Encircle, an LGBTQ youth and family resource center which started with a building in the shadow of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Provo Temple dedicated its third location on October 17. The downtown St. George home was donated by an Encircle board member.
“Encircle is excited and deeply grateful for the opportunity to bring our life-affirming programs and mental health services to LGBTQ+ youth and their families living in communities throughout Washington County,” says Encircle CEO Stephenie Larsen. “We want every LGBTQ+ youth in the community to know that Encircle provides safe, supportive spaces they can call home.”
The board chose St. George native Julie Benson to run the location.
“I am just amazed, totally, totally just so grateful that the community here has been nothing but embracing,” Benson said.
Encircle named the building after the parents of donor Jared Turner, in a surprise at the open house.
“At the age of 17, Kim and Terry slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered. Over the past 50 years, that love grew to encompass five children, 10 grandchildren, lifelong friends, international adventures, and fierce advocacy for the LGBTQIA community, immigrants, women, and other minority groups,” Turner said.
“Their examples of kindness, service, joy for life, and unconditional love leaves an indelible mark on everyone they meet. The mission of Encircle aligns with the ethos of Kim and Terry as they too provide a safe refuge for those who need it most.”
The structure, built-in 1869, was the Horatio Pickett House. Pickett carried a long list of accomplishments and careers, including lumber yard owner, furniture businessman, carpentry shop owner, mortician, lawyer, justice of the peace, school board member, and choir director.
Encircle announced Oct. 15 that all locations would be open to the public again, after being closed due to the pandemic. Drop-in hours are Monday through Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. Most programs, however, are still being held online.
More information on Encircle can be found at encircletogether.org