History/Mission/Vision

Our Purpose

Time Out Youth Center offers support, advocacy, and opportunities for personal development and social interaction to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 11-20.

We will:
  • Provide a safe environment for LGBTQ youth and their allies by fostering interaction, learning and affirmation.
  • Build a youth’s self-concept to its fullest potential through uniquely targeted programming.
  • Offer diverse opportunities for group activities that are open to all and closed to none.
  • Promote awareness, understanding, acceptance and inclusion for LGBTQ youth.

Our Vision

To inspire inclusive communities where all youth are equally empowered to reach their true potential.

Our Mission

To support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth by offering vital programs, fostering unconditional acceptance, and creating safe spaces for self-expression through leadership, community support and advocacy.

Core Values
  • Youth Voice
  • Respect
  • Acceptance
  • Honesty
  • Confidentially
  • Individuality
Core Beliefs
  • Leadership by Youth
  • Social Change
  • Unconditional Acceptance
  • Inclusiveness
  • Self-Expression
  • Empowerment

Our History

As a teenager growing up in a conservative, socially prominent family in 1950s' Charlotte, Tonda Taylor knew she was different.  But like many of the youth we encounter today, she didn't know why or how to reconcile her conflicting emotions with society's expectations. Tonda felt like a stranger in her own hometown. In 1964, Tonda left Charlotte for the more tolerant climate of New York, where she began her journey in the field of youth services working for American Youth Hostels and the Girl Scouts.

Tonda's self-imposed exile ended 20 years later with an urgent call from home. Her brother Sam was dying of leukemia. Tonda returned to Charlotte in 1984 to help her mother and her father, Dr. Andrew Taylor, a prominent Charlotte allergist, care for Sam. Then came the news that through blood transfusions, Sam has contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In an unthinkable tragedy, Dr. Taylor himself became infected with HIV, apparently while caring for Sam, or possibly from transfusions during an earlier open heart surgery.At age 80, Dr. Taylor took his own life to spare his family the burden of his illness. Sam died seven months later.

The pain of their deaths to what most in the community viewed as a "gay" disease, and the pain she experienced growing up gay in Charlotte, were galvanizing influences in Tonda's life. Shortly after Sam's death, a friend sought Tonda's help for a teenager who was struggling with her sexual orientation. Tonda was distressed to learn that no programs or support groups existed in Charlotte for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Soon thereafter, in November 1990, Tonda and a small group of human services professionals, educators, physicians and clergy met and agreed that these young people desperately needed somewhere to turn for help. A few months later they formed Time Out Youth. On April 8, 1991, four gay and lesbian youth attended our first weekly discussion group.