Thursday, June 13, 2024

Better Buzz Serves up Free Drinks in Honor of Pride Month; Partnership with Safe Harbor Promotes Inclusivity

Dozens of community members lined up at Better Buzz Coffee on Thursday, June 6 to sip free drinks in honor Pride Month. It’s all part of a collaboration between Better Buzz and Safe Harbor to promote a culture of acceptance, according to Danielle Maske, executive director of Safe Harbor.

“We’re trying to meet people where they are,” said Maske. “We want to recognize Pride Month and make sure that all our community members are feeling supported. You can come in and get a coffee, or take a bigger stance…it’s all up to you.”

It’s the second annual event of its type, according to Tracy Real, parent and community program coordinator for Safe Harbor. This year, Better Buzz picked up the first 40 free drinks, and Safe Harbor paid for the rest. The event started at 7:30 am and wrapped up at 9 am to allow everyone to attend, from working parents to students.

“Everyone was invited, middle school students, high school students, parents, the entire community,” said Real. “We just wanted a safe place for people to come together and know that they are supported.”

Tracy Real from Safe Harbor and team members from Better Buzz greeted community members upon arrival and offered them a free beverage.

Coronado resident Alexia Palacios-Peters said that events like these are important to the community because they foster a spirit of connection among residents.

“It’s great to show our LGBTQ+ community members that they are loved, supported, and welcomed,” said Palacios-Peters.

Safe Harbor, a Coronado nonprofit since 1998, promotes wellness in the community by providing social, behavioral, emotional, and mental health programs and counseling to empower Coronado youth and their families.

This can include everything from digital literacy classes to parenting education and drug prevention.

Coronado resident Colby Freer enjoyed a cookie and coffee.

“We did a community assessment last summer, and some of the feedback that we got was that there are some marginalized groups in the community, so we want to make sure that everyone feels supported and accepted for who they are,” said Maske. “This is just a small gesture and we just want to celebrate it.”

According to Maske, studies show that LGBTQ+ are an especially vulnerable population: LGBTQ youth are 40% more likely to die by suicide.

“That’s a concerning number, from any group of any population,” said Maske. “So if we can make it a little easier by just having a coffee and letting the community know we’re here, then let’s set up a coffee.”

According to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention for LGBTQ, a majority of LGBTQ young people report being verbally harassed at school. Only 38% of LGBTQ youth say their home is LGBTQ-affirming, and nearly two out of three LGTBQ young people say that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ at school harms their mental health.

Community members say that something as small as a coffee can turn things around.

“Events like these are important in Coronado where there can be some conflicting opinions and contentions,” said Mercedes Molina, a mom of two and volunteer for Safe Harbor. “It encourages engagement, and maybe someone who is passing by may hold onto certain beliefs, but they will meet someone great who challenges these stigmas.”

Community members lined up outside Better Buzz to celebrate Pride.
Better Buzz gave each guest a free coffee or beverage.

Since Safe Harbor isn’t beholden to another entity, like the local schools or the city, it has the freedom to provide programming and support wherever there’s a need.

“We can operate independently so we can flex a lot of our programming to whatever the community needs,” said Maske.

But Safe Harbor is always looking for community support to help.

“We are a small but mighty group when it comes to staff, and we are constantly looking for people who want to sponsor, donate, volunteer and attend some of our educational opportunities,” said Real.

Community members who want to help out can visit the Safe Harbor website and click on the heading, “Get Involved.”

“We have a shoestring budget, but we really want to help and empower with the resources and skills that our community needs,” said Real.



Christine Van Tuyl
Christine Van Tuyl
Christine was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Coronado with her family as a teen in 1993. Although initially horrified by surfers, flannels and skateboards, she ultimately grew to love all things So-Cal. A graduate of UCSD, Christine got her first writing job on the KUSI ten o’clock news while simultaneously juggling a reporter position at the San Diego Community News Group. She worked as a public relations professional, a book editor, real estate professional, and a freelance writer before eventually succumbing to motherhood in 2008.A decade later, Christine resurfaced to start the Island Girl Blog, a Coronado lifestyle blog. In addition, she writes a monthly page for Crown City Magazine. Christine loves hanging out with her husband, Ian, and their two spirited daughters, Holland and Marley, who attend Village Elementary and Coronado Middle School. When she’s not working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, spilling coffee at school drop off, meeting friends for sushi, or sailing the Bay with her family and English Bulldog, Moshi. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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