Ten years can fly by, but the growth and assistance the Center provides doesn’t go unnoticed. The staff is busy preparing for their 10 Year Anniversary Gala on October 10th, but they took some time to talk with us about their history, its growth, and their goals for the future.
Tell our readers a little about the history of the Center.
In 2011 the Center opened its doors to serve the North San Diego County Queer community. The founder, Max Disposti, has been a leader in the LGBTQ community since 2007, and worked on coalition building and collaboration which eventually led to the opening of the Center. Pride By the Beach and many other activities brought visibility in North County since 2008 when the campaign for Prop 8 and marriage Equality mobilized thousands of people in Oceanside.
What was the drive behind founding the center?
To create visibility and representation for our community was our first goal. However, we realized that we needed to provide services and resources to a community that felt unseen, broken, and invisible.
The Center has grown so much in resources offered. What can people expect when they visit?
Everything, and we mean it, everything. It is a place where people come to find refuge, emotional support and advocacy. We provide free mental health through the only behavioral health in North County that is run by Queer people. We connect youth to housing through our program of Unicorn Homes but also do family reunification when possible. We provide food and financial support to those in need, we advocate for youth in their schools, and we help youth build their GSA clubs. We help our Trans community in many different ways through support groups, legal name changes, and policy changes within many insurance companies. We represent and advocate for our Intersex community and educate others on our diversities. We have trained different law enforcement agencies, hospitals, youth providers, schools and government institutions. The people that come through our doors find a team of dedicated people that helps them thrive. From survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking to family abuse, we are here for all. There is nothing that we do not do, and when we can’t, we make sure we refer people out to trusted partners.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Center’s ability to stay open?
The Center stayed physically opened throughout the pandemic. We protected ourselves but we continued to serve one by one and by appointment. We experienced an increase in demand for services of over 300%. We help seniors shop for food, we distributed food and we provided emotional support every single day.
Celebrating 10 years, what new dreams and goals do you have for the Center?
We know we will be experiencing more growth in the next decade. But we need a bigger Center that accommodates our growth. We would like to see an increase in our medical services but also an overall support for our homeless and unstable youth through the creation of transitional. Ultimately, we aim to truly serve our North County region.
The big celebration takes place October 10, what can attendees look forward to during the gala?
The Gala is always an opportunity to gather and network. After nearly two years of silence, it will be nice to get together and celebrate with food, elected officials, and fun entertainment. We will share our successes and our stories but also our challenges and why we are seeking the support. Lastly, we will require proof of vaccinations to make sure everyone will feel safe to participate.
How can people support the center?
There are so many ways of course. Donating is the first and more direct way to support our programs. However, connecting our Center with the right people is another way for us to grow. We are working for a greater capital for the purchase of a new space that will require a lot of financial resources and efforts. We are open to what our community will bring us.
For tickets and more information on the October 10th gala, please visit NCResourceCenter.org