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San Diego’s spirit of service

Commentary: EpiCenter

One of the remarkable things about the San Diego LGBT community is its spirit of service. A spirit born out of a desire to help those who have been less fortunate for no reason other than “it’s the right thing to do.” The number of individuals who create events, projects and activities designed to help or provide much needed funds and service is innumerable and most of us never know all the names of those involved.

Metro Area Real Estate Professionals for Young Adult Housing (MARYAH) is one such incredible group. A group whose sole goal and purpose is to help raise the funds needed to give some of San Diego’s highest risk, homeless LGBT young adults a chance at housing, and hope.

In 2005, The Center opened the Sunburst Youth Housing Project (YHP), an innovative program providing 23 units of supportive housing for homeless youth age 18-24, with an emphasis on LGBT and HIV-positive youth.

One of the first projects of its kind in the United States, YHP offers access to stable, affordable housing, health care services, case management, life skills training and more. This combination of housing and services provides a path to greater independence, eventually enabling residents to move on and maintain stable housing on their own. It’s an important project that requires a great deal of support, and today this type of housing program is the model for housing high-risk, homeless populations across the United States.

Even before the Youth Housing Project opened, a group of San Diego real estate professionals established MARYAH with the simple goal of providing an ongoing source of funding for this critical program. Since that time, MARYAH has been dedicated to raising funds for the Sunburst Youth Housing Project, mainly through their three annual events – the MARYAH Poker Tournament, the Spring Soiree and the Harvest Howl. Over the last six years, they have raised nearly $200,000!

Current board members Larry Cory, James Crandall, Sean Current, Amy Driscoll, Richard Gutierrez, Jeff Nix, Jim Hush, Mark Kunce, Ashley Lunn, David Muscat, Lori Northcutt, Mike Paganelli, Ivan Solis, Jr., Ken Tablang and Richard Woods are committed to continuing MARYAH’s mission of raising awareness and operating funds to help provide for our community’s homeless youth. We are deeply grateful for their generosity and their untiring efforts to make a positive and lasting difference in these young people’s lives.

If you’d like to help MARYAH in their mission, then don’t miss the Third Annual MARYAH Poker Tournament on Thursday, March 3, at Top of the Park. Enjoy a Vegas-style poker tournament, players’ lounge, blackjack tables, hors d’oeuvres, no-host bar and valuable grand prizes and giveaways.

Poker seats are $40 and spectator-only guest tickets are $15. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. for mixing and mingling and the tournament starts at 6:30 p.m. If you register online early, you’ll get an extra $500 in chips. To register, or to find more information on this event, visit maryahpoker.org.

To learn more about MARYAH, contact Richard Woods at 619-347-9866 or richtwoods@gmail.com, or Ivan Solis at 619-804-9000 or xbluranger@aol.com.

To learn more about The Center’s Youth Housing Project, visit The Center’s website at thecentersd.org. Questions about eligibility and services may be directed to Denice Williams at dwilliams@thecentersd.org or 619-255-7854, ext. 102.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=3175

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011. Filed under EpiCenter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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