Monday afternoon, while taking a short break at work, I noticed a Facebook post by the GLBT Center of Denver. The post read that volunteer orientation would be later that day at 6pm. I usually get off work at 4:30. So, plenty of time to dwell on it and worry about every possible outcome if I decided whether I wanted to go, right?
I have a tendency to worry. But, I have been looking to do some kind of volunteering. My social anxiety is subsiding. And I want to give back to the place that has helped me so much over the last year and a half.
So, I decided to go.
Going in, I really had no clue what I could do for the Center. But, I figured if they didn’t have anything for me, I could at least use the opportunity to test my social anxiety. Off the top of my head, the only volunteering I’ve seen people do on site is the front desk. My former roommate did some of that at one point. But, I don’t think I’m ready for that. It pays to understand your limitations.
I got there an hour early. So, I sat in the truck catching up on the days news. At about 5:45pm, I decided to go in. The lady at the front desk remembered me, even though we don’t really know each other’s names. I explained that I was there for the volunteer orientation. She told me I was the first one to arrive.
I decided to go use the restroom. My hands tend to get a little dirty in this job. And one of the truck’s windows won’t go up. So, my hair needed some help. When I came back out, another familiar face had arrived. One of the other young ladies from group. She came over to say hi and we both signed in.
Hmm. They wanted my name, phone number and address. I really should have seen that coming.
I’m used to using the name Becca in group meetings at The Center. But, I haven’t used that name outside of the room. Although others have spoken to me using that name in the lobby. But, it’s something I still feel very vulnerable about. I’ve been told that The Center is a safe place. But, I’m still not there yet. So, I gave my male name.
From there, we went in and I picked a seat in the back row. Old habits die hard. There were plenty of seats prepared. Probably twenty, or so. All with folders sitting on them. Inside were various pieces of paper. One explained the history of The Center. Another explained what kind of opportunities for volunteering there were. I thumbed through it while waiting.
Once we started, I’d say that maybe 2/3 of the chairs were occupied. We were all asked to introduce ourselves and what brought us there. The young lady from group introduced herself using her female name. She’s full time. I’m nowhere near. So, again I gave my male name. I explained, without admitting that I attend the trans support meetings, that The Center has helped me over the last year or so and that I wanted to give back if I could.
The lady running the orientation was very nice and very outgoing. I think it must take someone with really good people skills to be able to speak in front of a large group. I’m really jealous of people who have that skill. The first thing she explained was the history of the Center, which I didn’t know. I love history. So, it was really nice hearing how they came, both to this particular location, and into their own as such a fundamental influencer in the community.
Some of the volunteer opportunities come and go. Others, like the front desk are always in need. They’re just now beginning to push for volunteers for Pride. I’ve been once. But, I’ve never really been in a place where I could experience or enjoy Pride. So, I’m split on whether I want to volunteer this year. Although I’ve come a long way, I’m still not sure how I’ll react on that day. Will I be able to relax enough to even look around? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try finding a friend or two who I can hang out with. Other opportunities are something called street team. I’m not really a people person. And I’m still having a problem with people knowing certain aspects of myself. So, walking around town talking to people about Pride and other things may be a little tough for me.
They do, occasionally need people for administrative tasks. So, I think I may start there. Although I walk through the front door once a week, I’m still more than a little uncomfortable there. I don’t know the people very well. And outside the places where we have the meetings, I don’t know my way around much. I’m not ruling out other ways to volunteer. I just need time to get my feet wet.