Colby Swettberg

Silver Lining Mentoring.
Colby Swettberg earned a Masters degree in Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. While in graduate school, Colby co-directed and produced “Learning to be Straight: The(De)construction of Heterosexuality,” an educational film that Colby has since presented in numerous academic and professional settings. Colby is a former high school English teacher who started the first gay-straight alliance in the Pennsylvania district where Swettberg taught. Colby later went on to work as the Assistant Director of SpeakOut, the nation’s oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) speaker’s bureau, and was subsequently hired by The Home for Little Wanderers to help start Waltham House, the first co-ed group home for LGBTQ youth in the country. Subsequently, as Director of LGBTQ Services, Swettberg provided training and consultation on sexual orientation and gender identity issues to child welfare agencies, schools, businesses, mental health facilities and non-profit organizations nationwide. The Massachusetts Department of Children & Families hired Colby and a team of trainers to conduct LGBT sensitivity training for over two thousand social workers in the state. This training initiative set a national precedent which Colby has since helped other states to replicate. Colby received the outstanding student achievement award for leadership at Harvard and later earned recognition from the Los Angeles based Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) as a GLASS Champion and was named Massachusetts Democratic Future’s LGBT Advocate of the Year in 2002. Swettberg has written for the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide and contributed a chapter to The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s groundbreaking publication “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness.” As Colby’s professional focus gravitated toward child welfare systems, Swettberg returned to graduate school to earn a Master of Social Work degree at the Simmons School of Social Work. In 2012, Colby was honored to be chosen by then Senator John Kerry for the “Angel in Adoption” award for advocacy efforts on behalf of youth in foster care. In 2013, Colby was honored to receive the “Person of Excellence” award from national child welfare organization Youth Villages for service to youth in foster care. In 2017 The Barr Foundation named Colby as a Barr Fellow. For the last ten years Colby Swettberg has been the Chief Executive Officer at Silver Lining Mentoring, a Boston-based non-profit which provides youth in foster care with long term mentors and essential life skills.

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