The Ruth Ellis Center hosted its second annual benefit Voices with special celebrity guest Wanda Sykes on September 20. Voices, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), celebrates the resilience of the more than 4,000 homeless, runaway and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth the Ruth Ellis Center serves annually.
The event also included two major announcements: this year’s recipients of the Ruth’s Angels Award, and Sykes’ surprise announcement that she had donated $15,000 to the Ruth Ellis Center, matching a $15,000 grant announced by PNC Bank earlier in the evening.
The Ruth’s Angels Award began last year and is given to individuals in the community who demonstrate dedication to helping provide safe space for homeless LGBTQ youth. Two of the Ruth Ellis Center’s founding and current board members, Dr. Kofi Adoma (Amorie Robinson) and John Allen, received this year’s Ruth’s Angels Award. Adoma, a clinical psychologist at Michigan Third Circuit Court Family Division Clinic for Child Study, and Allen, a partner at Allen Brothers PLLC Law Firm, were instrumental in the formation of the Ruth Ellis Center in 1998.
The Center’s mission is to provide short-term and long-term safe space through:
Ruth’s House – a full-time residential program that is a State of Michigan licensed Child Caring Institution.
Second Stories Drop-in Center – A facility that offers youth resources such as full meals, gender identity support groups, on-site mental health therapy, laundry facility and clothing, a cyber center, and recreation.
Street Outreach Program – a peer-driven model that uses harm reduction and community involvement to authentically connect with LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness.
Source: Ruth Ellis Center