From Program Participant to Chairwoman of the Board: Lyndsey's Story
"Because This is My Community Center" is a regular blog feature profiling the volunteers at Pittsburgh's LGBTQ Community Center. Participants range from front desk staff to fundraisers. This week, we feature the current chair of the organization, Lyndsey Sickler who in her full-time job, is the Coordinator for Homeless Outreach and Youth Services with Persad, a LGBTQ mental health center.
Like the majority of the volunteers profiled so far (and unbeknowst to me), Lyndsey first connected with the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC) as a youth participant in our older youth programming. This reflects a level of investment by young people, including "Generation Y" that isn't often depicted in the media. The GLCC is all volunteer, providing programming 6-7 days a week on a shoestring budget for some of the most vulnerable persons in the region.
Name: Lyndsey Sickler
Tell Us A Little About Yourself: I'm 37 years old, 5'7", Sagittarius ;) and a dedicated community worker in the non-profit field specifically. I work for Persad as the Youth Programs Manager and I am the Director at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. I'm also involved with Hot Metal Hardware, a gender performance troupe and TransPride Pittsburgh. I love to craft ( jewelry, polymer clay painting, occasionally drawing, DIY), play board games and spend time at home with my boyfriend and friends/housemates. I love to read. Stephen King is my favorite author and has been since I read the full unabridged version of The Stand at 15. Tunnels still give me the creeps *L*. I love syfy shows , and crime drama and occasionally I enjoy a good horror movie. ( the cheesier the better)
What Is Your First Memory of the GLCC? My first memory of the GLCC, involves the incessant nagging of a good friend who quite literally changed my life. I was horribly shy and very quiet and slightly shell-shocked after leaving home to go to college ( Chatham). I had been my mothers primary confidant and care giver since I was 9 years old( when she was diagnosed with chronic and progressive MS) and I was trying to coming to terms with my sexual identity and the fall out that created in my life, specifically with my mother. My friend Nicole M. insisted I go check this 'community center place' out, that I'd like it and I could meet other folks like myself. I resisted for a while but then a group that she got me involved with ( Youth Empowerment Project) started going, so I thought I should check it out.
I wasn't disappointed. I was greeted by the friendly GLCC Friday Night volunteers and met a couple of new people and had a great time. It felt like I belonged there immediately. The GLCC ended up being a very important part of my life. Being able to spend time there, meet others like myself, and not be judged helped me be able to love myself for who and how I was/am and helped me connect to the support I needed at the time.
Tell Us About Your Volunteer Work for the GLCC. I have been volunteering at the GLCC off and on for years since I was about 20. Sometimes I just came to help with the mailing parties and eventually got involved with Pride and have remained involved with pride. Sometimes I would volunteer with the GLCC through my work with the University of Pittsburgh and currently Persad Center ( workshops, educational events, and youth parties, picnics and the like). A couple of years ago, after much cajoling by my friend Kat C. I joined the general board. From there I was nominated to the Executive Board and then took the Director's position when the previous Director got an excellent job opportunity out of the country and had to vacate the Director's position.
To read the rest of Lyndsey's interview - including which horror movie star she would invite to the GLCC - please visit their blog.
For more information on how you can support the GLCC (or the Community Center in your region), please click here.