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LGBT organization renames award for East grad

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – Youth Outlook – a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in DuPage, Kane, DeKalb and Whiteside counties – will honor a St. Charles East High School graduate at its annual gala Friday.

The agency is renaming its Youth Advocate Award in honor of Michael Fairbanks, who died in February at age 19.

The award will now be known as the Michael Fairbanks Youth Advocacy Award.

His parents, sister and former Gay Straight Alliance adviser are expected to attend the Dare to Dream gala for the renaming.

Youth Outlook began awarding the Youth Advocate Award in 2009, based on Fairbanks’ work. He was the first recipient.

At the same time, he was recognized by GLSEN – the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network – as second runner-up in the national contest for youth advocates.

Fairbanks helped run the drop-in center programs, participated in board retreats to set agency direction and, among other efforts, wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey asking her to support Youth Outlook and anti-bullying work in schools.

For information on Youth Outlook’s work or to seek support for an LGBT youth, visit www.youth-outlook.org.

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