Meet Center Volunteer Jaiden Popowich!

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There has been a lot of change in my life since I first became involved in AIDS/LifeCycle in 2001. I’m a transgender male who transitioned 11 years ago and have had a few career changes during that time as well.

AIDS/LifeCycle and its community of roadies has been a constant and has also helped me figure out the important things in my life. Helping others, combined with my love of the outdoors, has resulted in countless small moments of happiness. It’s also made me realize how important trans-friendly queer spaces are in our community.

The first two years of my involvement, I participated in AIDS/LifeCycle as a rider and it showed me that I really like helping people and the social aspects of the event more than riding in it. There’s nothing quite like the sense of community the roadies provide.

Early on as a volunteer on the ride, I learned that I am stronger and tougher, both mentally and physically, than I thought I was. As a roadie, the days are long and the work is physically demanding. But even in the exhaustion, there is joy and laughter and celebration.

The most memorable ride for me was a year when we were rained out and had to borrow local school district buses to transport the cyclists to the next camp. We were transporting bicycles and unloading them until 2 a.m. the next morning. The way the community came together to keep the event safely moving forward was amazing.

AIDS/LifeCycle is one of the ways I recharge my soul during the year. Without a physical ride these past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has definitely has been a void. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of the 2022 ride.

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Year Started Volunteering on AIDS/LifeCycle: 2001

Volunteer Positions: Gear and Tent; Water & Ice

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

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