Looking back on the past two years, Gloria tells us that the pandemic was very hard on her. As is the case with many, she lost access to community in a space that affirmed and made her feel safe and welcome. She longed for when she would be able to return to The 519 in person and be among friends, among community. She missed volunteering her time at various programs and events and giving back.
With the return of Green Space Festival in 2022, Gloria was offered the position of Lead Volunteer. She immediately said yes. Ably managing a team of volunteers, she welcomed our communities back into our space. In recognition of her leadership as Team Lead, she received an award at the 2022 Volunteer Appreciation Night.
“Volunteering is not just a great way to stay connected, but to also learn, grow, and give back. When you give to community, you get back. By volunteering, I give my community the chance to get to know me. And when I need support, my community is always there to help me.”
Life has come full circle for Gloria, and like her, we’d love for that to happen for all the LGBTQ+ refugees and newcomers that walk through our doors. Gloria affirms that it is important to support LGBTQ+ newcomers and refugees, now more than ever.
“Personally for me, the life I loved and enjoyed changed overnight. I had to start all over again. I was broken and depressed. The 519 gave me community and ways to cope. Programs supporting LGBTQ+ newcomers and refugees are important. I will advocate for it over and over again.
A huge milestone now behind her, Gloria is looking forward to becoming a permanent resident, going back to school to study nursing, meeting her mum, and hopefully finding someone to share her life with.
Gloria, you are loved and seen. Shine bright like a diamond!