Glenfield middle school students helped to raise more than $2,000 for the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ+ youth, with a rally and bake sale on Thursday, May 11, on Church Street in Montclair.

The event, Montclair Stands Up for Trans Youth, was organized by Vi, a transgender seventh grade student at Glenfield. Vi came up with the idea for a rally and bake sale as a project for their upcoming b’nai mitzvah. Vi chose to raise money for the Trevor Project, a life-saving resource for LGBTQ+ young people. Vi’s friends from Glenfield Middle School joined to support the project; Glenfield teachers helped get the word out, circulating information about the rally to Glenfield families.

In addition to strong support from Glenfield students, a group of high school students and a group from Vi’s synagogue – Shomrei Emunah on Park Street – participated in the rally, said Vi’s mom, Debra Caplan, who also shared the announcement on social media. Caplan was surprised by how many people – almost 200 – came to show support, buy baked goods for the cause or simply donate.

Caplan said legislation affecting the rights of trans people, especially trans youth, motivated Vi to choose a national organization like the Trevor Project that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.

“Vi wanted to help kids who live in states not like New Jersey who are feeling the impact of these laws and having vitriol coming at them,” Caplan said.

The bake sale idea came from Vi’s love of cooking. Caplan said the family helped Vi bake in the days before the rally, then a family friend also donated rainbow cupcakes.

“There were so many people who came and brought signs to show support,” Caplan said. “Then there were people just passing by who stopped and stayed for the whole event. It showed we are part of an amazing, caring community that sticks up for each other and that’s not a given.”

To donate, visit Vi’s fundraising page.

Peter Yacobellis and Glenfield students show their support for transgender youth. (BARISTANET)
Peter Yacobellis and Glenfield students show their support for transgender youth. (BARISTANET)

“Hey look, they are the future,” Peter Yacobellis, Out Montclair executive director and township councilor-at-large, said of the young people at the rally. 

“And if the future is more them and less DeSantis, we’re going to be okay,” he said, referring to Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who promotes anti-LGBTQ+ measures. 

“The best part was seeing how the kids all had each other’s backs,” Yacobellis said of the rally. “That gave me hope.”

As part of Pride Week, Out Montclair will host an LGBTQ+ rights rally focused on trans rights with New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin and other leaders and advocates on the evening of Friday, June 9, at Edgemont Park.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to for a list of additional resources.