Stacey Spain is the new fearless leader at Our Center in Reno. She has brought life to the Our Center Facebook page, requiring her volunteers to post twice per day to keep patrons of Our Center always thinking about the programs that will bring them in to Our Center and then back, again and again.
She was hired in December of 2021 as the very first paid employee of the organization, but brings with her an extensive background in public service, including grant writing and work in arts programming. She is currently working 30 hours per week at Our Center.
When I visited her last week, she had just finished another meeting with a community organization who was interested in using the space. Stacey said that she fully believes that community spaces are meant to be used and not to sit vacant and empty in between meetings. She is working on bringing in various organizations beyond the LGBTQ panorama, including Girls Scouts, a Women of Color book club, the Northern Nevada Democratic Socialists of America, and 12-step recovery groups.
Of course, the standard events that fall under the Pride flag are still present at Our Center, like PFLAG, transgender youth support groups, and senior programs. Stacey said that the programming focus right now is the senior, youth and transgender demographics. But from the discussion that I had with her, I could tell that she also had an affinity for family events.
She lit up when she talked about the services that Our Center provides to those in need like a small food pantry and sleeping bags. She talked excitedly about health programs she would like to see promoted at Our Center, like HIV testing. She would also like to start a scholarship program for queer kids. She was quite proud of the cozy lending LGBTQ library that takes up a nook in the office space.
Stacey explained to me that she answer to the Our Center Board of Directors which is currently 5 members and meets monthly. She also said that there are several Our Center committees that do a lot of work, which include programming, fundraising (including the Northern Nevada Pride Celebration that happens each year in Wingfield Park on the fourth weekend of July) and governance.
She told me of a story of a mother who had come in to the office with her child after her child had told her that they wanted to transition to female. The mother was visibly scared, confused, and heavy-hearted. Stacey was able to take the mother into a private room and discuss services and support for the mother, while a transgendered woman who had been serendipitously volunteering in the office that day was able to spend some time in the office talking to the child. Stacey said it was the perfect situation.
Several weeks later, Stacey saw the two together at an Our Center group function and they all looked much more adjusted and lighter.
She ran into the child in the office just recently with a big bow in her hair and a beautiful smile on her face. Stacey said it warmed her heart.
When I asked Stacey what her favorite program was at Our Center, she told me that it was probably the “We Are Family Movie and Game Night.” She loves when the LGBTQ parents get together and their children can see that they are not the only ones with LGBTQ parents. She told me that she, too, has a family which has been involved in the family events at Our Center.
If you have questions, please contact Ms. Stacey at the office. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.