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Get Involved

I know that the first few weeks of January, for many people, are filled with attempts to keep to new years resolutions. Whether that be getting to they gym, spending more time with your family, eating better, or watching less tv, I think I know one resolution that many of us have thought about but haven’t quite accomplished. Giving back to the queer community.

Right now, my wife S and I are in the middle of the process of being considered as volunteer advisors for the local queer youth organization. If we’re selected, we’ll go through a weekend training, and be asked to help staff drop-in hours at their location, and maybe to help plan/lead learning sessions based around what our passions are. I’m thinking I might like to do something cooking, and S may do something around resume building. This program is run by both paid staff, the youth involved, and by volunteer advisors.

For a long time, in fact, as long as I’ve known a program like this was in existence here, I’ve wanted to be a part of it. I just kept putting it off, and things like making my own family seemed to eat up too much of my time to be able to offer my support. This year, I decided, would be different, and I’m following through with my decision. I look forward to “helping the youth.” That’s the number one reason that people give when they’re asked why they volunteer for programs like this. The other common response? “Because I wish something like this existed when I was younger.” Are you one of those people? I was. I mean, I was blessed with an incredible friend set, and support from my family, and even had two of my own “mentors” who helped guide me towards adulthood. But there was never a “group” setting, filled with both my peers and older people who could offer advice, and offer programming in which I could both learn new skills, and also have leadership opportunities.

It’s not only the youth that could use support, but being as I hope to one day parent a teenager (and lets be honest, often times my sense of humor and enjoyment are at that adolescent level) I’m sure the experience I will gain in communicating with young people will eventually help me. However, queer youth are not the only people who need our support and volunteer efforts. Elder centers, political organizations, social networking groups, and other service agencies are all places to consider when figuring out which is the right venue for you to explore volunteering. Volunteering will help you meet other people with similar interests, and may offer the opportunity to explore topics and experiences you never thought you’d be exposed to.

I’m looking forward to being a positive roll model for young queers and also for my future children. What has volunteering done for you?

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