Get REAL is a youth-focused non-profit organization that energized LGBTQ+ students and their allies to voice their stories. We accomplish this by offering inclusivity workshops and by providing leadership development through our chapter program across North America. Our programming aims to break down prejudice, promote unity, and foster compassion in our world. Each piece of merchandise purchased helps fund our youth outreach program across North America. Every item of merch sold comes with a piece of feedback written by students across Canada who've participated in one of our workshops.
Get REAL was founded in 2011, inspired by our experiences volunteering in the Welcome Week program at Western University. As older mentors to hundreds of students each year, we began noticing that we were having success talking to our first years about derogatory (homophobic, transphobic, racist, etc) language, and creating a safe space for marginalized students who were looking to express themselves safely. The reason was in our approach: we were close in age, friendly, non-judgemental, and personal -- we often opened up about our own lives to build a genuine, honest, human connection. And it worked. We saw countless students changing their language within days, and countless others coming out to us and feeling more comfortable being themselves.
Since then, Get REAL has evolved in amazing ways that we couldn't have imagined. We have spoken to over 250,000 students in 8 provinces and 3 states, we have a core full-time staff based in Toronto, and have been featured on Global News, CTV, Much Music, and the National Post. We have university chapter and high school after-school programs that we are proud of, made up of creative, courageous, and hard-working young people across the country. Our videos and curriculum pieces are used by teachers from Canada to the UK to Australia, and our clothing line REAL Apparel is worn by supporters and customers from around the world. Most importantly, we have seen the results we had hoped would translate, in the middle schools, high schools, summer camps, and companies we've worked with.