The Nashville Predators Foundation empowered by SmileDirectClub is still hard at work making a difference in the community, and the Oasis Center has become the latest beneficiary of a donation to help change lives.
Proceeds totaling $14,500 Fifth Annual Nashville Predators Pride Night have been donated to three non-profits in support of LGBTQ assistance programming, and on Friday, Oasis Center and its Just Us program received a check valued at $7,500 with the funds set to have a direct impact on those in the LGBTQ community who need it most.
The Nashville-based Oasis Center provides nearly 20 programs and services, all of which aim to assist youth and their families through safety, belonging, empowerment and generosity. Just Us, a collection of these offerings at Oasis Center, is dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth achieve their full potential.
"Through the Nashville Predators Foundation, we will be able to provide additional summer programming to young people through a virtual platform," Oasis Center Director of LGBTQ Programs & Development Pamela Sheffer said. "We will deliver 'Summer Camp' activity bundles to each camper's home, which will engage them with activities like reading, gardening, writing and art projects, with a daily check in with each other and a Just Us staff member via Discord. The goal is to help LGBTQ youth feel connected, challenged and like they have a sense of purpose while remaining safe at home."
Just Us is a collection of positive youth development programs and mental health support services dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth achieve their full potential. Through Just Us, for high school youth, and Becoming Us, for middle school youth, the organization creates a space for young people to explore and celebrate their identities through team building, community connections, service learning and college access.
While remaining safer at home during these times, Oasis Center has moved programs to a secure online platform through Discord, and they have been able to stay connected and engaged with high school and middle school youth across Middle Tennessee. They've logged more than 900 hours of facilitated conversations through check-ins, remote service learning, watching and discussing LGBTQ+ media and more.
Sheffer says Oasis Center offers programming and assistance to approximately 150 children and teens, and once combined with family members, the organization supports nearly 300 individuals who are looking for the reassurance that they matter.
"Middle school and high school can be tough, and we're able to bring these students in and they can be their true, authentic selves in a safe space with each other," Sheffer said. "They see others that are like them, and that connection is life-changing.
"Thank you to the Nashville Predators Foundation for this incredible Golden Moment for the Just Us program at Oasis Center. This amazing gift will go a long way in helping us improve the lives of our young people and their families, fulfilling the mission of the Nashville Predators Foundation."