My Experience with the Center’s Get Centered Tour
By: Juli Avila
I have felt very lost this year. Time has been ticking by very slowly from not knowing where to go. Ever since I decided to take a break from college, my mind has been drawing a blank. COVID-19 has caused me to really think about what I want to do with my life while being quarantined at home. When the pandemic first started, I did not have a job and I decided to continue living with my parents. Before that, I was living the life attending school in Santa Barbara, being independent and taking the bus to get my own groceries. Adult life was something I have always been scared about but living with that sense of freedom made the days feel lighter.
Now, every day has felt much heavier and the claustrophobia is something that has been difficult to handle. I knew I needed to take my mind off from reality but that was never going to be the case. My heart kept telling me that I needed to educate myself with the truth of the world. This pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have truly opened my eyes to what I can do, even just sitting at home behind a computer screen. I continued to donate to charities and sign petitions and that alone gave me purpose that I can actually make a difference. Any act of kindness and love goes a long way. Being a Communications major, I am always trying to find effective ways to improve interpersonal relationships with people I meet. That has been a struggle due to this virus, but I am grateful I have been able to get involved with the Sacramento LGBT Center.
When I first discovered the Center, I was in the process of figuring out what colleges I wanted to transfer to after the pandemic ended. I was really interested in what CSUS had to offer for my major and what extracurricular took place on campus. The PRIDE Center really is what caught my attention, because it has always been a goal of mine to become a part of the LGBT student life while in college. I researched what other non-profits were in the area and that’s when I came across the Center. Their mission about creating a region where LGBTQ+ people thrive inspired me to get involved. I was able to become a Center Ambassador after meeting with Ariela Cuellar, Community Engagement and Marketing Strategist at the Center. It felt amazing to meet someone who held the same interests and passions toward people under the queer umbrella. She informed me about attending a Get Centered Tour to learn more about the Center’s mission, programs and services. I could not wait to attend a tour in the comfort of my own home since they host them virtually!
The Get Centered Tour was very eye-opening and made me feel like I could contribute so much to the Center’s mission. The entire event was well-organized and proceeded smoothly as each video was shown. I especially enjoyed the portion of what the new Center building looks like and what services are provided there. It made my heart soar to know that there are many opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet and to not feel discouraged about the future. Hearing stories from many people who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community and who are allies really gives you a better perspective that you are never alone in your journey. I may not be from the Sacramento area, but that has not stopped me from learning more about how I can give back to those who might need some positive light in their lives. Being a Center Ambassador is such a great opportunity for anyone who wants to network and meet need faces in the community. Coming from a small town, there has never been any resources for me or my peers who might have struggled discovering who they want to become in the future. If you may be in that same position, it is never too late to reach out and talk to someone who will be there for you. The Sacramento LGBT Community Center is a great place to start and they will always be there for you with open arms!