(Member of the QTYC and CSUMB)
“The Our Gente program has given me so much. As a continuous space for queer people, I feel like I am home when I am working with fellow QTYC members or with other queer community members. Being a part of the QTYC and Our Gente has made me realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be- with my community and doing the things I love. Our Gente has shown me how important queer visibility is to our community and I hope that Our Gente continues to grow and share it’s beautiful power with queer people all around.”
(CSUMB student and member of the Queer Trans Youth Collective (QTYC))
“The QTYC has given me a sense of self and community. Through this program, I have learned what it truly means to be confident and proud of my queerness.”
(A Salinas High School student volunteer)
“My brother Guillermo brought me here. I was always at home being picked up early and not hanging out with my friends. I would always feel bad about leaving my friends behind. The Epicenter gave me more confidence in talking and speaking my mind. The center has helped me break out of my shyness and made me a lot more positive than before.”
(Drop-in Center Youth)
The Epicenter of Monterey has impacted me in different ways I personally am not a foster child but I fully support what the center is doing and their message is read loud and clear if I had never been introduced to the wonderful staff there I probably would never have known about the amazing people that take time out of their day to just help the foster youth. The center is not just a safe place for you to escape criticism and bad influences, but a place where you’re always welcome.
The Youth Council is a team of youth ages 16-24 working out of the Epicenter to promote the visibility of the center and outreach to other youth in our community. Working in small groups of two to five we organize events and coordinate community outreach programs such as our Healthy Hike and Art Night, as well as support the day-to-day activities at the Epicenter. We strive to create an environment where local youth feel accepted and supported, and through those relationships connect them to appropriate resources and services at the Epicenter.
“As a member of the youth council, I feel that I’ve gained a lot and learned a lot. I think that being a member of not only the youth council but also the Epicenter team has given me good experience working one on one with people as well as the feeling of being a part of something bigger. Being able to help and give back to the community is a great feeling that comes with a position here.”
“I am excited about the Youth Council because it will provide me with some job experience that will help me flourish in my future career. I am also excited to learn how to communicate better with others and come out of my shell.”
MAYA A. LIRA
“I am super excited to recruit new members to the Youth Council program and get involved in various ways. Also so super happy to work with wonderful people, and all work together not only as a team but also as a family.”
“I like Youth Council because it’s fun to coordinate other events for youth. I’m excited to continue working with youth and see new faces here at the Epicenter.”