Written by Nicholas Vargas
A memory came up in my Facebook newsfeed today. It reminded me that a year ago today a small group of Visalians met in the conference room of my church to discuss the IDEA of an LGBT center in Visalia. The idea was that of my best friend, Brian Poth. Brian and I had been friends for just under a year, but we quickly bonded over a shared experience of having returned to our home town after going away to college, having successful careers, and then returning to be with family. When Brian brought up the idea, I was all for it. But it wasn't until this meeting that I saw the energy and enthusiasm that would make it a reality. Fast forward a year later, not only have has theSOURCE LGBT+ Center been open almost a year, but we have grown and thrived to the point of needing to expand and I am now the Board Chair.
The Source is located in Montgomery Square on Main Street in downtown Visalia. We are fortunate to have this space. Our landlord, William Martin, was very generous with the lease. About a month ago, our next door office-neighbors heard we needed to expand and offered to move the vacant spot next to them, so that we could take over their space. Every step of the way, theSOURCE has been blessed with support from the community. It's a community driven effort.
This move will double the space of The Source. We will go from 400 square feet to 800 square feet. It will allow us to have more people in the space, more room for youth groups, recovery groups, support groups, resources, and social space. We just need to be able to fund it. We estimate the increase in rent and expense will be $5000. We created a crowd funding request on Crowdrise. We have raised nearly $3100 from individual donors and one corporate sponsor. We have almost $1900 to go. We can do it with your support. We are in the process of applying for grants and have key fundraisers planned later this year. However, right now, we are still relying on the generosity of the community and individuals.
Please consider making an investment in the LGBT community in Tulare County. Every donation is an act of progress and a vote for inclusion.