I remember walking into Affirmations for the first time in 2003, at the age of 16. It was also the very first time I had ever been in a space with so many people who were like me. A safe space! Where I could socialize, create friendships, be connected to invaluable resources, and gain the courage to truly be myself. During that time as a teenager, I was closeted at school in fear of being teased or persecuted. I was also closeted with my family in fear of rejection. Yet, Every time I walked into Affirmations for the ‘Friday Night Drop In’ it literally felt as if this heteronormative mask I was wearing was instantly lifted…Even if it was only for an hour or two. Eventually, I became brave enough to take this ‘mask’ off permanently, and start on the road to becoming the person I am today.
Over the years, Affirmations remained a source of guidance and support for me when I needed it. Including in 2018, when I walked in feeling frustrated and powerless, due to everything that was going on in politics, and the world around me. I spoke to a young man at the front desk and explained that I wanted to give back…I wanted to do SOMETHING to help the world around me become a better place. Affirmations connected me with the HRC. An organization I have since spent countless hours volunteering for.
The very definition of ‘Affirmation’ is emotional support and encouragement! And I am grateful to this organization for being just that!
I first became involved with Affirmations in 2014. I was looking to meet people in the community, and frankly, joining a group or attending a social event felt a little scary to me. I’m an introvert and meeting new people doesn’t always come easy. So, I began as a front desk volunteer. Talking to strangers felt far more comfortable when it was my “job”. I volunteered on Monday evenings for about a year and a half. Then I became involved in event committees such as the Fall Fling Planning Committee and later helping with Spring Bash. From there, I started to represent Affirmations at various events like Pride. The more involved I became, the more passionate I felt about Affirmations’ mission. I got to see firsthand now Affirmations made a significant difference in people’s lives. I fell in love with the people and the place. I have heard it said many times and I agree, Affirmations feels like home. It is a true honor to serve as a board member.