We had the good fortune of connecting with Reid Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Reid, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
The Amplify Facilitator Training Project (AFT) is a Colorado-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing training, resources, and ongoing support to volunteer facilitators of LGBTQIA support groups. Our goal is to empower facilitators, decrease burnout, increase retention, wellbeing, confidence, supportive collaboration, and appreciation among facilitators so that they can make a profound impact in their communities without sacrificing their wellbeing to do so.
What should our readers know about your business?
What I am most proud of is seeing that there was a need for support amongst volunteer support group facilitators and choosing to do something about it even in face of many different challenges with Covid, our original plan, and ultimately using covid as an opportunity to create AFT as an online platform that is accessible by countless more individuals than it would have been if we would have stuck to our original small, in-person, local vision.
We have created excellent momentum at AFT, we are in process of creating and recording our core curriculum modules. We have an incredible team of individuals giving their time, their hearts, and their expertise to fulfilling our mission and vision.
The Amplify Facilitator Training Project was founded by Reid Allen. Reid began struggling with his gender identity around age 8, and in his teen years with his sexuality. After living for ten years identifying as a lesbian from age 20-30 he finally came to terms with the fact that he needed to come out, again, as a transgender man. Over the last four years, Reid has become more involved in the transgender community. He began to facilitate transmasculine support groups, became a certified life coach, and specializes in coaching transgender individuals and their loved ones. In 2019 the vision for AFT was born. After seeing many different challenges within the transgender support group community that include: lack of training, burnout among volunteer facilitators, facilitators not feeling supported or appreciated, low group retention rates, and resources being difficult to find and provide to the community. Reid decided to find a way to provide these resources to the community of volunteers that give so much of their time and energy to the community. After the initial phase of in-person community visioning and training, covid hit, and the project was reimagined. By creating an online platform AFT will now have the potential to provide this training to thousands. AFT is FREE to volunteer facilitators in the LGBTQIA+ community.
AFT recognizes that being a volunteer facilitator can present challenges including personal sacrifice, time, emotional demands, navigating unforeseen circumstances, and lack of clear resources to help support the community we are most committed to serving.
AFT is committed to providing an empowering, uplifting, and enriching experience for volunteer facilitators. We ensure they are supported and acknowledged so that facilitators have a positive experience that transfers to the community members who attend the groups.
AFT provides training, resources, and support that is vital to the safety, wellbeing, and thriving of the LGBTQIA community as a whole.
Has it been easy? Absolutely not. This has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. I have made sure to stay in alignment with our mission and vision when I most want to give up, when things aren’t going as planned or when presented with challenges. Learning from failures is essential, using them as a stepping stone to the next best action is also sometimes all you need to do in order to move past an obstacle. I have to keep reminding myself that this project is not about me. This project is about community.
We want people to know that AFT exists so that we can support volunteer support group facilitators in the Q+ community.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If we needed to stay in the city, we’d likely check out the botanical gardens, city park, and rhino district would be on the list.
If I had my way, we would head to the high country, possibly see a show at red rocks, too. We would adventure and see nature because, in my opinion, that’s the most incredible part of CO.
If it was winter time I would take them snowboarding, or tubing, we would stop at a local brewery and hang out by the firepit.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The unwavering support of my folks, my friends, and my partner Sara has been integral to the founding and cultivation of Amplify Facilitator Traning Project. Volunteer facilitators in the transgender community were an inspiration to me and a huge part of my vision for AFT coming to fruition as well as my inspiration to become a volunteer support group facilitator in the transmasculine community, to begin with. The community members that have stepped up to volunteer and share their gifts to help fulfill the mission and vision of AFT have been paramount to our success and working with them is one of the most humbling and exciting things I have ever taken part in. My mentor and instructor Brooke Castillo whom I became a certified life coach with gave me the tools to step up more than I ever have in life, to face fear in the face, and to take necessary actions even when they feel insurmountable sometimes. The mentorship and guidance of Michael Bevis and Ira Coleman have also been integral to me embarking on this journey.
Patrick Bohn: Photographer