GLSEN Richmond’s Annual Business Meeting Shows Promise for the LGBT Youth Support Group
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) Richmond chapter has been busy the last couple of months. Their list of priorities since June has extended from fundraising, business meetings, to setting up volunteer work for this year’s Vegetarian Festival.
GLSEN Richmond gathered last month for their annual formal business meeting in a conference room at the Gay Community Center of Richmond. The meeting was important in determining the officers and board of directors for the upcoming year. John Leppo, GLSEN RVA’s chair, was jubilant with the particularly large influx of people who applied for the board positions, which will allow expansion, and a closer relationship with the youth in the area.
“It was very exciting…We hope to have, for example, a much more closer relationship with the Gay Straight Alliance clubs in the schools,” said Leppo. But with the addition of six GSA clubs to their list last year without enough liaisons to look over them, their relationship had, “become distant and not quite as personal.” Leppo hopes to avoid this.
LGBT organizations all over the United States did a series of lead up email plans and fundraising activities to culminate money for the first ever Give Out Day, a national LGBT fundraising day, back on May 9th, 2012. Leppo thinks GLSEN Richmond chapter did okay, accumulating about $500, but also comments on his hopes for the involvement of Virginia based LGBT organizations and how advertisement of the event was slacking.
“I think Equality Virginia was the only other Virginia organization (to support us)…I’m hoping that that will also take off too…I think they publicized it enough in new media, but they didn’t really make it into publications…I think we did pretty well considering.”
“Unlike many of these nonprofits we don’t have a lot of these real quick come out and paint a fence in the afternoon type projects,” said Leppo when referring to the troubles of acquiring volunteers. “We either have the type that require a lot of commitment…[Or] people don’t feel comfortable coming in and working as a volunteer at the tent because they feel they don’t know enough about GLSEN. But it’s really about being friendly.”
Founded in 2001, GLSEN Richmond is one of the oldest chapters of the all-volunteer national organization GLSEN, an education network which seeks to ensure the safety of all students, gay and straight, in the greater Richmond Metropolitan Area and Central Virginia.
GLSEN Richmond is an all volunteer organization, meaning the staff is without pay, so they largely rely on volunteer work to carry out services, programs and activities the organization has lined up. If you are eager to sign up and help the cause, there’s an event coming up as soon as this Saturday at the Richmond Vegetarian Festival.
Richmond’s chapter has also involved itself in local policy change and statewide legislative concerns for the LGBT community. Working alongside other organizations and religious groups through the Richmond Safe Schools Coalition, they seek inclusion of gender-identity and sexual orientation in anti-bullying policies of local schools. Right now, of all the counties in Virginia, only Henrico has put this policy into effect.
With the new surge of interest in board member volunteers, and liaisons, GLSEN Richmond seems to be on the right track to having the resources to promote, plan, and execute programming that will positively impact Richmond’s LGBT identified youth and their allies, inside schools and out. For more information about Richmond GLSEN programming or how you can get involved click here.
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