Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard something about gay marriage and America’s march towards full equality in that respect. Getting a marriage license issued doesn’t solve all the problems, but it’s a big ass step in that direction.
At the beginning of this month, I wrote about how I’ve been feeling a need to get more involved in the LGBT community. Giving a lump sum each month to HRC wasn’t enough anymore.
The question was how to get involved. I started with the HRC website, but all that gave me was an option to give more money each month, buy some of their gear, or bug my politician via e-mail. All of those options are just fine, but I was looking for something a little more personal that I could do that didn’t involve a webpage.
HRC’s Annual Gala was earlier this month. I had the option of getting involved with that. But unfortunately, I don’t have $1200 lying around, so that really wasn’t an option for me.
Then I noticed that HRC has local-ish chapters that have potential for volunteer opportunities. All I had to do was submit my e-mail address (again, yes again) choose my preferences from some categories available, and someone would contact me regarding opportunities.
All that came out of that was an e-mail asking for more money, and a promise that someone would contact me shortly regarding my chosen preferences.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the money. If I were, I wouldn’t be giving them money every month for the past 5 years or so. It’s more about the website being setup primarily for fundraising. It was quite frustrating to get beyond the money to something more hands on.
So I left the HRC website, and got down with Google. Google totally knows my life.And yours if you talk to me. Maybe that’s why I struggle make new friends here.
If you e-mail me your trip itinerary, Google sends un-requested push notifications to my phone reminding me of flight arrivals and even suggesting the quickest way to get there from both my home and office. Kinda creepy, kinda awesome.
Anyway, Google came through in my quest to find an LGBT organization in need of my volunteer skills.
I found The Reciprocity Foundation. They are this amazing organization that works with LGBT youth and young adults.
For me, it’s an amazing volunteer opportunity. It’s right in line with the other volunteer work I already do because I really feel very deeply for people who don’t have a stable home life, the homeless population in particular.
The Reciprocity Foundation works primarily with people who are ages 15-23, identify as LGBT, and are people of color. They seek to help participants go from foster care or shelters to stable adults who are prepared for success.
I met with one of their employees today and I loved what I heard. This place seems like such a good fit for my passions and skill set. They take a holistic approach with their program and work on the inside as much as the outside of program participants.
I got the impression they don’t really have someone there now who is able to focus on things like college applications, GED training, interview prep, etc. Those things are right up my alley and I’m excited to get started.
They told me that I would need to prepare myself for the possibility of becoming a resource not just for educational but also emotional support for these kids. They said they can’t predict when they will come out of their shell and suddenly want to share and bond.
I am not volunteering to lead a group therapy session, but if a connection happens and I’m in a position to help someone, I certainly am open to that.
They have an event tomorrow that I wish I could be a part of, but unfortunately, it’s right in the middle of my workday. It would have been a great opportunity to meet some of the program participants, other volunteers, and successful graduates of the program.
I’m supposed to touch base early next week with them to discuss next steps. Hopefully, I can get started right away. Their normal hours work with my current work schedule, so I won’t even have to shuffle things around to make it work.
I’m really not sure what I envisioned myself doing when I decided to get more hands on and involved in the LGBT community. I think I thought it might have more to do with gay marriage rights, but this is unexpectedly better.
I get to help a disadvantaged population. Most of these kids have been through a lot and haven’t had a real shot at getting prepared for adulthood. From what I’ve learned today, they are so talented and amazing people, they just need someone to step in who cares and who can point them in the right direction.
Usually when I pick up more volunteer opportunities, things that take up my free time, Easy isn’t so happy about it. His initial reaction to this wasn’t great, but he came around. He even told me to offer up his services if they ever need a musician for a fundraiser.
He knows how passionate I am about this, and I think more than anything, he’s happy I found a way to focus my passion.
I’m very excited. Did I mention that?