Volunteer Appreciation Month!
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and as a show of love to those who keep us going, we at the Montrose Center wanted to highlight some of the faces that you may see around at our many events! Meet four of those faces below, and read about them as well as what they had to say about volunteering with us:
“With all my heart, I believe in what we do and who we do it for. Whether at work or home, it is my duty and obligation to serve the community in which I am a part of. The importance of community became very apparent in the 20 years I served in the Navy traveling the world and crossing paths with so many interesting people. It was my experience in the military that opened my eyes to the beauty and strength diversity brings into our lives. Volunteering keeps me engaged in the community and allows me to collaborate with other like-minded people who, simply put, get it! It’s always heart-warming to share a room with people who are constantly looking for innovative ways to bring each of us closer together by tearing down the walls that divide us and building safe havens where we can all commune.”
“I choose to volunteer at The Montrose Center because it enables me to help the less fortunate of my community. Many people can’t help the situations they’re in, and volunteering helps us come together to make life a little less hard. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am proud to volunteer at The Montrose Center.”
“Volunteering can have many purposes, but when you ask me what volunteering means to me, it means “life”. Volunteering saved my life. As a lonely closeted Hispanic adolescent suffering from internal homophobia and depression, it was hard to feel anything. My parents had recently divorced, I had no friends, my religion said I was a ‘sinner’, and I had no direction. When I started to volunteer, I found a passion to give back to the community, I felt seen, heard, and I felt I became much more confident in myself as a person, as a minority, as an LGBTQ+ individual, and as a leader. The little things in life began to have sentimental value, every interaction was meaningful, and the experiences unforgettable. I was blessed to find something like that and to build a career as a professional helper, but I understand that not everyone has it that easy. After 1,500+ hours of community service and seven years out and proud, volunteering has become a part of me and I don’t plan on stopping. I continuously strive to be able to help as many people as I possibly can, whether it’s just a smile or a fond memory…because sometimes that’s all it takes to save a life. I truly want to thank the Montrose Center for giving me the platform to be able to serve my city and community, I hope that this partnership continues for a long time.”
“I volunteer for two main reasons. The first, a little selfish I’ll admit, is to meet new people and become more connected in my community. After volunteering at Gender Infinity, a conference centered around the gender spectrum, for the first time in 2018, I realized how tucked away I was from Houston’s vast LGBTQ community. I decided I needed a place I could volunteer more than just once a year. The Montrose Center is the best place for that! The second reason I volunteer is to give back to the community and the Center. The Center has provided me with countless resources since I learned about it in my junior year of high school. Likewise, the LGBTQ+ community has always had open arms when I’ve needed it. I’ve been able to learn so much about myself through the support and experience of others. I volunteer with the hope of offering that same kindness to others. Huge thank you to the Montrose Center for providing a safe environment for everyone to learn and grow!”