Of Condom Charity and Open Houses

As you may have read a few weeks ago, we are in dire straits when it comes to sustaining all that we do here at Scarleteen, and need more support to do so now.  Since we put out that call, we've raised around half of what we need to keep doing all we currently do, thanks to a few hundred generous individuals. Thanks so much to everyone who has given us your help so far!

However, halfway there is only halfway there. When I was in my teens, I was offered a 50% scholarship to the college I most wanted to attend: that was one hell of a scholarship, but attending meant I needed 100% of the tuition, not 50%. That 50% all by itself couldn't, and didn't, get me there.

Halfway won't get us to where we need to be, either. We need to be at that 100% by May 1st, or at least see enough new donors giving in ways we are pretty sure will be more than one-time by then to be sure that within the year, we absolutely will get there.

We're doing our part to get creative about this and find new supporters, and we've got two updates regarding fundraising today to share with you. I want to start with the one I'm super-excited about.

Lucky Bloke is a great, woman-owned, socially-committed online retailer offering premium quality condoms (and dams and gloves and lubes, too!) at affordable prices, with reasonably-priced shipping to anywhere in the world. Their site and model also includes reviews of condoms from people using them themselves to help you make choices, and other helps and education for consumers to assure they get condoms that fit well and feel great. To top all that off, they are also ardent supporters of Scarleteen. To say we really like them is a bit of an understatement.

Right now, they're stepping up their support for us by making it easy for you to help us out. And they're even doing that in a way where everyone gets goodies, and with products that help support everyone's sexual health, well-being and enjoyment, and the sexual health and well-being of the whole wide world. It just doesn't get more feel-good than that!

(drumroll please!)

Through May 1st, simply make your next purchase at LuckyBloke.com and Lucky Bloke will donate 40% of the profits of your sale to Scarleteen if you use code: SCARLETEEN when you check out! But wait, there's more! You also will save 10% off anything and everything you order.

That's 10% to you -- and the safer sex items and lubes you love -- and 40% to Scarleteen.

So, again, that's code: SCARLETEEN at checkout at LuckyBloke.com for your 10% off your purchase and 40% from anything and everything you buy when you use that code going to benefit Scarleteen directly. How cool is that?

Relatedly, this week we'd like to invite anyone who has never used or looked at any of our direct services before -- even if you are outside the age group we typically serve -- to check them out. These are the services that are most at risk of being shut down or limited if we can't get a real, sustainable change when it comes to donations by May 1st.

We're in a somewhat unique situation as an organization: the people we serve are a totally different group of people than we ask for support to provide those services to them.

Most of our users are of an age or ecomomic status where they are unable to donate, and to be honest, we would prefer not to even ever ask them. We are dedicated, as we have always been, to doing all we can to provide all that we do for users, including with direct services, at no cost to them. We strongly feel young people are simply entitled to good, and free, sexuality and relationships information and support. We also feel that those of us who are no longer young people do owe it to them, even when none of them are our own children, and we also feel that it benefits all of us, including those of us who are not young people, for them to get it. Imagine, if you will a world where at least most, if not all, young people got the sexuality, sexual health and relationships information -- sound, accurate and inclusive information intended to inform their own unique choices and lives, not to scare them into someone else's choices -- and support they wanted and needed.  We feel certain the world would be a very different, and better, place: we hope you agree.

It's probably obvious because of the work we do, but one of the core values here at Scarleteen is an understanding that, as people, it's on us to provide help and care for others who need it to whom we can provide it, especially when those people -- as all people under the age of majority are -- lack the same rights, agency or resources we may ourselves have. We do that through our work here: we're asking you to pitch in with that, as you can, with support for that work.

We know, though, it can be harder to figure out exactly what you might be supporting, or get a real feel for what we offer through those services  and what they offer our users when they are using these services, but you never have. It's not just a matter of those services being avalable, or knowing that they can use different kinds of technology to access them.  What makes our direct services so great are the way we interact with users with them: there are no canned replies, but real people directly addressing those who use them, and doing so with compassion, respect, frankness and warmth; taking time to be sure we are serving our users unique needs, as they express them to us directly, as best we can. Our users know all about this already, but those who have never used our services often won't.

So, we're inviting anyone -- of any age -- to come on in and check out those direct services for yourselves. You can use them to ask us more about what we do, or you can use them like our users most often do: to ask for help, information or resources you want or need for your own sexual life, health and relationships. We can provide the same kinds of information, help and support to people over 25 as we do to those under 25, and we're glad to do it so you can see how all of this works!

You can check out any or all of our direct services through the links on this page, here: http://www.scarleteen.com/need_help_now_a_guide_to_scarleteens_direct_services

Our message boards are publicly viewable, even though we do all we can to keep our users identities private, so if you even just want to look around them and get a sense of what we do there, you can do that without postiing a thing! But you're also absolutely welcome to post yourself, whether you want to ask one of our staff or volunteers (most of whom are young people themselves) for our expertise, or take part in one of the many fantastic moderated conversations amoung our users.