Gay Horizons' Youth Group opens a coffeehouse as an alternative to the sexualized atmosphere of the bars (which many of the youth are too young to enter). Gay Horizons becomes affiliated with a gay and lesbian parents group that has been meeting since early 1978. Horizons also becomes affiliated with Lambda Resource Center for the Blind, which was founded in late 1979. Major board reorganization (including the first African American board member) and a more professional approach are occurring at Horizons, which by now has an annual budget of under $30,000. Horizons begins responding to the AIDS crisis.

Gay Horizons begins recruiting volunteers to participate in an AIDS services project co-sponsored by the Howard Brown Memorial Clinic. The AIDS Action Project is Horizons' response to the looming HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Lambda Resource Center/Gerber Hart spins off from Horizons.

Gay Horizons hires its first paid staff (part-time). Howard Brown absorbs duties from the AIDS Action Project.

Gay Horizons begins PASSAGES, a support group for the "worried well" and other people whose lives are affected by the AIDS epidemic in various ways. Horizons conducts the first community wide needs assessment and initiates the Anti-Violence Project with support from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The Metropolitan Business Association's award of merit is given to Gay Horizons. Youth from Gay Horizons appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show, bringing widespread attention to the group and national recognition to the needs and problems of gay youth. The name Gay Horizons is changed to Horizons Community Services, Inc.

Horizons now has two full-time staff: an Executive Director and an Administrative Assistant.

The HELPLINE celebrates its 5,000th night of continuous operation by volunteers. Horizons is honored by the Chicago March on Washington Committee at the National March on Washington.

Horizons hires a Youth Director through a grant from the Federal Substance Abuse Prevention Program. Horizons is awarded the contract for the State of Illinois AIDS Hotline —the primary source of information regarding HIV disease and AIDS available throughout the State of Illinois. Horizons holds its first Lesbian Wellness Conference and receives federal Victim of Crime Act funds through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority which enables Horizons to fund the Anti-Violence Project, the nation's first federally funded, exclusively lesbian and gay ANTI-VIOLENCE PROJECT.

Horizons achieves full membership in the United Way—the only gay/lesbian agency in Illinois, and one in five in the United States, to do so at the time. Horizons hires its first Development and Group Services staff.

Continue to the 1990's

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