My position at the Los Angeles LGBT Center is the first job I’ve had where I’ve been able to be out as a queer and nonbinary person from day one. I haven’t had to worry about teaching Transgender 101 to all of my colleagues—the team I work with respects my pronouns—and I have never had to worry about being discriminated against for my identity.
My previous job in customer service at a large corporation was, objectively, a good job, but I didn’t find a lot of meaning in it. What I did enjoy about that job was the emphasis on volunteerism, and I tried to spend as much time as I could volunteering with organizations across Los Angeles as part of my work.
I had already been volunteering for the Center on my own time but being able to deepen my commitment by getting my company involved cemented my desire to move into nonprofit work. When the person who previously held my position moved into a new role at the Center, I knew I had to apply!
The core of my job—communicating with our volunteers, helping them find opportunities that fit their skills, and working with other staff to set up their volunteers for success—has remained the same since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But since the crisis began, I’ve been able to collaborate with colleagues in a more hands-on way, helping them implement new programs to address the needs of the community. I’ve been able to assist with launching new programs such as Hello Club, Pride Pantry, and a cooking class for Trans* Lounge called TRANSforming Your Kitchen.
The pandemic has really proven how important it is to find community. This time has been isolating for so many people, and I truly don’t know how I’d get through my days without my teams of incredible colleagues and volunteers. Being part of a community of like-minded folks who just want to make the world better has made a huge difference.
During the pandemic, I’ve heard from a lot of folks, who’ve been unable to volunteer in a while, eager to get back into it. Almost every day I get emails from people saying that they were volunteers years ago and now have some extra time on their hands so they’d like to donate to the Center.
Working at the Center is a lot of hard work, but the amazing things we’re able to do for our community make it so worthwhile.
Hometown: West Bend, WI
Year Started Working at Center: 2019
Staff Position: Volunteer Stewardship Associate