Meet Center Volunteer Elaine Rosso Severa

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Last July, I retired from nursing after 39 years and looked to the Los Angeles LGBT Center to continue finding a way to help others.

It was easy to recognize that the LGBT community has a dire need for support. I am the mother of an awesome transgender son whose transition journey started during college. He was active in the school’s LGBT club and, through that, I was able to meet many young adults and hear about their struggles to fit in and to feel valued.

I started volunteering in November of last year and worked with the seniors on holiday parties and help people sign-up for the new senior housing being built. When COVID-19 hit, many of these volunteer opportunities were no longer available due to safety concerns. That opened the door for me to still become a volunteer at the McDonald/Wright Building where I greet and screen clients entering the building for signs of the coronavirus by asking questions and checking temperatures. I want them to always feel safe and welcomed.

The screening is the easy part. The more challenging parts are the people who are hungry or experiencing homelessness and turn to the Center for help. Volunteering at the Center has made me see a bigger picture of society than I am used to and inspires me to be an instrument of comfort and change.

Besides the rewards of interacting with clients, it has been amazing working with the Center’s staff. There is genuine concern and willingness to do what it takes to help the LGBT community. It’s a joy to be around such positive people.  I would tell anyone interested in volunteering at the Center that there is a wide array of opportunities available, there are deeply satisfying rewards from helping others, and knowing you are helping makes a difference.

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Hometown: Los Angeles

Year Started Volunteering at Center: 2019

Volunteer Positions: Health Services/Senior Services

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