By Gus Hernandez
The San Diego LGBT Community Center has been serving the community for over 50 years, working to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of the gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, nonbinary, immigrant, and HIV communities to the betterment of our entire San Diego region. As one of the largest and most vibrant LGBTQ+ community centers in the country, we rely on our dedicated volunteers to achieve our mission. Whether you’re passionate about advocacy, youth services, housing, or community events, there are opportunities for everyone to get involved.
Volunteering is a powerful way to make a positive impact. By giving your time and skills, you contribute to creating a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ individuals and their families. Here are some reasons why volunteering at The Center is meaningful:
- Supporting the Community: Volunteering allows you to directly support programs and services that benefit LGBTQ youth, seniors, people living with HIV, our transgender and nonbinary community, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, and other vulnerable members of our community.
- Meeting New People: The Center has over 800 volunteers, some of whom volunteer weekly, while others participate in large events. It’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals and expand your social circle.
- Giving Back: Volunteering provides an opportunity to give back to a community that has faced historical challenges and continues to fight for equality and acceptance.
We have some great volunteer opportunities coming up in 2024. Save the date for the Red Hot Dance for queer women, which will take place on February 10th! We need volunteers for event set-up, clean up, and more. In March, volunteers will help raise the Transgender Flag for Transgender Day of Visibility. And in April, The Center will need volunteers to serve as ambassadors for our annual Dining Out for Life San Diego fundraiser, where generous restaurants donate a portion of their sales to support HIV services and prevention programs at The Center. Year-round, we have volunteer opportunities at our two monthly Food Banks, where our community can get access to nutritious food.
The process to become an official Center volunteer can take 4-6 weeks, so be sure to sign up to volunteer right away if you want to get involved in 2024. We ask that you go through our volunteer application process to ensure that we are creating a safe space for our community.
How to Get Involved
To apply to volunteer at The Center, you must meet the following requirements.
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Fill out the Volunteer Application Form at https://thecentersd.org/volunteer/
- Attend a 2-hour volunteer orientation
- Complete a background check, including fingerprinting and clearance of Megan’s Law
No Application Required: Volunteer for Fundraisers, Advocacy, and Elections
There are some opportunities that don’t require going through the application process, because you will be working under direct supervision and will not be primarily interacting with vulnerable populations like LGBTQ+ youth. These opportunities include joining the FACE Team (Fierce Advocacy & Civic Engagement) to get out the vote for the March 5 California Primary Election or serving as an ambassador for Dining Out For Life® San Diego.
Dining Out For Life® San Diego
Don’t miss The Center’s annual Dining Out For Life® San Diego! Each year, more than 80 restaurants, bars, coffee houses, and nightclubs donate a minimum of 25% of sales to The Center’s HIV/AIDS service and prevention programs. Volunteer Ambassadors are assigned a shift at a breakfast, lunch, or dinner location and they invite everyone they know to dine at their location and conduct fundraising at their assigned restaurant. This is a great opportunity for groups! No application required. https://thecentersd.org/dofl/
Fierce Advocacy & Civic Engagement/Voter Engagement
Join the FACE Team, one of our most vibrant and fun departments! If you love to be in community, join us for one of our phone banking opportunities to remind community members of upcoming elections, encouraging them to vote. We also host fun trivia nights and other social events. Because we are bipartisan, we do not tell people how to or who to vote for. No application required. https://thecentersd.org/FACE
The San Diego LGBT Community Center, in partnership with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, hosts two food banks per month to address food insecurity in the LGBTQ community. Volunteers work alongside staff to prepare and distribute food items to community members.
Volunteering at The San Diego LGBT Community Center is not just about giving time; it’s about making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ individuals. Join us in creating a more inclusive and supportive community!
For more information, visit The Center’s website at https://thecentersd.org