Meet Center Volunteer Nicholas Padilla

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Growing up gay, closeted, hating myself, and then coming to the Los Angeles LGBT Center was indescribable—very surreal. I had the overwhelming feeling of “So, this is what it’s like!”

The Center is the place where I can wear my big earrings without shame, where I am taken seriously, where I can contribute to others’ lives in the same way other volunteers contribute to mine through their kindness, acceptance, and love. The Center has brought me love, and I have, in turn, learned to love myself.

At my high school graduation in June, I came out to my whole school while giving a speech about LGBTQIA+ representation. I was fortunate enough to be able to share this experience with three amazing volunteers one day at the Center, and it was so extremely reassuring to feel their support. I had no queer friends from high school and, as a recent graduate, I needed a community. The Center has been precisely that. I became a volunteer to learn from people here who are comfortable in their own skin. I get to be a part of a community as the real me.

The vast majority of my volunteer work has been centered around supporting the community during the COVID-19 crisis. This means packaging and delivering food to seniors and keeping the Pride Pantry running. To anyone who is considering becoming a volunteer, nothing but positivity awaits you at the Center. This is a place where you can be yourself and thrive and, through your service, help others do so as well.

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Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Year Started Volunteering at Center: 2021

Volunteer Positions: Senior Services

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