My Mark Maddox
As I sit to write this, I can hear the pitter-patter of rain dancing on the window and am reminded of my first year volunteering at San Diego Pride. I was taking tickets during a downpour at the festival in 2015 and eight years later I am beyond grateful to work with amazing Pride volunteers every day. As we enter a new year, there is the opportunity to set intentions for the year and recommit to those things that matter to us and our community.
Connecting with my community and my legacy is my focus for this year. Saturday would have been my great-grandmother Lorraine’s 96th birthday. For decades she volunteered as a poll worker and supported the disability community. My GeeGee implored me to be civically engaged — research the issues and candidates, advocate for your values, and VOTE. In 2024 I implore all of us to heed her advice. Her shining example instilled in my family, me, and countless others to do impactful work and meet great people along the way.
The Mayo Clinic shares research that volunteering offers significant health benefits. These include: improving physical and mental health, providing a sense of purpose and valuable skills, and nurturing new and existing relationships.
Volunteering at San Diego Pride introduced me to much of my chosen family and lifelong friends – an experience that is not unique. I thank friends and leaders like thirty-year volunteer Cheli Mohamed and volunteer festival co-manager Randy Pittman, who is starting his 26th year of service. I thank the thousands of volunteers across our five-decade history whose work makes San Diego Pride what it is now. I hope to be like all of these amazing humans when I grow up.
San Diego Pride’s year-round work is made possible by thousands of volunteers. Volunteers lead our community programs like Art of Pride, She Fest, Pride Military Program, and QAPIMEDA. Volunteers engage in nearly 2,000 shifts during Pride week in support of the rally, parade, and festival. Volunteers support our education and advocacy efforts through our outreach, Civic Action Team, Vote with Pride, and Pride Power Summit programs. Nearly 150 volunteer leaders are committed to the work throughout the year and participate in our Pride Leadership Meetings planning our signature events and receiving impactful, intentional training. This work requires a diversity of skills, talents, and time and we invite you to join us.
As you set your intentions and goals for 2024, please consider volunteering at San Diego Pride. There are many ways to volunteer with Pride and we can’t wait to work with you soon! Visit sdpride.org/volunteer to learn more. Above all, find ways to meaningfully support and give back to our community.