Sweet Evening Breeze is committed to Louisville's LGBT+ youth and young adults experiencing homelessness by going beyond the expectations of shelter, hope, and healing.Donate
We are fiscally sponsored by the Community Foundation of Louisville, Inc., a 501c3 public charity.
Sweet Evening Breeze was founded to address the overrepresentation of LGBT+ youth among youth experiencing homelessness in Louisville which mirrors national data and the lack of affirming services to address the additional risk they face while on the streets compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.
It was James Herndon "Sweets," a Kentucky historical figure whose hospitality and compassion for others inspired our purpose and vision to offer LGBTQ+ affirming emergency shelter, food and supportive services for youth who may experience homelessness and find themselves in need of inclusive resources.
We strive to provide Louisville's youth experiencing homelessness with an open and affirming environment, and are committed to empowering and connecting our residents to vital resources while facilitating their community engagement through the promotion of socially just services, education, and care.
Planned services include a day program, shelter, case management, referrals, and mental health services for youth ages 18-24. Additionally, we will engage in research to develop and promote promising practices to help inform interventions for the population.
Click below to donate. All donations are incredibly appreciated!Donate
Further information about ways you can help will be communicated through our Facebook page as well as the volunteer email database.
For inquiries, please contact our board chair, Brian Wilson via email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors
Brian Wilson, MSW, BSW, BA
As The Community Outreach Specialist formerly with YMCA Safe Place, Brian has worked directly with the potential population. An Alumni of Beta Theta Pi, Brian served as a Board Member for the Louisville Youth Group, and was a moderator for the LGBT Rural Summit with True Colors and the USDA Department of Civil Rights in Lexington, KY. Hosted the LGBT People of Color Community Town Hall in Louisville, KY. Brian has a deep understanding of the potential population needs.
Dr. Cynthia L. Conley, Ph.D., MSW
Director of Graduate Education Associate Professor School of Social Work Spalding University
As a faculty at Spalding University, Dr. Conley has worked with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) young adults and their families since the late 1990's in community settings, organizations, and at the university level. Dr. Conley has an understanding of the community needs.
Ariel Brooks, MSSW, CSW
As a Child/Adolescent Therapist at Our Lady of Peace, Ariel been working for the betterment of homeless and vulnerable teens and young adults for her entire career. Ariel completes community work in Louisville's Black, LGBTQ, and reproductive justice spheres. Ariel has a deep understanding of the potential population needs.
Tamara Russell, MSSW
Tamara is currently working as an Academic Counselor for the University Honors Program and an Academic Coordinator for the MLK Scholars Program at the University of Louisville. For nearly four years, she worked in the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs, where her primary job was to support four areas â€“ Cultural Center, Black Family Conference, the LGBT Center and Diversity Education and Inclusive Excellence. Her undergraduate degree is in General Studies with a minor is Sociology from Indiana University Southeast. She recently completed her graduate degree from the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. She has a deep passion for creating a more inclusive, accessible and equitable public education system; youth advocacy, restorative justice and racial justice efforts. Her previous professional experience was working predominately with youth, young adults and families at the following organizations: Maryhurst, Bellewood, Audubon Youth Development Center - DJJ, Portland Neighborhood House and King Elementary.
Dr. Maurice N. Gattis, M.S.S.W., Ph.D.
Dr. Gattis is Associate Professor at the Kent School of Social Work at University of Louisville and has engaged in peer-reviewed published research regarding youth experiencing homelessness with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ youth for more than a decade in the United States and Canada. Dr. Gattis has a strong commitment to and deep understanding of the needs of the population and best practices related to providing affirming and effective services.
Dr. Emma Sterrett-Hong, LMFT, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Sterrett-Hong is a Couple and Family Therapy Program Director at the Kent School of Social Work and head of a research lab on the potential of relationships with adults and mentors in natural contexts (families, schools, communities) to reduce health disparities affecting ethnic minority, sexual minority, and low-income youth. Dr. Sterrett-Hong has an understanding of the potential population needs.
Nikki Thornton, BA
Director of Program Operations for True Up. True Up empowers young people in foster care and alumni to gain the critical life skills they need to make a successful transition from a structured environment to self-sufficiency in our communities. Nikki has an understanding of community needs, relationships, and experience working with the potential population.
Samantha Reams, CSW
As the Family & Children's Place Site Supervisor for the Family and School Services Department and a University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work graduate, Samantha has worked directly with the potential population. Samantha has worked at Home of the Innocents and is currently serving as the Board Secretary for Sweet Evening Breeze. Samantha has a deep understanding of the community needs.
James "Sweet Evening Breeze" Herndon, was a pioneer in the LGBTQ community. Sweet Evening Breeze was born in Scott County, KY in 1892 and was considered by some to be the originator of the Lexington drag scene. After growing up in the Good Samaritan Hospital, Sweet Evening Breeze worked as an orderly for more than forty years.
Sweet Evening Breeze was well liked in the Lexington Community and known to participate in random acts of kindness such as baking cookies for people or giving poorer families shoes. During the 1940s and 50s when cross-dressing in public was very rare, Sweet Evening Breeze dressed in women's clothes. Sweet Evening Breeze enjoyed playing the piano, attending church regularly and loved church music. Later in life, Sweet Evening Breeze lived at the Homestead Nursing Center where Sweet Evening Breeze passed in 1983.