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Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been a dedicated Wellness Center Receptionist since March 2014. We have all appreciated her eclectic music choices and friendly, welcoming manner at the front desk. Elizabeth saved the day last Pride when she saved one of our Seattle to Portland rider’s bikes from a bike thief. Before marching with Gay City in the parade, Elizabeth heard about a bike stolen the night before, and minutes later, spotted the bike thief crossing the street near the parade with the bike in his hands. She chased after him, got him to drop the bike with the best line ever (“Hey, nice bike. Where did you get it?”), and returned the bike to it’s owner, William. William ended up riding the STP successfully, making Gay City lots of money to keep us running. Thanks to Elizabeth, we have one of the best stories in Gay City history.

Elizabeth is also beginning a sociological survey to find out from trans women in the area what barriers might be preventing them from getting tested. A survey done last summer found that trans women were much more likely to have never had an HIV test than cis men who have sex with men. Her research will lead to more welcoming testing sites that trans women will want to come to.

“I volunteer at Gay City because I want my community to be healthy,” says Elizabeth, “Queers need to stand together and take care of each other.”

Thanks for everything that you do, Elizabeth!

Past Spotlight: Benito Sanchez

Benito Sanchez has served Gay City as the Lead Resource Volunteer in the Michael C. Weidemann LGBT Library for a year and a half. His enthusiasm and innovation have allowed the Resource Program to grow in new and exciting ways, from expanding our resource website to developing and coordinating our quarterly Gay City 201 workshops. The administrative systems he has developed and implemented during his time here have immensely improved our ability to provide our clients with much needed resources and referrals. Gay City appreciates all of Benito's hard work in the Library and Resource Center, and looks forward to continuing to benefit from his efforts in his new role on the Special Events Volunteer Crew Team. He is simply delightful!

“After my normally busy and sometimes energy draining work day, coming into my volunteer shift in the library is an instant source of re-invigoration," said Benito. "I get to meet the most fascinating people that come in the form of Gay City Staff, Co-volunteers and Patrons. And, my time at Gay City has rewarded me with invaluable friendships."

Thanks for everything you do, Benito!

Past Spotlight: Don Quinitchette

Don is an up and coming volunteer here at Gay City. His service includes our monthly bulk mailings and commitment to seeing our Pride appeal mailing to completion. His dedication of more than 8 hours to the project was exemplary, and he has shown himself to be reliable, efficient and motivated. Don has recently accepted a weekly commitment as a receptionist in the wellness center. The clinic will surely benefit from having him on board.

“Volunteering at Gay City is wonderful! I feel ecstatic to be helping an essential part of an organization that serves Seattle’s gay community with experience, compassion, and professionalism. Additionally, I cannot praise my co-volunteers enough; their patience and friendliness have made me feel welcome. Moreover, volunteering is an excellent and worthwhile way to spend your free time. Whether you are retired and looking for something meaningful to fill your time or trying to find a niche to serve the community-- volunteering at Gay City will enrich your life.”

Thanks for everything you do, Don!

Past Spotlight: Cheri Allen

Cheri Allen has been volunteering with the Michael C. Weidemann LGBT Library at Gay City for 2 1/2 years. Moving quickly into the role of Lead Library Volunteer, Cheri has since grown into an indispensable part of the Library and Resource Programs. Cheri's commitment to the Library is evident in everything she does - from training other volunteers, to managing special projects, to maintaining our card catalog system. Her unfailing good spirits, quick humor, and willingness to tackle any task are inspiring. Cheri often represents Gay City as the face of our Library at local events, and works hard to make connections with authors, other libraries, and literary organizations so that our Library Program can continue to grow. In addition to her work in the Library, Cheri has also branched out into other areas of Gay City, doing anything from special events to co-facilitating volunteer orientations.

“I volunteer with Gay City because I am a big queer nerd and love nothing more than spending hours every week hanging out in the LGBT Library. There are SUCH COOL books in there! It's also nice that all the other volunteers and staff are so fun, and I've made some friends, and getting to chat with the public is really rewarding, but really... my heart belongs to the books. Gay City is a touchstone of Seattle's LGBT community and offers so many amazing services for so many populations. It's an honor to be able to help out here.”

Thanks for everything you do, Cheri!

Past Spotlight: John Bergin

John Bergin volunteers with the Michael C. Weidemann LGBT Library at Gay City, helping to sign up new members, check books in and out, and answer the LGBT Resource and Referral phone line. For the last two months, John has even been filling two shifts a week! He is using the extra time to catch us up on our steady stream of new book donations, and his rock star knowledge of LGBT literature has become an invaluable asset to the Library. His dedication to Gay City and the Library is amazing, and his willingness to work hard is unparalleled.

"Gay City, center of my urban universe. I love that our brand new library provides a much needed LGBT informational resource for our rainbow community. I enjoy meeting all the new faces, and familiar ones, that visit our library. Volunteering for Gay City has been a valuable experience, as has being part of a bigger outreach to all of the community."

Thanks for everything you do, John!

Past Spotlight: Oscar Volunteers

Gay City offers a big Thank You to the dozens of volunteers that stepped up to help make our 7th Annual Academy Awards Party such a fabulous success. On Sunday, Feb 26, hundreds of Gay City and Three Dollar Bill Cinema supporters descended on Seattle Cinerama in their finest attire for an evening of food, fun, and frivolity in honor of the 2012 Academy Awards. We couldn't have pulled it off without the volunteers' generous donation of their time and talents.

Gay City hold many events and fundraisers throughout the year that wouldn't be possible without the efforts of you, our Volunteer Crew. Thank you, Volunteer Crew, for everything you do.

Past Spotlight: Inshaal

A pre-med student, Inshaal enjoys serving the LGBTQ community through Gay City, an experience he finds also provides him with a more holistic view of health and wellness. Inshaal believes that our community stands to gain when we expand our views on diversity as well.

“Volunteering here provides an outlet for me to interact with individuals I might not otherwise and vice versa," says Inshaal. "These experiences enhance our personal growth. Gay Pakistani Muslims and people of color like me are not commonly acknowledged in the gay community. My volunteer work at Gay City shows folks that we do exist and, hopefully, also provides an opportunity to educate people about the misconceptions someone like me is labeled with.”

Thanks for everything you do, Inshaal!

Past Spotlight: Heather Sage

As current Chairperson of the Gay City Board of directors, Heather Sage brings a special passion and vitality to Gay City. Her willingness to consistently go the extra mile is an inspiration to all of us - Board members, staff and volunteers alike.

"I really enjoy giving back to a community that has given so much to me," said Heather. "Serving on the board has been a valuable and rewarding experience, giving me a chance to use my gifts and experience to make a real difference at Gay City. I'm excited about Gay City's growth, and look forward to seeing all sorts of great things in the future."

We're glad to have such an encouraging and capable Board Chairperson in out time of growth and transition, and look forward to all of the wonderful things that Heather brings to Gay City. Thank you for everything you do, Heather!

Volunteer Spotlight: Alyssa Piraino

Alyssa, has proven herself to be a dedicated, meticulous volunteer, and has demonstrated these qualities through her interest in small and large projects alike. In Mid-January she took on the role of Front Desk Lead Volunteer for the Wellness Center and has risen to the challenge fabulously. She has begun coordinating the training schedules for new trainees and will be meeting with individual volunteers for specialized training. She took on the task of implementing the new Wellness Center Volunteer Manual and is continuing to update it as needed. She is a determined person who will do wondrous things for the organization and it will be that tenacity and drive that will be the key components in her successes throughout life.

"I volunteer at Gay City because it's fun to meet new people and make a difference," Alyssa told us. "I like the positive feel and the focus on social justice, growth and community here. So many brave queers before me paved the way for me to be who I am as a young person today and it's the least I can do to give back. And so many people say "That's so cool!" when I tell them what I do here, so it makes me cool."

Thanks for everything you do, Alyssa!

Volunteer Spotlight: George Teasdale

George Teasdale has been events volunteer extraordinaire for Gay City for the past 12 years. He has served tirelessly on both the BUMP Committee and Eden Committee, helping ensure that these anchors of our annual events calendar continue to grow. George has also been very effective in forging connections for Gay City with local businesses, artists and more. Certainly not to be overlooked, George is an accomplished baker and is committed to keeping Gay City staff and volunteers well supplied in delightfully empty calories. His chocolate creations are particularly coveted. Join us at the upcoming Academy Awards Party for a taste of his baking skills.

“We are all part of a community and I enjoy giving back to it," said George, adding, Over the years, I had heard about the important work GCHP had been doing and how it was set up as a community-driven program. I really enjoy working and interacting with positive people with the attitude of “how do we get this done?” and “what is next?” It is like a group of fun friends getting together and MAKING things happen. I am excited about GCHP future!”

Thanks for everything you do, George!

Volunteer Spotlight: Howard Kwong

Howard Kwong is an amazing individual and an invaluable member of the Gay City Team. Howard has volunteered at several of our special events to include our annual Academy Awards Party, where Howard served up some award winning appetizers to our A list guests. He currently works in our new Wellness Center, taking on multiple shifts per week in his role as our Lead Volunteer for both the Data Entry and Receptionist crews. He is highly respected and admired for his technical efficiency and dedication to Gay City. We are grateful to have such an energetically involved and lively member of our team.

“I volunteer for Gay City because I like to help others," said Howard. "Volunteering my time at Gay City is the best way that I know how, because of all the much needed services available here for so many people. My volunteer shifts are always full of laughter and joy with great people and it doesn't seem like work to me. It's more like going to a party!”

Thanks for everything you do, Howard!

Past Spotlight: Kelsey Thomas

Kelsey is a phenomenal volunteer! On-site two days a week, she balances her time between Gay City’s Wellness Center as a member of the reception crew and the LGBT Library Resource Center as deputy librarian. She’s also played a leadership role in Gay City’s Fun Squad, helping organize social activities for volunteers. A Gay City volunteer for over two years, Kelsey exemplifies leadership every day.

"I love volunteering here because I believe in all the hard work that everyone does to provide a safe, beautiful and healthy environment for a community I love and cherish," says Kelsey. "I feel good about spending my time helping people and sharing all the great resources there are in Seattle, and I get to make new friends that have just as much fun as I do. Gay City makes me happy."

Thanks for everything you do, Kelsey.

Past Spotlight: Mike Santovec

Mike Santovec was one of Gay City's longest and most dedicated volunteers, donating his time and efforts here for more then twelve years. Mike was a regular at our monthly Bulk Mail sessions, and had served on on event planning committees for everything from Gay City University to Gay City Forums.

"I volunteer with Gay City," said Mike, "in order to stay connected with my community, as well as to promote the welfare of my community. Gay City is a great place to do that."

We're glad to see such dedication and drive in volunteers such as Mike, because we wouldn't be the Gay City we are without them. Thanks for everything you did, Mike! We'll mis you.

Past Spotlight: Jesse Harris

As a long-time Gay City Library volunteer, Jesse Harris consistently proves his willingness to show up and suit up for Gay City. From cross-training in other areas, to taking on the tasks that others shy away from, Jesse is willing to do it all.

"I volunteer at Gay City because I enjoy the camaraderie and spirit here," said Jesse. "I can get the message out that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. I volunteer in the library because it is an honor to see the volumes of GLBTQ literary works that have been published, and gathered in one place. When I was young and the movement was silent and underground, it was difficult, at best, to be able to lay hands on a fraction of these books."

Thank you for everything you do, Jesse!