One year ago today, I began as Executive Director and CEO of the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, and what a year it has been! In addition to making a cross-country move and learning about a new city and region amid a global pandemic, it was 120 degrees! As I reflect on settling in, I will forever be grateful for this special community’s outpouring of love and welcoming energy — it made all the difference.
I also stepped into big shoes with a team of colleagues who had experienced a lot of change while navigating the impacts of COVID, both professionally and personally. I spent the first several months doing a lot of listening as we collectively charted a course forward. One year in, I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Some of it isn’t very sexy: finishing construction in Palm Springs, our build-out in Coachella, new technology and operational improvements, and waiting months for a new freezer for the Community Food Bank. A bit more exciting was kicking off the season with Center Stage 2021, our holiday wreath auction and food drives, and the very sexy Red Dress/Dress Red! Along the way, I’ve had some wins, made mistakes, and developed more new and meaningful friendships than I can count. The word gratitude doesn’t quite do it justice.
Today, we are stronger and more vital than ever. We have tremendous community support and serve more folks through our programming, behavioral health counseling services, East Coachella Valley youth and family engagement, and the Community Food Bank. In June, we launched a new, modern website and closed our fiscal year in a healthy and strong position, and just last week, we kicked off a comprehensive strategic planning process that will invite voices from all corners of our community to help us be as responsive and relevant as we can, now and in the future. Undoubtedly, there is work ahead, and our country’s challenges can be daunting. Still, we charge ahead, leveraging the collective power and voices of this amazing LGBTQ+ desert community to bring about the impact and change we all deserve.
In celebration of my one-year anniversary here at The Center, I’m asking you to make a donation to ensure that we can continue doing our important work across the Coachella Valley. Now, more than ever, your help is needed, especially as we work to keep our Community Food Bank pantries stocked amid an unprecedented level food insecurity across the region that continues to rise with no end in sight. With your help we can continue to make a difference. Thank you for your consideration. Here’s to many more years of growth here at The Center.