More on one•n•ten can be found at onenten.org.