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Volunteer Spotlight: Elsie Mills

Touchstone

While Rainbow’s in-person programming has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, the beloved community spirit of our senior lunch program carries on, thanks to our dedicated staff as well as wonderful volunteers such as Elsie Mills. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Peg Kern Payne

Building Community in Every Encounter

When Peg Kern Payne moved from Baltimore to the Bay Area suburbs a few years ago, she immediately set out to find volunteer opportunities within the LGBTQ+ community. “I wanted to invest my time,” says Peg, “in the community and the tribe that my trans son, who now lives in Portland, belongs to. I thought I’d need to go to San Francisco or Oakland, but I found it practically in my own backyard.” 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Wendell Baker

Kindness is the Mission

Wendell Baker recalls the day in 2012 when he learned that the son of one of his neighbors had been kicked out of his Boy Scout troop because he was gay. “That instantly turned me into an LGBTQ+ civil rights activist,” says Wendell. A Scout Master in Moraga, Wendell began working with Scouts for Equality, which successfully fought to overturn Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory membership rules several months later.  

Freddie, 23

Rainbow is a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Being at Rainbow feels very calming. You don’t have to stress. I’m staying in a shelter right now, and my case manager there connected me to Rainbow. It’s really helped me out a lot. 

When you’re at Rainbow, your stress levels go down, and it’s pretty cool to have that support. It’s a community of people just like myself. Everybody is not exactly the same as who I am but it’s like we all have a basic general understanding that it’s ok to be yourself here. And that’s pretty cool. 

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Marie, 24

How Rainbow Changed My Life

I was seeking out counseling because I was very anxiety ridden. I was homeless. I had just gotten assaulted, and I was losing it. I was losing myself. I didn’t want to live anymore.

I wanted a clear space where I could go and feel safe. I looked up the closest community center near me, which was Rainbow. I called and left a message, and they called me back the next day. I got into their counseling service, and because I was homeless I got to be in the Homeless Youth Program. Ever since then they’ve been my family that I get to come home to every Thursday.