EpiCenter – LGBT Weekly http://lgbtweekly.com Wed, 04 May 2016 22:16:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Making a difference for LGBT seniors, part 3 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/06/16/making-a-difference-for-lgbt-seniors-part-3-3/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/06/16/making-a-difference-for-lgbt-seniors-part-3-3/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2011 17:50:44 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/06/16/making-a-difference-for-lgbt-seniors-part-3-3/

Today, as they age and retire, the first Stonewall generation has another fight, a fight for the dignified, fair and equal treatment of themselves, their partners and friends as they age.

While the policy recommendations below are important to all LGBT Americans, they are particularly vital for LGBT seniors who are forced to navigate a senior care system that often returns them to invisibility and isolation, and unjustly responds to their lifetime of hard work with unequal treatment under laws, programs and services.

Description of the San Diego LGBT survey sample

The average respondent’s age was between 64 and 65 years of age; median annual household income was $44,000, with 31 percent having already retired, 36 percent still working full-time, 13 percent working part-time and 10 percent unemployed and looking for work. 11 percent of the sample reported being disabled.

59 percent of respondents reported being in no significant relationship, 41 percent reported being in a significant relationship. Most respondents reported they either lived alone (48 percent) or with one other person (spouse or partner, 35 percent). 40 percent of respondents reported they currently did not have a will or living trust. 51 percent reported they had not designated a power of attorney.

More than one-fourth of all respondents (26 percent) reported that they “sometimes,” “often” or “almost always” attempt to hide their sexual orientation from neighbors or others. Similarly, 31 percent reported feeling embarrassed when asked about their sexual orientation. Lower income groups were the least likely to feel comfortable with disclosure. Almost 1/4 of all respondents (23 percent) failed to report that they “felt safe” based upon where they lived.

Lack of family, community and social support for LGBT seniors

In this study, San Diego seniors reported inadequate levels of family and community support to ensure ordinary levels of assistance as they age. Both gay men and lesbians reported being more likely to be single or not in a relationship than their aging heterosexual counterparts. Two-thirds of the non-LGBT population over 60 years of age reports being in a significant relationship and only 41 percent of San Diego LGBT seniors report being in a relationship. Further, San Diego LGBT seniors reported being more likely to live alone than their heterosexual counterparts.

In addition to being more likely to live alone and not be in a significant relationship, 68 percent of the LGBT seniors responding indicated that they had neither family or younger friends that they were certain they could count on for support or assistance as they age. Only 24 percent of this cohort reported having children, and although 58 percent had younger siblings, only 18 percent of those reported they could count on these siblings for assistance. These findings stand in stark contrast to the national aging data that indicate the overwhelming majority of care for the elderly is provided by family members and their children.

Financial concerns of LGBT seniors

Twenty-three percent of the LGBT seniors responding to this survey reported an annual income of less than $20,000 per year. Further, 29 percent of the sample reported having no planned income other than Social Security and 49 percent reported having less than $5,000 in savings for retirement. Only 16 percent of this sample reported having $100,000 or more saved for retirement.

Policy challenges

The unique challenges of the senior LGBT community clearly place them at a growing disadvantage as they age. Unfortunately, several discriminatory laws and practices at state and federal levels continue these inequities. Local, state and national LGBT and allied communities should be encouraged to advocate for policy changes that can help to create more fair and equal treatment of LGBT seniors as they age.

• Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act

• Secure marriage equality at the federal level

• Reform the laws regulating Social Security, family medical leave, Medicaid and long-term care, tax-qualified retirement plans, employee pensions, retiree health insurance benefits, veterans’ benefits and inheritance laws to allow for the designation of domestic partners, same-sex partners, permanent partners or selected similarly qualified adults to receive the “spousal benefits” named in such legislations, regulations or codes. These laws seriously undermine the financial security of many long-term couples and individuals.

• Ensure the passage and enforcement of comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in California that include all public accommodations and services, and further ensure compliance with such laws by ensuring ongoing training and affirmative demonstration of the cultural competency of such publicly funded agencies, systems and organizations.

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Making a difference for LGBT seniors, part 2 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/06/02/making-a-difference-for-the-lgbt-seniors-part-2/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/06/02/making-a-difference-for-the-lgbt-seniors-part-2/#respond Thu, 02 Jun 2011 20:09:06 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/06/02/making-a-difference-for-the-lgbt-seniors-part-2/

 

Our seniors helped make our LGBT community what it is today, but they are more than just part of our past; they are woven into every part of our community, helping to shape who we are and showing us who we will become. As the first generation aging as an openly LGBT population, they are breaking new ground and teaching us a great deal about the lives of our LGBT seniors.

The list of community recommendations here is excerpted from the recent survey of the needs and circumstances of San Diego’s LGBT seniors. It’s a partial listing (part two of a three-part series) that addresses only some of the identified needs. The final segment will follow in the next column.

Recommendations for San Diego LGBT seniors part 2 of 3 from LGBT San Diego’s Trailblazing Generation: Housing & Related Needs of LGBT Seniors. Increase the visibility and availability of information regarding retirement/aging planning for the LGBT community, particularly those ages 50 to 62.

The data from this study clearly indicates that in their struggle for survival and for equal treatment, many LGBT Americans have been unable to turn their attention to the planning necessary for their own retirements and aging process. Increased availability of the information necessary for LGBT community members to adequately plan for their own housing, medical care, support systems and financial needs might help to address the challenges currently facing community members in the future.

LGBT senior housing recommendations

1. Expand and enhance the cultural competency of existing senior housing providers. Build a network of LGBT affirmative housing providers who, through relationship development, education and skill building, can be encouraged to increase their knowledge and skill with an LGBT senior population at both organizational policy levels and staff service provision levels.

2. Expand the availability and accessibility of LGBT-affirmative senior housing services. These efforts will require three different, income-based initiatives.

a. Identify a low-income, senior housing developer who may be willing to work in partnership with the LGBT community to develop subsidized, affordable, low-income senior housing for LGBT seniors. The income levels required to qualify for such housing are limited to the low end of the annual income spectrum. The demand for such housing greatly exceeds the current supply, particularly in light of the “aging in place” wishes of most seniors, which reduces the turnover rate in such housing. Such a partnership would also likely require the presence of an LGBT-identified community service provider to ensure LGBT affirmative on-site services are available for the LGBT residents.

b. Identify existing low-income, senior housing options for LGBT seniors, including existing landlords or property owners who may be willing to work in partnership with the LGBT community to expand their affordable offerings to low-income LGBT seniors. The group of seniors whose annual incomes slightly exceed the established cut-offs for subsidized housing find themselves with few options. These LGBT seniors experience the difficult choices created by either using nearly all their monthly income for rent, with very little money left over each month for other budgetary requirements, such as utilities, food, supplies and prescription drugs, or moving to geographic areas where they often fear for their safety or feel isolated. An increased supply of LGBT-affirmative affordable housing is needed for lower income LGBT seniors.

c. Identify existing market-rate senior housing communities who may be interested in the further development of market rate housing or retirement communities for LGBT seniors. While higher income seniors may have more options than other groups regarding housing and related needs, these seniors continue to seek housing options that do not return them to isolation or invisibility.

3. Develop an LGBT-affirmative listing (electronically and in print media) of safe, affordable senior housing options. As options and partnerships develop it is important that LGBT seniors have easy-to-access information regarding the options available to them.

In this column and the one preceding it, we’ve touched on housing, medical, mental health, social and recreational needs. The next column will give an overview of policy recommendations designed to reform laws to give LGBT seniors the same protections and benefits that non-LGBT seniors enjoy.

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Making a difference for LGBT seniors: Part 1 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/05/19/making-a-difference-for-the-lgbt-seniors/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/05/19/making-a-difference-for-the-lgbt-seniors/#comments Thu, 19 May 2011 18:32:22 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/05/19/making-a-difference-for-the-lgbt-seniors/

This list of community recommendations is excerpted from the recent study conducted by Dr. Jim Zians regarding the needs and circumstances of San Diego’s LGBT seniors. It’s a partial listing (part one of a three-part series) that addresses only some of the identified needs. The other two segments will follow in subsequent columns.

Clearly there is a lot to improve upon and begin to address. Equally clear is the fact that it will take all of us – our LGBT and allied organizations, and our community members alike. As with all community undertakings, the first step is for all of us to read the study, educate ourselves regarding the local San Diego and national issues for LGBT seniors, and begin to ask ourselves, “How can we help begin to make a difference?” The list below suggests a path to move forward together.

LGBT senior care-related services and mental health service recommendations:

1. Expand and enhance the cultural competency of senior service providers throughout the region, including but not limited to: physicians, health clinics, hospitals, nursing and assisted care facilities, home care services, in-home supportive services, case management services, mental health services, volunteer programs, food delivery and transportation services and other social services.

2. Plan and develop a service-access point for LGBT seniors in San Diego that can provide LGBT-specific assistance and information regarding the availability of a wide variety of LGBT-affirmative health and social services.

3. Continue to expand The Center’s capacity to deliver LGBT-affirmative mental health services to LGBT seniors. The Center’s mental health services for LGBT seniors have empirically proven results regarding their effectiveness; however, the current capacity for service delivery does not adequately address the clear needs of this population.

4. Expand the capacity of other senior mental health service providers to include LGBT-affirmative and culturally competent mental health services including services focused upon the interface of LGBT issues, HIV issues, relationship violence and substance abuse.

Expansion of safe, LGBT-affirmative senior social, recreational and community participation opportunities:

1. A clear priority for LGBT senior service planning includes the provision for social and recreational community involvement. This type of program can begin to address the difficulties with isolation, loneliness and depression experienced and feared by too many LGBT seniors. The Center’s 50 and Better program offers a variety of senior focused recreational, social and educational opportunities each month, but is not sufficient to meet the current and growing needs and concerns of LGBT seniors regarding their increased social isolation. The capacity of The Center to provide these services, as well as other LGBT-affirmative providers, should be increased.

2. Design and execution of LGBT community-wide efforts to ensure the inclusion of LGBT seniors in programs, events and activities that are planned and executed for the LGBT community, as well as inclusion in a variety of LGBT volunteer opportunities throughout the LGBT and allied communities.

3. Ensure the provision of the human and financial resources necessary to design and execute a community-wide social marketing and social media effort to increase the visibility and accurate understanding of the lives, vitality, dignity and challenges of LGBT seniors’ lives. Much like their non-LGBT counterparts, LGBT seniors face the challenges of participating in a culture that is often exclusively youth-focused and ill-informed about the reality of LGBT senior lives. Increasing the visibility and accurate understanding of LGBT senior lives may contribute to decreasing the propagation of ill-informed stereotypes and increase the inclusion of LGBT seniors in community life.

The full senior needs report can be found at thecentersd.org.

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Meeting the needs of our LGBT seniors http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/05/05/meeting-the-needs-of-our-lgbt-seniors/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/05/05/meeting-the-needs-of-our-lgbt-seniors/#respond Thu, 05 May 2011 19:05:19 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/05/05/meeting-the-needs-of-our-lgbt-seniors/

LGBT baby boomers, who will begin retiring in 2011, were 24 years old during the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, and are part of the estimated 1.5 million senior LGBT Americans many have called the first “out and proud” generation. Yet, too often they have been excluded from the social science research regarding aging and their unique issues and needs have not been adequately addressed by agencies and housing providers that serve seniors.

In the next five days, The San Diego LGBT Community Center will release a local needs assessment report regarding San Diego area LGBT seniors, with a focus on housing and housing-related services. The surveys, analysis and report were the research of Dr. Jim Zians and produced in part with the Ad Hoc Working Group on Housing for LGBT Seniors, a group of LGBT community members who have been working for several years in collaboration with The Center and a variety of other community organizations to better understand the needs of local seniors and, ultimately, begin to address them.

The report largely confirms most of the national and local findings that have preceded it. Among the characteristics and challenges outlined by San Diego seniors are four priority concerns:

1. Concerns regarding the lack of family, community and social support available to LGBT seniors

2. Concerns regarding the lack of access to culturally competent health care, mental health care and social services support available to LGBT seniors

3. Financial concerns

4. The lack of safe, LGBT-affirmative affordable housing options

According to the survey, LGBT seniors are more likely than their non-LGBT counterparts to live alone. They also are significantly less likely to have children or siblings they can count on for support as they age. This is particularly troubling, given that the vast majority of care and assistance for aging Americans is typically provided by family. In addition, more than half of the respondents expressed high levels of concern about their health and health care, and many were not comfortable being “out” to their health care provider.

The survey shows 23 percent of LGBT seniors had incomes of less than $20,000 annually. According to the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, San Diego seniors who have an income of $22,824 annually ($1,902 per month) live in poverty. Additionally, 49 percent reported having less than $5,000 in savings for retirement. LGBT seniors in San Diego also reported facing financial challenges that are exacerbated by discriminatory policies at all levels, such as inequities in the Social Security coverage due to a lack of marriage equality for LGBT couples.

In terms of housing-related concerns, LGBT senior San Diegans shared a desire with their non-LGBT senior counterparts to remain in their home as they age (79 percent). When asked, 90 percent of respondents indicated they would prefer LGBT-affirmative housing and 94 percent said they would prefer to live among other LGBT community members as they retire and/or age, with 79 percent reporting they feel safer living among LGBT community members.

The report and surveys are important tools to educate our community about the needs and concerns of our aging LGBT San Diegans; but now that we have a clearer idea of what our seniors need, what is most important is finding ways to begin to meet those needs. The full report contains a list of recommendations spanning from national advocacy initiatives to smaller steps that many of our local organizations can begin work on immediately. There is much to be done and we need to get started!

The executive summary and full report will be available online at TheCenterSD.org.

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‘Overnight’ successes that take decades to achieve http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/04/21/overnight-successes-that-take-decades-to-achieve/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/04/21/overnight-successes-that-take-decades-to-achieve/#respond Thu, 21 Apr 2011 19:23:41 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/04/21/overnight-successes-that-take-decades-to-achieve/

Last week the headlines read, “San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Board of Education – representing the second largest school district in California – voted unanimously in support of a Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation Prohibition policy.” The policy states that the SDUSD will not tolerate any student or staff member being bullied, harassed or intimidated in any form at school or school-related events.

To some, it seemed to have happened almost in months. But, unfortunately, that’s rarely how important life-changing policies are established.

Instead of happening overnight, there are almost always private individuals, advocacy groups and community organizations who have spent years, even decades and lifetimes, doing all of the hard work of changing hearts and minds, of bringing growing understanding and visibility to the social justice issues that we hope to address. That is certainly true for the decades-long work to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and it will be true when we finally repeal DOMA and Proposition 8, and was true about these local school bullying prevention policies and programs.

In August 2010, The Center met with new school district Superintendent Kowba to discuss the situation in San Diego schools for LGBT students, or those perceived to be LGBT, and the children of same-sex parents. The superintendent was deeply concerned by the statistics he saw and the clear negative impact on student achievement. He was most interested in finding solutions.

Very shortly thereafter, bullying became a national concern following more than 13 suicides of LGBT victims of school related bullying. Superintendent Kowba and I reached out to Board President Barrera and the SDUSD school board to begin the formal process of establishing policies, procedures and programs that might help San Diego Unified prevent such a tragedy and make schools safer for all students, including LGBT students.

This led in October to the “Resolution in Support of a Nondiscrimination Policy to Ensure a Healthier Learning Environment for All Students, Including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Students” and the formation of the Safer Schools Task Force, a joint effort between community and the school district that resulted in the adoption of the anti-bullying policy.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Dr. Nellie Meyers and me and includes Superintendent Kowba, Board Chair Richard Barrera, Boardmember Kevin Beiser, a variety of current and retired school administrators and educators, a variety of community group leaders and members, including The Center, GLSEN, Trevor Project, CA Faith for Equality, Anti-Defamation League, City of San Diego Human Relations Commission, PFLAG and Jan Garbosky as well as representatives from the offices of State Senator Christine Kehoe and Assemblymember Toni Atkins.

Last Tuesday’s vote to establish an official anti-bullying policy isn’t the end of this process. The Task Force must still write the procedures for implementation; review training programs and write educational materials for educators, staff and students; develop reporting procedures and intervention plans; ensure that all staff, educators, parents and students are aware of and understand the anti-bullying policies; and ensure larger San Diego community involvement in supporting anti-bullying policies and creating and maintaining safer schools for all students.

But that vote was an enormously important step, and a direct result of the years of hard work of everyone involved in the process. We thank all of them for their continued dedication and commitment to protecting our LGBT youth.

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The power of participation http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/03/24/the-power-of-participation/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/03/24/the-power-of-participation/#respond Thu, 24 Mar 2011 21:51:20 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/03/24/the-power-of-participation/

Recently, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) published the 2010 National LGBT Movement Report, an overview of the fiscal and programmatic health of almost 70 percent of the budgets of LGBT social justice and advocacy organizations in the U.S. The report is described in its conclusion as follows:

“The 2010 National LGBT Movement Report provides important information to educate the public, policymakers, LGBT movement donors and advocates about the financial health and operating efficiency of the LGBT movement.

“Participating LGBT organizations have seen significant revenue decline over the past few years, likely due to the economic downturn. They have responded to the economic challenges by taking the necessary step of reducing expenses, and as a result, the overall financial health of the leading LGBT organizations remains strong, though overall movement capacity may be somewhat reduced. Despite this more difficult fundraising environment, LGBT organizations continue to meet charity watchdog benchmarks and are efficient in their fundraising operations.

Of total organizational expenses, 79 percent are spent on programs and services, 9 percent are spent on management and general expenses and only 12 percent are spent on fundraising.”

Those conclusions are not surprising; they mirror the earlier 2010 MAP report on LGBT Community Centers and can be summarized in the sentence, “Revenue has dropped significantly (average is 20 percent), budgets have reduced accordingly, some service capacity is reduced, but important charity watchdog ratios have been maintained and financial health remains strong.”

But that was not the portion of the report that got the attention of many nationwide. Instead, it was a Huffington Post op-ed by MAP Executive Director Ineke Mushovic examining implications of the report’s findings. Mushovic highlighted the following finding:

“MAP analysis shows that fewer than 4 percent of all LGBT adults in the U.S. are donating $35 or more to these organizations. At the same time, just the top ten anti-LGBT organizations – groups like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association and the National Organization for Marriage – spent $333.1 million in 2009. That amounts to twice the 2009 expenses of all 39 participating LGBT organizations combined ($165.6 million).”

Nationally, only about 4 percent of community members actually contribute on an annual basis to the LGBT service and advocacy projects that sustain our community and fuel our efforts toward equality! Imagine how much more powerful this equality movement and the services and advocacy associated with it could be if we could improve the percentage of those that give even $35 dollars a year to one of the LGBT organizations?

The wins we have enjoyed haven’t been easily won. The hard work of thousands across decades has made them possible; and the dollars of too few have funded that work. Each of us is and will continue to be deeply grateful for those 4 percent. But a challenge lies before us all if we are to truly succeed. How can we better inspire those among us who do not yet give?

How can we all, together, better explain what’s at stake? How can we make it clearer that even $35 a year makes a tremendous difference in our local, statewide and national capacity to achieve the equality we deserve?

The answers hold a vital key to our collective capacity to see our goals achieved in our lifetime and it will take all of us to find those answers … and quickly.

Dr. Delores A. Jacobs is CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

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Consumer input needed for HIV Planning Council http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/24/consumer-input-needed-for-hiv-planning-council/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/24/consumer-input-needed-for-hiv-planning-council/#respond Thu, 24 Feb 2011 22:03:04 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/24/consumer-input-needed-for-hiv-planning-council/

An estimated 18,000 people in San Diego County are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Roughly 83 percent of those infected are men who have sex with men (75 percent) or are men who have sex with men and use injectable drugs (8 percent). Among those living with HIV/AIDS, approximately 40 percent live below the federal poverty level and 49 percent do not have health insurance.

Since the County of San Diego does not operate a hospital, primary health care for those without insurance and without financial resources is provided by a safety net system of community clinics and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The approximately 11 million dollars in funds to operate this safety net of clinics, hospital services and the affiliated medical and support services are provided annually by the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. Approximately 80 percent of those dollars or $8 million annually are spent on medical services alone.

Unlike most funding processes or systems, these dollars and the services they fund are distributed using a mechanism specifically intended to provide maximum consumer input, feedback and opportunity to provide direction. Once the amount has been decided by the federal government, the dollars themselves are distributed by the County, with the advice and direction of the San Diego HIV Health Services Planning Council.

This 45-member HIV Planning Council consists of consumers, subject-matter experts and concerned community members. The Council is charged with reviewing all of the available scientific data regarding the local epidemic in order to plan the services and funding allocations for HIV/AIDS services in San Diego County. People living with HIV/AIDS are an integral part of the Council.

In fact, the HIV Planning Council routinely seeks applications from HIV consumers willing to get involved in the process and interested in serving as Council members. All HIV-positive community members are actively encouraged to attend a Planning Council meeting (all meetings are open to the public, the fourth Wednesday of each month, 3-6 p.m.) or a Council committee meeting (all committee meetings are also open to the public).

Individuals interested in becoming Consumer members of the Planning Council only need be HIV-positive and currently receiving at least one Ryan White funded service. Additionally they cannot currently be serving as a paid staff member or a board member of an agency that receives Ryan White funds.

For more information on how to become involved in the HIV Planning Council, contact Jaime Rodriguez at 619-293-4713, or by e-mail at jaime.rodriguez@sdcounty.ca.gov. Additional information is also available on the San Diego HIV Health Services Planning Council website at sdplanning.org.

Want to offer some input but don’t have time or interest in becoming a Planning Council member? There’s a place for you at this table too! Consumers, interested community members, service providers, family members – input welcomed!

Ryan White Services Regional Community Meeting for central San Diego will be held Wednesday, April 20, at 11 a.m. in The Center’s auditorium, 3909 Centre Street.

For more information contact Ken Riley at 619-293-4711 or kenneth.riley@sdcounty.ca.gov or visit sdplanning.com.

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San Diego’s spirit of service http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/12/san-diegos-spirit-of-service/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/12/san-diegos-spirit-of-service/#respond Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:21:03 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/12/san-diegos-spirit-of-service/

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.

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Encouraging and building more leaders http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/encouraging-and-building-more-leaders/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/encouraging-and-building-more-leaders/#respond Thu, 03 Feb 2011 03:13:51 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/archives/1803

The energy, talent and creativity of our community’s new leadership generation are a vital resource for all of us. Part of the work of every community and any community organization is to ensure the continual development of fresh ideas, new faces, bold energy and new solutions to continue to move us forward. From new political activists and leaders, to newly involved not-for-profit leaders, new business leaders, new energy in the arts and on and on… we need all of it and part of our work is to help develop all those willing to serve.

For professionals 21-40 who would like to further develop their leadership and service skills, The Center offers the Young Professionals Council (YPC). Developed by and for young professionals, YPC was launched in March of 2009 with three goals in mind: to support and develop young LGBT professionals in their ongoing development as leaders in their communities and sectors of employment; to commission a group of young professionals committed to The Center’s mission and sustainability to act as ambassadors in building community support and awareness about the agency’s programs; and to connect with local businesses and corporate partners to produce fun and dynamic events in support of The Center’s future.

Since its launch, YPC members have raised nearly $10,000 on behalf of the Center, networked with other LGBT professionals and expanded their knowledge about The Center’s programs. Don’t miss their next event, Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. when they bring Burlesque to San Diego. Head to THIN (852 Fifth Ave, downtown) for an evening of dance, drink and show. Svedka and Stone Brewing Co. will keep the drinks flowing all night while Paris, the Flirt Show and DJ Von Kiss combine the fabulousness of Hillcrest with the showmanship of Burlesque. General admission is $25 and includes two drinks. VIP admission is $50 and includes a hosted bar. To purchase tickets, visit www.thecentersd.kin-tera.org /YPC.

There are a number of other ways for LGBT young adults to get involved within their communities. If you’re a business owner, join the GSDBA. If you want to volunteer, you’ll find plenty of opportunities at The Center, Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego LGBT Pride, the Environmental Health Coalition and the ACLU or at Planned Parenthood. Almost all of our LGBT and allied nonprofits are happy to take volunteers! If you’re ready for even more leadership and responsibility, think about joining a not-for-profit board. The skills, contacts and knowledge acquired are invaluable.

For those 18-28 who are looking for other new ways to connect with The Center and the community, we have two new groups that will address issues pertinent to young adults – such as relationships, sexual health, activism, community building and more. The women’s group will meet every third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. and the men’s group will meet every fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Abby Schwartz, at (619) 692-2077, ext. 212, or aschwartz@thecentersd.org.

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Resolve to Volunteer: January 26, 2011 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/resolve-to-volunteer-january-26-2011/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/resolve-to-volunteer-january-26-2011/#respond Thu, 03 Feb 2011 00:52:23 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/archives/1724

These volunteers work tirelessly, dedicating enormous amounts of time, talent, donations and resources to making our community, City, State and nation better, fairer, more inclusive and more just. Without them we would not be where we are today. Their unwavering commitment supports and enriches our community in ways too numerous to count.

The Center has nearly 800 dedicated volunteers who donate over 16,000 hours of time annually for an annual monetary value of over $350,000. That makes a real, measurable difference in the health of our LGBT community. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of The Center and almost every program we offer. They help make it possible for us to do the projects, programs, activities and provide the services that we do.

Most of our local nonprofits and many of our major community events also rely upon volunteer help. AIDS Walk, Dining Out for Life and the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade & Festival couldn’t happen without the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of thousands of volunteers. Mama’s Kitchen, PFLAG, Stonewall Citizens Patrol, HRC—the list of organizations that form our community with the help of volunteers goes on and on.

What do people tell you when you move to a new place or simply want to meet new people? Go volunteer. And it’s true.

Volunteering is a great way to connect with your community, meet new people, and gain a sense that you make a real difference, have some fun and help make your City and community a better place. For decades the collected medical and social science literature has also told us that volunteering helps to improve physical health, mental health, increases hope and optimism and helps all people feel valued and a part of something larger than themselves. If you’d like to get more involved, there’s a very easy way to make that connection. Join us at the Annual Community Volunteer Fair.

Established in 2005 by the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council (also all volunteers), the Annual Community Volunteer Fair was designed to provide San Diego community non-profit organizations with an opportunity to showcase their organizations and recruit for their year-round volunteer opportunities. It is also designed to make gathering information about organizations easy and painless for the hundreds of community members who make New Year’s resolutions to volunteer.

The sixth annual Community Volun-teer Fair will be held Wednesday, Jan. 26, 5:30-7:00 pm at The San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre Street. There is no cost either to participating organizations or to those seeking to volunteer. Organizations looking for volunteers should contact Jessica Cul-pepper at jculpepper@thecentersd.org for an application. If you’re interested in volunteering, all you have to do is show up!

Join us and volunteer!

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