The Harford County Health Department will launch its new program, Free to Be, in January 2023 to support LGBTQ+ teens in Harford County. The Free to Be program offers monthly gatherings on the first Friday of every month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Health Department’s Bel Air location on 120 S. Hays Street.

Free to Be is a community-based LGBTQ+ program, supervised by Harford County Health Department
staff and volunteers, that offers a welcoming atmosphere for teens (ages 12 to 17) to find support,
guidance and a sense of community. The program strives to provide a supportive environment to gather,
socialize, organize and help each other. Free to Be is participant-led to allow teenagers to have a safe
space to present their authentic selves for positive youth development. Individuals must register to attend
and the first meeting will be held on Friday, January 6, 2023.

“It is important to give teens a place to go, where they will find like-minded individuals and feel like they
belong,” says Dr. Julie Stancliff, Medical Director of Behavioral Health for the Harford County Health
Department. “We are excited to be hosting Free to Be to give teens an affirming space where they can
feel comfortable and share their feelings.”

“Inclusivity is the cornerstone of this program. When Free to Be participants come to these meetings,
they know that they will be accepted, respected and valued,” says program volunteer Carla Mattioli.

For more information about Free to Be and to register, please visit https://harfordcountyhealth.com/freeto-be

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