Seasons Greetings Affirmations Family!
In this season of giving thanks, we want to take a moment with you to celebrate and honor the thousands of staff, board and volunteers that have always gone above and beyond to take care of our family members in our more than 32 years together.
It is our honor to serve as Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors of this important organization and wanted to pass along some exciting updates and happenings going on at YOUR community center.
We are proud to announce a major enhancement to our growing human services programming. Through a generous $250K grant from Oakland County, we are now positioned to assist individuals in need with an even higher level of service – a more formalized Care Coordination Program – that assists folks with a personalized plan to help overcome their life challenges.
For decades now, Affirmations has been a place of solace and compassion for those experiencing immediate emergency needs such as temporary shelter, food, clothing as well as longer-term needs such as housing, health care, behavioral health services, employment, and simply just meaningful connection with others in our community.
With the addition of our full-time Licensed Masters of Social Work Therapist, Care Coordination staff and social work interns, we can now more fully support our family members on their life journey, walking with them side-by-side as we witness them grow and thrive! As always, our front desk volunteers will continue in the role of host for all guests that visit the center and now serve as connectors to our care coordinators.
Affirmations is on the move, with major enhancements to our programs and services.
As you may know, Affirmations secured a three-year, $1.06 million-dollar grant to help increase COVID-19 vaccination rates throughout the LGBTQ+ community across Michigan. Services will be delivered in cooperation with the Michigan LGBTQ+ Community Centers Network – a collaboration between 11 organizations across the state whose mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of our community.
To help achieve this, we’ve hired Kyra Smith as our COVID-19 Vaccine Project Manager to lead our efforts and we will soon be hiring a second staff member to serve as the COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Coordinator.
Through the work of these dedicated staff members, COVID-19 vaccinations will soon be administered into the arms of community members through clinics in every part of the state. Additionally, we will be conducting town halls and other forums to educate our community on the benefits of being fully vaccinated.
Our planned expansion of the Behavioral Health program is on track. We have increased our availability of therapeutic sessions and no longer have a waitlist to access these services. We serve both those with insurance and others on a sliding scale. If you know of someone that could benefit from therapeutic counseling, please refer them to our website or call 248-398-7105.
We also are ecstatic to share the news that we’ve hired a full-time Grants Manager – Annie Martin. She joins our organization with years of experience in securing and managing gifts from a range of foundations. Given the success that Affirmations has seen since the return of Dave Garcia as our Executive Director, it was time to add a staff member that will be solely dedicated to managing our current portfolio of grants and to secure additional grant partners. This will ensure we continue to meet the emerging needs of the LGBTQ+ community in SE Michigan and beyond.
With the holiday season right around the corner, we know that it’s often filled with generosity and joy. But for some folks, it can be a very challenging and costly time. With this in mind, we have brought back our ‘We Are One Family’ Giving Program.
Folks can participate in a number of ways: 1) nominate a family or individual to receive gifts; 2) purchase gifts for these individuals or families; or 3) volunteer to wrap gifts on Saturday, December 18, here at the Center. If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to our fellow board member Syeda Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
While the pandemic seems to continue to separate some, we continue to provide both virtual and in-person events for folks to enjoy at their discretion. We would like to inform you that we are postponing our popular Wine Party Event until 2022. Computer modeling continues to show high Delta variant transmission for our region this fall. Even if we moved ahead requiring vaccinations and masks, the reality is that from the moment you walk into the Center, more than 200 guests will be gathered and will be eating and drinking… creating an impossible and impractical circumstance. Attendees of this event tend to skew older and many in our community are immunocompromised. The health and safety of our community must remain our top priority. Stay tuned for an announcement of our new date.
Mark your calendars for Big Bash 2022 “Together Again” – on FRIDAY, September 23, 2022. We are hopeful that the course of the pandemic will allow us to finally gather our family.
Last month, we presented the first of our Intersectional Storytelling Series, a virtual event made possible in part by a grant from Michigan Humanities (an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities). In collaboration with Transcend the Binary, Centro Multicultural La Familia, and Detroit Disability Power, please join us for the second virtual storytelling event, complete with Q and A discussion on Wednesday, November 17, at 7 PM, using the link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
Our wonderful friends Jay Kaplan and Jeff Willets once again bring their cabaret series to Affirmations. On Tuesday, November 23 at 7 PM they will present “Out of This World” which will be a collection of tunes featuring characters from musicals – eccentrics, witches, ghosts, genies, hypochondriacs, goddesses, mad scientists and fairy tale characters. They are joined by John Joanette on piano and Jesse Gibbs on drums. To attend, please RSVP to email@example.com .
Our theatre in residence, The Ringwald, will stage their next show “A Very Golden Girls Christmas Vol. 2” which will open on Friday, November 26 and the run will last through Monday, December 20, 2021. For tickets and information, please click here to visit their website at TheRingwald.com .
Affirmations remains a stable and growing organization. We wish to inform you that for the third year in a row, finances remain strong at Affirmations and we will end 2021 in the black. Considering the historic challenges faced by all LGBTQ+ community centers this year – this alone is an incredible accomplishment. That said, we are not done. We will continue to develop needed programs and create creative ways to reach and serve our community.
To meet our end-of-year goals, the Affirmations Board of Directors has put a challenge on the table through their own personal gifts.
Contributions from individuals made in November and December will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $25K (for a total of $50K). These resources will help us continue to provide the critical services our community has come to expect from our Center.
Thank you very much for your continued support of Affirmations. We cannot continue to do this work without you. Please have a safe and joyful holiday season!
Brianna Yuille & Anthony Sherman
P.S. We will be hosting an Affirmations 2021 Year in Review Town Hall via Zoom on December 1st at 6:30 pm EST. Please tune in and learn more about the exciting enhancements to our programs and services at your community center. There will be a Q and A session for the community and for those unable to attend, the program will be recorded and distributed to all of our donors, volunteers and partners.
For access, please use the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/