“We are anti-bullying. Period.”
That is what Micheal Durkin, owner of Durkin’s Pizza in McKinney, said when asked why his location at 121/Custer Rd. donates 10 percent of all food purchases on the fourth Tuesday of each month to Youth First Texas Collin County, a support group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
This past fourth Tuesday in October, Durkin’s and Youth First Collin County celebrated the second anniversary of their monthly “Give Back Night” at Durkin’s, announcing that the group has raised over $2,000. Coincidently, the milestone was reached on the same day that several dozen high school students called attention to the relentless bullying of a 16-year-old, bisexual McKinney Boyd High School student, who was later arrested for threatening the safety of students and staff on his Facebook profile.
“The genesis of the whole fund-raiser came down to one thing - we are not fans of bullies,” said Durkin. “In fact we were the bullied in years past and now we’re business owners and involved in the community, so it’s nice to be able to change things up.”
Jeanne Rubin, of Frisco, has been actively involved in Youth First since its inception in February 2005. “Youth First Texas Collin County is a group for LGBTQ youth up to age 22 that offers support, fellowship and leadership opportunities, said Rubin. “We are grateful for the support Durkin’s has provided for the past two years now.”
“As a whole, LGBTQ youth these days are more well adjusted because we’ve come so far as people have become more accepting but bullying still happens in schools and we still have issues,” said Gene Goodwin, a founder and facilitator at the Collin County chapter.
Youth First Texas Collin County invites youth participation from all of North Texas. The group meets every Sunday for an hour and half in Allen. Visit YouthFirstTexas.org for more information.
Pictured: Gene Goodwin, Organizer/Facilitator, Youth First Texas Collin County (left) and Michael Durkin, Owner, Durkins Pizza.