Living in San Francisco, I of course know of The San Francisco LGBT Center on Market Street (at Octavia). I've actually been inside many times. Yesterday though was different. Yesterday was eye-opening. I learned more about The Center in just a few hours than I had in its past ten years of existence.
Before yesterday, I thought of The Center as a venue; a place where lgbt events might be held. I had assumed that the place was run mostly by volunteers with a couple of staff people coordinating their efforts. I really had not thought much more about it. In the past couple of years, I have realized that there is a board of directors and that a couple of my personal friends even serve on that board. Yesterday, it was high time I found out more!
Find out I did! There are a number of programs there that seem to really be making a huge difference in the lives of our lgbt community and yes, there are volunteers, but also a dedicated professional staff, led by Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe, to make these programs happen. Economic development programs at The Center assist LGBT jobseekers in finding safe and secure employment and also help LGBT-run businesses flourish and grow. Programs for Children, Youth and Family and be found there as well. Health and Wellness programs focus not only on HIV/AIDS, but also things like general health access and sexual abuse or domestic abuse as it relates to lgbt people. Wellness Days there feature certified professionals offering services such as nutritional counseling, massage, acupuncture; and even hypnotherapy.
Oh, it is a venue too. So much happens there every week. In addition to what I already have mentioned, twelve-step programs meet there. Community groups rent space for special events. There is also KidSpace for infants, toddlers, and youngsters just beginning school. There are even things for the older members of the lgbt community to participate in.
Yesterday I learned that this is indeed a busy space and that donations and volunteers do indeed help keep things moving. There are so many levels for everyone to participate on that I am certain to be telling you more as I learn more and experience more myself. In the meantime, you can find a ton of information about The Center at http://www.sfcenter.org/