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Daily Inspiration: Meet Sharon Herrera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Herrera.

Hi Sharon, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I wanted to save lives. In September 2010, several publicized suicides of LGBTQ youth reminded me of my pain, fear and suicide attempt at the age of 16.

The first LGBTQ SAVES meeting was held in my backyard. SAVES volunteers and I funded the organization out-of-own pocket while hosting meetings and events where we could.

We became an official non-profit in May of 2016.

We are a 100% donor-funded organization and throughout our journey, our message of hope has been heard by local, small and large organizations. Bell Helicopter has been supporting us for three years now and sponsored our first ever Drive By Christmas event in 2020. Imperial Court de Fort Worth/Arlington and Miss Gay Texas State Pageant have been long-time supporters to ensure we can continue serving, supporting and saving LGBTQ youth lives. We are so grateful to the following organizations and local businesses for supporting our youth during Pride month with partnerships and fundraising:

Centerlink, IHeartRadio, and Proctor & Gamble with Can’t Cancel Pride Virtual Celebration
Wander Roots with Pride Market Crawl
Radical Roots Art Collective with Poetry Slam at Grandma’s Bar
Brenda Ayala with ONEHOPE Wine
The Sweetest Pea Shoppe
13th Floor Crochet Designs
Susie Skull
Tulips
Bearded Lady
Panther Island Brewery
Brian Jolin with Jolin Promotions
Josecito’s Wood Creations
La Casa Retro
Millwood Hospital
Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats
Jabian Cares
Mental Health Connection
HWNT (Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas)
And many more!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I started this organization without any idea ‘how to’ with simply a vision and mission to save lives! Our youth needed not only a safe space but also a brave place to be themselves and thrive. Fortunately, there have been some incredible volunteers helping me along this 11- year journey to ensure we are able to do the life-saving work that we do.

90% of the youth we serve have contemplated or attempted suicide.

Grants and grant writers- where are you? We are growing so rapidly, despite Covid and we need to expand our staff to better serve all the youth reaching out virtually. We are currently in Connecticut, Florida, Washington State, Michigan and Ohio and beyond Fort Worth in other Texas cities.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Veteran of the United States Air Force, consultant and owner of SHARE Link LLC, Founder and Executive Director of LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. and serve as a leader in the LGBTQ community of Tarrant County. I work closely with many organizations, universities, and school districts to help further education on LGBTQ issues. I am also one of twelve ‘Mujeres Poderosas’ (Legacy of Strong Latinas in Fort Worth), I sit on KERA/KXT Community Advisory Board, Millwood Hospital LGBTQ Advisory Council, The Parenting Center Board and the 1012 Leadership Coalition (Community collective to acquire the former KKK auditorium in Fort Worth, Texas and transform it into a center and museum for arts and community healing.) My wife Marcel and I live in Fort Worth, Texas.

I work full-time at Fort Worth ISD as a Student Engagement Specialist.

I specialize and am known for serving and helping others.

Proudest: Having an organization, in its 11th year, that serves LGBTQ youth and the lives we have served, supported and saved.

Apart from others: We are strictly focused on LGBTQ youth and provide a safe and brave space for them to thrive!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
If it requires more than one person, gather a group of friends that understand and believe in your message and go for it!

Many people told me my non-profit wouldn’t last three years because of financial and volunteer support and here we are…

A HUGE shout out to Tarleton State University for helping us throughout our journey. Social work interns have been volunteering with us since 2015 and our incredible past and current volunteers, especially Amanda Sims and Bertinand Gardner.

Anything you wish you knew when you were starting out? I’m still learning! When you serve youth, you never stop learning!

Contact Info:

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