Hola lovelies, I’m truly sorry I haven’t made an update to my personal page in quite some time, about a year now with no updates… That will be changing, as 2017 has been a truly exciting and busy year thus far, and I have lots to share with y’all!
I’m sitting here at home still in shock, for the past few months I’ve been in talks with a brick and mortar non-profit organization that serves the greater community, and now I feel I can share some good news, since they called me as I drove home from to confirm my new and exciting role. As many of you know I’ve been working as a VA Contractor for the past two years on the West LA VA’s HUD-VASH Program over at Volunteers of America LA as a Peer Support Specialist and as of the end of 2016, I made the hearbreaking decison to step down from being the President of the Greater LA Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights to focus on my housing and employment needs. Becoming a Homeless Veteran in 2015 was unexpected and an experience that has helped me in my career in advocating for LGBT Veterans.
Well it’s now official that as of this Fri, I will be starting a new chapter in this journey we call life. I have been asked to serve and after a formal interview by their Board of Directors last month, I’ve been approved to serve as the newest member of the Board of Directors for the San Fernando Valley Counseling Center. I’m still in disbelief that this is happening. This will be my first time working in an executive capacity with a brick and mortar non-profit that is also main stream. (Served as an advisor for a pilot program with 211LA several years ago, which I’m not counting) Since my coming out to LA in Nov 2007, I would have never expected I would be here. Also as a Veteran that has dealt with unemployment, homelessness, coping with combat-related PTSD, discrimination for being openly gay, and all of which had prevented me from not being able to finish my formal education; but has a passion for serving my community. This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I foresee many more doors open for me in the near and distant future. Since moving to LA without a job ssvf living on a friends couch, I’ve worked tirelessly against all odds to carve out my spot in LA’s Leather, LGBT and Veteran Communities serving on several local, regional, and national grassroots organization’s boards and advisory committees. Experiences that have made me the man I am today and have made this opportunity happen.
Someday, I’ll be able to finish my education and want to earn my MSW, but at the same time I want to serve my community not only from a clinical standpoint, but as a peer advocate, a role that is commonly overlooked. I’m lookoing forward to putting my skills in Non-Profit Board & Policy Development, Fundraising, and Marketing that I learned from these grassroots organizations (SGVVEC, SoCalVEC, AVER National, AVER-GLA, LA-SPI, ONYX-SW and LALC) to propel the mission of San Fernando Valley Counseling Center. I’m definitely looking forward to my first meeting with them, in my new role, later this week. I’m also looking forward to whatever new and exciting opportunities the universe lands at my feet.
On a side note, last Oct I adopted my best friend, Marcee from No Kill LA; who I’m training as my PTSD Service Dog. She has been a godsend and my life has forever been changed for the better. You find pictures of her on my IG and FB and she has her own hashtag #MarceeThePit. Also another bit of good news, I’m getting married. Shortly after adopting Marcee, my ex, the Muscle Cub and I started talking again and we decided that we were both getting too old for dating games, and that we are a perfect match, more about him and Marcee in future posts.
For now I leave you with this. Don’t give up on things when life takes a turn and you feel like the walls are closing in. Look at me from an uneducated homeless gay man to a non-profit executive that has an influential voice in the greater LA Region. Not saying everyone listens, but dammit I have a community to represent and will speak for those who have unheard and/or underheard voices. We live in scary times, especially for LGBT and minorities, we have to stand up fight for our rights and beliefs.