Facebook75Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Pizza KlatchBullying is up in our high schools and middle schools and our LGBTQ+ youth are feeling it. Support for them is more important than ever. One way to support them is through Pizza Klatch’s annual fundraising Gayla and online auction, A Slice of the Good Life, at The Washington Center for Performing Arts in Olympia. This year’s musical guest is two-time Grammy nominee, singer/songwriter, poet and activist, Mary Lambert.Mary Lambert isn’t your typical pop artist. Inspired by confessional folk singers as well as spoken-word performers, she is a brutally candid writer who deals directly in her art with her past traumas. Lambert was raised in an abusive home, attempted suicide at 17, turned to drugs and alcohol before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and survived multiple sexual assaults throughout her childhood. With that list of horrors, you wouldn’t expect Mary to be disarmingly joyful, but she charms effortlessly, and the effect on her audience is bewitching. She describes her performances as“safe spaces where crying is encouraged; My entire prerogative is about connection, about being present, and facilitating true catharsis. Also, fart jokes.”Pizza Klatch provides life-saving support for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies in local high schools and middle schools. These support groups have a proven record that prevents teen suicide, reduces bullying, and decreases dropout rates. Each group is run by two trained adult facilitators, and are members of the LGBTQ+ community or allies. Pizza Klatch facilitators work hard to ensure this is a respectful, inclusive and safer space for all who attend.“Pizza Klatch is very accepting. They love you for who you are, and it’s a safe, happy place to be” said one student in the program. Student survey responses show that these support groups directly improve our LGBTQ+ youth’s well-being. They empower the youth to stand up against injustice while strengthening a sense of community in the schools. This enhances their desire to stay and graduate.The Gayla is Pizza Klatch’s single largest fundraising event and provides a significant portion of our operating budget. This is a fun and jubilant event as we celebrate the success of our students who benefit from our support groups. Get ready for fun, laughter and tears as we present a short program by Pizza Klatch youth, the 2017 National Team of Olympia Spoken Word, a short keynote from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and of course, pizza (and cupcakes.) All emceed by Ty Flint of MiXX96 FM and formally of KUBE Radio fame.Everyone is welcome. Tickets are on sale now through The Washington Center at www.washingtoncenter.org or call 360-753-8586Ticket prices range from $35-75 with a $10 discount for Seniors (65+) and Students.Doors open at 6 p.m. for the auction and schmoozing.Concert begins at 7:30 p.m.VIP Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Black Box and includes gourmet appetizers, wine, beer and the best seats in the house for the main show. Tickets are $130Every year, our Gayla includes an online auction where participants can bid on a large variety of donations provided by local businesses and residents. This year, we will be working with Silent Auction Pro to host our online auction. Please be sure to go to www.pizzaklatch.org/register to register for our auction. The auction begins online on January 20. At the Gayla itself, the auction will still be done ONLINE through computers, phones and IPads. There will be volunteers at kiosks onsite to help you bid. By registering early you will not have to stand in long lines when you arrive. You also can opt for an express checkout allowing you a fast, easy exit at the end of the concert/auction.