I am an alumni of the University of Massachusetts/Boston and worked as a pediatric, psychiatric nurse throughout my career. I moved from Massachusetts to Wilmington, NC in 2015 with my longtime partner and pup. I have worked and volunteered in many settings with at-risk youth throughout my life.
One of the things that was missing when I was younger and defining my own identity was any visibility whatsoever of the LBGTQIA+ community. I felt like I had to be insincere and inauthentic to be accepted by my family and by my friends. As an out and proud adult, I feel as though it takes a village to raise queer kids because of all the stigma and pushback our community receives. I want to be a member of that village to help kids feel validated in how they identify even when some of the most important people in their lives don’t or won’t attempt to understand. I want them to have a place where they can be appreciated for their unique talents and not bullied for just being themselves. I want them to feel love and to feel like things do get better and there are people and places who will support them. I also want to help them find their peers, their tribe, and explore what it means to be LGBTQIA+ in a safe space. Being a co-founder and co-facilitator of the Wilmington Pride Youth Group has been a labor of love that has given me the privilege to see the most isolated teens find friends, feel supported and blossom in ways difficult to describe. We have met weekly for just over 5 years now. One of the greatest accomplishments was to be approached by the LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast (formerly, the Frank Harr Foundation) to join in their efforts and goals on behalf of the LGBTQIA + community in our area. The Wilmington Pride Youth Group is now a program of the LGBTQ Center.
I am currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors at the Center. I am honored to be a part of this organization and I truly feel like we’re enriching the lives of those who take part in the resources it has to offer. May we continue to effectively reach those who can most benefit from our programs and services.