News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director | Melonie Marano, Commissioner Deputy Director

Doug Singleterry, Commissioner | Sara Sooy, Commissioner | Paul M. Drake, Commissioner




March 7, 2022

Somerset County Office of Youth Services to Host Free Zoom Webinar for Educators & Families of LGBTQ+ Students

‘Creating Safe Spaces’

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Families and educators of LGBTQ+ students can register for “Creating Safe Spaces,” a free Zoom webinar hosted by the Somerset County Office of Youth Services on March 11. Presenters from GLSEN, a non-profit organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ students, will discuss the challenges these students may experience and how their loved ones can provide support. Other topics include specific terminology for gender and sexuality, accessing resources, and what action plans will help create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students. Attendees can earn one professional credit.

“In 2019, more LGBTQ+ youth were bullied and had a higher rate of suicide compared to other students,” said Somerset County Commissioner Deputy Director Melonie Marano. “It’s great that advocates for LGBTQ+ students and organizations such as GLSEN are creating awareness among educators and communities about this terrible trend.”

Presenter Gordon Sauer, a development coordinator for GLSEN Central Jersey, is a retired New Jersey educator for more than 40 years. In his role at GLSEN, he organizes and presents school workshops to teachers, administrators, and student groups about making schools safer for LGBTQ+ students. Presenter Susan Henderson is a retired educator and school counselor with 39 years of experience. She has been involved with the GLSEN organization for 14 years as a co-advisor to her high school GSA club and co-chair of the Central New Jersey GLSEN Board, NJ GLSEN Forum Committee, and the Youth Advisory Council.

Registration, Date, and Time

Preregistration is required by March 10. The Zoom webinar will occur on Friday, March 11, from 10 to 11 a.m.

To register, visit



GLSEN is a national network of educators, students, and local GLSEN Chapters that advocates, educates, and creates a safe, supportive, and LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 education, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.


Somerset County Office of Youth Services

The Office of Youth Services assesses and coordinates the efforts of government and community agencies that work with at-risk delinquent youth and youth with emotional or behavioral disturbances; offers 24-hour response, intervention, assessment, and family counseling for youth and their families in crisis; prepares needs-based plans for state and county government; distributes federal, state, and local funds for programs and services; and is responsible for developing sanctions and services for court-involved youth.

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