Married since 2008, Mykel and Jeff Crerie both began volunteering for the Center earlier this year.
Jeff is a graphic designer who also teaches part-time at a music college. Mykel, a sign language interpreter at a high school, is also co-advisor for the school’s LGBTQ+ club.
“We have a history of volunteering together over the years such as the No on 8 campaign and Equality California,” Mykel says. “Volunteering at the Center gives us more opportunities to enjoy these moments side by side. Although my schedule allows more availability for me to do things solo, we always look forward to doing events together.”
The couple recently shared their feelings with LGBT News Now about being Center volunteers.
Mykel: I work in a high school so I have summers off and thought volunteering at the Center would be the perfect avenue to give back to the community. My initial idea was to volunteer with the seniors as a way to give thanks for their perseverance through the struggles so that I can have more rights today. I was blown away by the Volunteer Orientation and amazed by all the services the Center has to offer: youth services and housing, senior housing, health services. Seeing it all from the perspective of a volunteer only raises my regard for the Center.
I’m passionate about trans rights. Volunteering has made me aware of how important it is to have people’s identity affirmed and accepted. An open mind and an open heart go a long way.
Volunteering gives you an opportunity to meet others who are using their free time and talents to serve the community. You get to be around people who want to do good, and you leave the Center’s events with a smile.
Jeff: When Mykel came home from his Volunteer Orientation, he said: ‘This organization is absolutely amazing!’ He always comes home from volunteering with only great things to say about each experience. So, I made a point to sign up and get trained so that we could do volunteer events together. Dream fulfilled!
Volunteering has made me realize how much need there is for these services in the LGBTQ+ community. I’m seriously impressed by how the Center has found a way to bring so many resources together to meet multigenerational needs.
One particularly memorable moment for me was welcoming a trans youth with their parent at the Clothing Swap during Trans Pride. The young person seemed to be taking it all in, and I sensed that my friendly greeting put the parent at ease. That made me feel good.
Hometowns: Fairfax, VA (Jeff) Coram, New York (Mykel)
Year Started at Center: 2019
Volunteer Positions: Special Events, Trans Pride