Jessica Chiriboga (Volunteer)

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I started volunteering at the Los Angeles LGBT Center during the COVID-19 pandemic to pack and deliver grocery bags for our Senior Angels program and to work at Pride Pantry. I had always wanted to become a Center volunteer and give back to an organization that has done so much for the LGBTQ+ community.

I grew up in a small, suburban town and remember always looking at the Center’s website and reading about the different programs and events. The fact that they existed was so validating for a high school student.

Because of the pandemic, my in-person senior year of high school ended in March, and I have had the opportunity to give back much earlier than I expected. Delivering bags of groceries to people’s houses has been so heartwarming. They have such an appreciation for the food. They are all so kind, and it is great to be able to connect with them even if it’s only briefly.

Working at Pride Pantry meant that I finally got to see the Anita May Rosenstein Campus in person. After one of my shifts was over, I looked at the walls inside Pride Hall detailing the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Seeing our history, from the uprising at Cooper Do-nuts to the purchase of the first Center property to marriage equality to where we are today, was something special.

Volunteering has given me structure and hope despite the struggles and injustices we are facing as a nation. I am reassured by the work that the Center is doing to ensure that our seniors who led this movement toward equality are cared for and reminded of how much we love them.

I’m heading to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, next year, and I feel like these past two months have inspired me to continue this work once I’m there.

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Hometown: Glendora, CA

Year Started Volunteering at Center: 2020

Volunteer Positions: Senior Angels/Pride Pantry

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