It started with an idea – a community meeting where 30 people showed up and a fundraiser that exceeded the $ 5,000 target.
Founders Brian Poth and Nick Vargas felt the need for a place where people like them could feel at home.
“When I grew up here in the early ’90s, I knew I was different from other boys.” explains Nick. “Having a center for Nick back when he was 13-14 would change my life.”
The 4,000-square-foot space at historic Oval in Visalia is an upgrade from the basement where they previously operated on Main Street.
Community support and funding made it possible to expand.
“I think it says a lot about the fact that there is a need here. The campus is full every day of the week, we have over 44 programs,” says Brian.
The programs aim to provide support, free counseling and community events.
Through school visits, the Youth Program reaches hundreds of students on more than 30 campuses.
Erica Hawkyard, Youth Program Officer, says, “They are still repulsed, but they are not afraid to tell the truth, to support themselves, and all we are doing is supporting this effort.”
The Source says that they have reached over 50,000 people personally since they started and millions more on social networking platforms.
“This is the 5 million people who hear a message about equality, LGBTQ news,” says Nick.
Brian and Nick tell Action News that the importance of their program is in the lives they influence.
Nick shares, “I see people’s lives being saved. I made people stop me on the streets to say, ‘Thank you, because without the support I found at The Source, I would not be here.’
Their resources are for anyone who goes through their doors. For resources, details and events, visit them Website.
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The Source LGBT+ Center Visalia providing resources for LGBT+ community members of all ages Source link The Source LGBT+ Center Visalia providing resources for LGBT+ community members of all ages