What first inspired you to volunteer?
I wanted to contribute to the LGBTQ+ community at UBC Okanagan. When I first started taking classes at the university, there was not much of a community, and the Pride Resource Centre was going through some difficult transitions. Both coordinators were graduating, and no one was in line to take over. I decided that I needed to step up and inspire UBCO to care about the LGBTQ+ community.
Which cause are you most passionate about and why?
While I work with all parts of the LGBTTQQ2IPA community, my passion is with gay men's health. I have been privileged to work with vancouver based organizations such as the CBRC (Community Based Research Centre) and the Provincial Gay Men's and HIV Working Group and the BC Centre for Disease Control. With these groups I contributed to a provincial action plan on HIV health and will be assisting with sexual health surveys during Vancouver Pride.
Which organization do you most commonly volunteer for?
I volunteer as the head coordinator of the UBC Students' Union Okanagan (UBCSUO)'s Pride Resource Centre.
What does a typical volunteer shift look like for this organization?
It's a very open position. Shifts are non-existent, however we do hold office hours. Most of our work is done outside of these office hours and involves event planning, responding to emails, and working towards a safer campus for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty.
What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?
The LGBTQ+ community in Kelowna is mostly run by volunteers, most of whom have day jobs and spend their free time in meetings and volunteering at events. Truly our community is run by some amazing and selfless people. I particularly want to say thank you to the amazing people at the Okanagan Pride Society and the Living Positive Resource Centre.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Okanagan Pride Festival is held from August 6-13; more details can be found at http://okanaganpride.com/festiva...
What is the most memorable moment or experience you've had while volunteering?
There have been so many memorable moments. One of my most cherished moments was during the Transgender Day of Rememberance ceremony we held on campus. It was an emotional evening seeing so many people show up and support the transgender community and memorialize the losses that the community has felt.
What support does your organization currently need, and how can people learn more or get involved?
Our organization is pretty self-sufficient, however we always need volunteers for events and are always looking for other organizations to collaborate with. If people want to get involved, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anyone else you would like to recognize that has helped support you to make a difference?
There have been so many people that have helped our little community at UBCO. We couldn't be where we are today without the help of people like Jenica Frisque, Amara Thibodeau, Sydney Lawson, Sarah Desrosiers, Amy Park, Jay Gatza, Tom Macauley, Romey Jaswal, Kira Risler, and so many more.