Can you believe it's already been one year since COVID changed the world?
It has affected so many in the LGTBQ+ community and we've been inspired by the resilience that so many have shown.
The needs of our community over the course of this year have grown exponentially due to the COVID crisis and we are working tirelessly to meet all of them.
When our physical campus shutdown we immediately began calling on our most vulnerable members to make sure their food, safety, and security needs were met. And now, one year later, we’re assisting with vaccine appointments for many of these same people.
We’ve also become a digital campus. In one year, we’ve hosted over 700 virtual groups and events with nearly 12,000 participants, including those around the country and globe who are able to connect virtually to our LOFT community!
We’ve also expanded our advocacy and outreach programs making sure that our voices are heard at every level of government, and that we are reaching and serving our most underrepresented.
As we prepare to re-open our physical campus, making sure safety protocols are in place for in-person groups, services, and events, we also recognize the necessity of having a digital campus for those still isolated.
We’re working on both and would like to share with you how The LOFT staff is working to ensure these needs, services, and programs are being met:
Scott Havelka (He/Him/His), Deputy Director of The LOFT is responsible for the oversight of both the physical and digital campuses. His years of experience working with the LGBTQ+ community have proven to be invaluable during this year of change and he will continue to ensure that all of our services and programs are seamlessly delivered.
Shepard Verbas (They/Them/Theirs), Director of Programs and Services is responsible for the oversight of The LOFT’s programming and services. Their experience in rolling out new programs like Rebuilding Rainbows, the center’s intimate partner violence program, and years of community building with the TGNCNB communities, including the scholarship program TransMission, has been important to the success of our organization.
Ryan Kirrane (He/Him/His), Community Engagement Manager is responsible for leading our advocacy efforts, and engaging with our volunteers and members. Ryan’s participation in key advocacy organizations like RISE OUT, Equality NY, NYTAG, and others will ensure that our community’s needs are heard and addressed.
Mia Edwards (She/Her/Hers), Case Manager of PROUDWST Me, manages the program designed to deliver link-to-services, assistance, and personal empowerment to the Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Non-Binary communities. Mia oversees the day-to-day operations of the program which has been successful in reaching members of the BIPOC communities.
Kira Lingala (She/Her/Hers), Peer Navigator of PROUDWST Me, works in assisting member clients with a variety of needs related to HIV/STI testing, finding trans-affirming healthcare, and more. Kira is also a staff writer of The LOFT’s Community Blog and joined The LOFT in May of 2020 and has participated in special events raising awareness of the intersection of social justice movements and LGBTQ+ identities.
Jeffrey Guard (He/They, Him/Them, His/Theirs), Media and Marketing Specialist is responsible for managing The LOFT’s digital platform used to connect and engage with thousands of online community members. Jeffrey joined The LOFT in late May 2020 and played a key role in developing our online programming for Westchester Pride and The LOFT’s 2020 Forward Together Gala. Jeffrey is also the editor for The LOFT's Community Blog.
Please consider making a donation to help us maintain our digital campus that is helping the thousands of people who are suffering from isolation. Donate, so we can continue to fight for equity and equality and demand that lawmakers address our community’s needs. Donate, so we can help provide fundamental needs to our most vulnerable community members.
Thank you for giving. We’re in this together and we are so deeply grateful for everything you do to support the mission and work of The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center.
Judy Troilo (She/Her/Hers)