The GLBT Resource Center is temporarily without a home as of December 13th. The Board of Directors is acting swiftly to find a new place for our services and programs. Please stay tuned here and by visiting our webpage or email email@example.com. Thank you for your patience.
Important Information about groups: While we are transitioning to a new space, groups will be meeting at Southside Christian Church at 1329 E Jackson Rd in South Bend. If you are unsure about your group's meeting time or location, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to Southside for allowing us to use their space!
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.... Building a Community Together: The GLBT Resource Center
As published in the February issue of Michiana's Rainbow Gazzette
Not long ago, the gay community in Michiana seemed nonexistent. Young people just coming out of the closet had no one to turn to and likely did not know many, if any, other gay people. Gay and lesbian adults had few options for connecting and socializing other than a couple bars or nightclubs. Anyone searching for GLBT-related books and educational material had to settle for the two or three shelves of gay-oriented information at Barnes and Noble, or travel to Chicago or Indianapolis. Simply put, there was no gay community. Instead there were just a lot of isolated gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals longing for a way to connect with others who understood and accepted them.
Building a Community
On August 3rd, 2004, acting upon a dream, two individuals who loved books and a good cup of coffee, opened the doors of Another Bookstore. It was to serve as the region’s only Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender (GLBT) consumer-based bookstore. Before Another Bookstore opened in Mishawaka’s historic 100 Center, the closest place these services and products were available was Chicago or Indianapolis.
Very soon after opening, it became apparent that members of the GLBT community in Michiana were searching for support, resources and meeting places that were not otherwise readily available. A year and half later in March 2006, responding to this need, Another Bookstore was dissolved into the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. A new location (also in the 100 Center), which offered more flexible meeting space, was obtained before a change in leadership occurred in July 2007 when the Center’s founders stepped down and handed the reins to the Board of Directors.
A Symbiotic Effort
The GLBT Resource Center was a safe, supportive and affirming atmosphere for all gay, lesbian, bi and transgender individuals. The Center provided meeting space for men’s, women’s, youth, and transgender support groups. There were social groups, concerts, free testing and events hosted at and by the Resource Center, but as much as the gay community relied on the GLBT Resource Center, so also the Center relied on the community.
The Board of Directors, management, committees, and staff are completely comprised of volunteers. Everyone working at and for the Resource Center got involved because they see the need in our community and they believe the Center is an integral part of meeting that need. Additionally, the majority of the Center’s funding comes from the local community in the form of donations.
Financial struggle is somewhat the nature of the beast when it comes to nonprofit organizations, especially young organizations. The Resource Center is no exception. The Center had been behind in rent payments for several months, and while various members of the community did donate enough for a couple payments, it was not enough to bring the rent current.
Members of the Board made several efforts to speak to the landlords and reach an agreement. However, the original proprietors of Another Bookstore/GLBT Resource Center were still the named tenants on the lease, and the landlords were unwilling to communicate with the Board of Directors.
December 13, 2007 was a sad day for the GLBT community in Michiana. After three years, the area’s only gay, lesbian, bi and transgender bookstore and community resource center was forced to close its doors. There was no warning and its closing left many in our community scratching their heads. The GLBT Resource Center of Michiana had served as an invaluable refuge for many people who either had nowhere else to turn or simply did not know where to seek help and support.
Planning to Begin Again
Though the Resource Center has been closed for over a month, it is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of many. The youth group (QueerOut), the Michiana Transgender Alliance and the men’s group are all still meeting. The Board of Directors is very active, meeting, planning and looking for a new home. However, before the Center can commit to a new lease, there must be stability.
In order to make the Center viable for the future, money is needed to pay for rent, services, upkeep and staff. In order to meet that need, the Board of Directors has implemented an aggressive fundraising campaign. Their plan is to raise $52,000 a year for the next three years (2008, 2009 and 2010) in the form of pledges and donations from community individuals and businesses. Resource Center directors hope that after establishing a three year track record, they will be able to secure permanent funding from members, national sources, community grants, local support and events funding.
A Call to Action
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can be certain Caesar wasn’t the only person doing the building. It takes time and patience, but most importantly, it takes people. Building a community requires cooperation, sharing and participation. The Resource Center cannot exist without the support of the community it serves, and as such, the volunteers who serve the Center and the GLBT community are asking for help. Together, we can build a community.
Anyone interested in making a pledge for the coming year(s) to assist in rebuilding the Resource Center is encouraged to contact Board Member Hank Mascotte via email at email@example.com or Tricia Wainscott, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Resource Center is prepared to provide a range of giving options, including checks, credit cards and direct billing. Donations may also be mailed to:
GLBT Resource Center
P.O. Box 992
Mishawaka, IN 46546
Please make checks out to: GLBT Resource Center of Michiana. Donations are tax-deductible.
For information about group meeting times and locations:
Please visit us online at www.glbtmichiana.org.
Call: 574.254.1411 for more info.
- Status: Single
- Zodiac Sign: Cancer
2004 - 2006
- Mishawaka, IN US
GLBT Resource Center of Michiana
2006 - Present
- Mishawaka, IN US