~ From James Robinson, Executive Director of GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services (reposted from Facebook.)
Today’s spotlight is on one of our volunteers … Ashley Ross is completing her Master’s in Social Work degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Ashley first met with me about 9 months ago to discuss the possibility of an internship placement with the agency. I knew there was something special about Ashley when she showed up in December, a month early for her internship placement, and began volunteering. Since then I have learned some amazing things about Ashley and her dedication to social work and her support of equality and social justice. Ashley is our first intern from UA and I later found out she had worked for 2 years within her department to secure a placement with our agency. Last week as Ashley received the Margaret S. Odom Social Work Award from the Alabama Gerontological Society I learned that Ashley had based her submission for the award on an encounter she had with a gay man in a Senior Center program where she was working. This gay man shared his life story with Ashley and his story touched her heart. His decades of struggle with acceptance and subsequent drug abuse made Ashley keenly aware of the need for our senior community members to receive support from the community. I cannot tell you how proud and honored I was when Ashley received this award. Through the presenter’s comments about Ashley’s submission she was able to bring the entire focus of the approximately 150 service providers on the needs of the LGBT senior community! I suspect this was a 1st at the Alabama Gerontological Society Awards luncheon! Our agency was also once again recognized state-wide for the amazing services we provide with your support.
Ashley’s kind generous spirit and her love for her friends who are part of the LGBT community have enabled her to give much more to our agency and community than an internship. She finished her required hours long ago but she still comes in daily and functions more as my Administrative Assistant than an intern. She has organized our entire office, serves as the heart of our grant-writing team, brings me food when she knows I have not stopped to eat, reminds me of all my community commitments, and basically keeps us moving forward while I juggle things to keep a roof over our heads and our doors open.
Your recurring monthly donation makes you a daily partner with Ashley and dozens of others who serve our community simply because it is the right thing to do. With are currently faced with the serious problem of possibly no longer having an office which serves our entire community. I am asking you to commit to a recurring monthly donation so that we can in turn commit to lease an office where we can securely serve our community for at least a year without worrying about another sudden move.
I am asking for all us of at the agency because we do not know what we are going to do when our current space is leased by someone else and I’ve been notified this is likely to happen soon. Friends have offered storage space but I can’t accept that the more than 200 hours of volunteer work each week helping others will simply come to a sudden stop. You would understand completely if you could see all the people who come to us or contact us for help and the joy people have when they see the LGBT community has a safe space of our own. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter today by visiting our Razoo site and signing up! Your gift is helping us change our community.
You can DONATE here: http://www.razoo.com/story/Glbtays