What Is Prideworks?
Drawing from the lower Hudson Valley, the Tr-State area, and beyond, PrideWorks is a conference serves students from more than 70 middle and high schools and 10 colleges and universities. Approximately 70% of attendees are students and 30% are adults. About 20% of the students identify as LGBTQ. Adults include teachers, psychologists, social workers, Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Advisors, youth care workers, parents or guardians of LGBTQ youth, advocates, social justice seekers, among others. About 40% of adults identify as part of the LGBTQ community.
PrideWorks, Inc. was organized in 2013 and grew out of a conference which began in 1999 as a collaborative effort on the part of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) and Westchester County. PrideWorks, Inc. is now solely responsible for this conference, and sponsors or co-sponsors other events (such as celebrations of National Coming Out Day and Ally Week, networking meetings, and Gay Prom) alone and in partnership with other areas agencies.
PrideWorks® Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Hudson Valley
Unitarian Universalist Congregations of Westchester
The LOFT - The Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
First Congregational Church
Mathew Thoennes holds a BSEE from Purdue University and a MS Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts. He joined IBM in 1982 and has work primarily in the Research Division during his career. He has been active in PFLAG since 1997 and the local chapter since 2001 and has been a member of the steering committee for the local chapter. He also has served on the GLSEN Hudson Valley board. Matt joined the PrideWorks Conference in 2003 and has handled finances and registration for the conference. He has been awarded the GLSEN Hudson Valley Leadership Award for his contributions to the PrideWorks conference and for co-leading the creation of a not for profit organization to organize the PrideWorks Conference in the future.
Suede Graham serves as the Coordinator for Student Development & Campus Activities at Pace University-Pleasantville. Originally, Suede received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Arkansas Tech University in 2016 and a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Mississippi State University in 2018. Suede is particularly interested in working with LGBTQ+ People of Color in areas surrounding mental health, stress management, and anxiety within specific demographics, as well as topics surrounding the intersection of masculinity, spirituality/religion, and the LGBTQ+ community within predominantly White Greek organizations.
Tracy Breneman serves as Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration and Faith Development for the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, NY (cucwp.org). In addition, Tracy is adjunct faculty at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Department of Sociology where she has taught theory and practice of dispute resolution and conflict transformation. She holds a BA in Political Science from Northern Illinois University, a MA in Brasilian Legislative Processes from the Universidade de Brasilia, Brasil, and a MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. Tracy believes in living through her UU values, and is passionate about fostering welcoming and supportive youth community. She started volunteering with PrideWorks in 2008.