John Williams Legacy Continues

Encircle, the LGBTQ+ Family and Youth Resource Center, will open its second location in Salt Lake City, on the two-year anniversary of its first center in Provo. Encircle will hold a grand opening for the new home—the John Williams Encircle, named in memory of John Williams a prominent Salt Lake City restauranteur, historic preservationist and LGBTQ+ community supporter. The new facility is located in a historic home located at 331 S. 600 East in Salt Lake City.

The John Williams Encircle Grand Opening will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is open to the public. The event will feature home tours and information on Encircle’s programs and services for LGBTQ+ youth and their families.

Williams (1944-2016), a visionary and a founding partner of Gastronomy Restaurants. He helped revitalize the city’s downtown through his love of community, the arts and historical preservation. Williams, the uncle of Encircle’s founder and CEO Stephenie Larsen, was the first donor to commit funding to Encircle before his passing. His legacy of community involvement and generosity helped shape the vision of Encircle.

Last December Encircle presented IGNITE 2018, at the Adobe Campus in Utah County.

“We hope that the John Williams Encircle will continue his legacy of love of community, family and the art,” Larsen explained. “John wanted Encircle to be a welcoming home for those who may not feel at home anywhere else, a place where people can connect with themselves and others. John wanted the youth to understand they should never feel shame for who they are, they are beautiful as they are and the world needs them”

Our coverage of IGNITE 2019

Notable members of the community supporting Encircle include Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Steve & Barbara Young, Mitchell Gold, Utah Senator Jim Dabakis, Utah Congressman Derek Kitchen, Scott Anderson, Marianne and James Huntsman, Diane Stewart, Amy Redford, Steve Eckert, Jenny Wilson, and other state and local officials. Musicians VINCINT, Parson James and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir will perform at the grand opening

Encircle’s new SLC location will have a grand opening event on Feb. 8, 2019 and open for services on Feb. 14, 2019.

John Williams Encircle will begin offering services in on Valentine’s Day—Thursday, February 14, 2019. Encircle’s dedicated team seeks to empower the community’s LGBTQ+ youth and their families, offering support and love, while creating a safe gathering place available to individuals, loved ones, and the community. The center facilitates support groups, provides individual and family counseling, collaborates with school leaders to create safe learning environments for sexual and gender minority youth, hosts guest speakers and workshops, and much more.

John Williams with Encircle’s founder Stephanie Larsen

Encircle strives to model what a loving home should feel like, and the LGBTQ+ youth benefit from the connectedness they experience because of that. Much care has been given to create each Encircle Home. As Larsen has stated, “The youth need to feel as though they are worth the very best.” As one LGBTQ+ youth who frequents Encircle commented, “I love Encircle because it’s a place where I don’t have to be scared of being me.” Another youth expressed similar sentiments, “Encircle is a place where I can find people I connect with, and feel safe and at ease socially.”

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Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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