Mascot Name Ideas Flooding In!

When we first asked the public to provide name recommendations for our new mascot, we had no idea how many would come flooding in!  Below are a list of the names we’ve collected from suggestions thus far (we started on March 15th).  We will continue to update this list through April 30th.  In May, Spencer Pride volunteers will narrow the list down to 5 or 10 ideas.  Then, on June 3rd at the 2017 Spencer Pride Festival, attendees will be given the opportunity to vote.  By the end of the festival, our mascot will finally have a name!

If you have any suggestions you’d like us to add to our list for consideration, e-mail them to us at info@SpencerPride.org or send them to us via Facebook Messenger.

Mascot Name Suggestions (in alphabetical order)

  • Charlie
  • Coony
  • Cooper
  • Ellis
  • Gaize
  • Hope
  • Jamie
  • Lotus
  • Owen
  • Proud Procy
  • Rally
  • Randi
  • Rasca
  • Richochet
  • Ricky
  • Rikki
  • Robin
  • Rocco
  • Rory
  • Rowdy
  • Rowley
  • Ru
  • Rudy
  • Shay
  • Skylar
  • Spence
  • Spencer
  • Wyatt

Now Introducing…….?

mascot color printing file

Help us name our new mascot! Our mascot prefers the pronouns “They/Them/Their.” They are a raccoon.

Did you know that a group of raccoons is called a “gaize?”

Please suggest names by commenting on our post on the Spencer Pride Facebook page or by sending your suggestions via e-mail to info@SpencerPride.org. We are taking suggestions from now until April 31st.

The final name selection will be made by attendees at this year’s 2017 Spencer Pride Festival.

The mascot will be featured prominently in the Owen County Coloring Book that Spencer Pride will be publishing later this year.

Successful Turnout at March Meeting; Lots of Festival Work Underway!

This past Sunday, volunteers met for the monthly Spencer Pride planning meeting.  Although planning for our event begins immediately after the prior year’s event ends, the work of our volunteers gets more intense in the months leading up to the festival.  As in past years, March is when things truly start to heat up.

The March volunteer meeting was attended by nearly 20 individuals
The March volunteer meeting was attended by nearly 20 individuals

A variety of things are happening with the festival planning.  Some general highlights include:

  • We have finalized our contract for this year’s billboards.  We will not only have 1 billboard in the Town of Spencer, but we will also have one at the Cloverdale exit along I-70!
  • We reviewed current vendor and sponsor sign-ups and encouraged volunteers to focus heavily on soliciting last year’s participants (since they are typically an easier group to firm up).   We have 43 vendors signed up so far for the 2017 festival.   As a part of this conversation, we discussed talking points for soliciting prior participants as well as new organizations and businesses.
  • All Town and County-related approvals have been granted.  We still need to work to secure our entertainment permit from the State Fire Marshall.
  • We have finalized the design of our new mascot.  It is a raccoon and will be named as a part of some type of activity at this year’s festival.  Our mascot will remain gender-neutral and prefers to go by the pronouns “they,” “them,”, and “their.”

In addition, there are three work streams focused on specific aspects of the festival.  Those teams include Activities, Marketplace, & Welcoming.  Each team has a volunteer lead that assists in coordinating the efforts of that particular group.  Key items of discussion during Sunday’s team meetings are noted below.

The Activities committee has a LOT on their plate this year and has hit the ground running.
The Activities committee has a LOT on their plate this year and has hit the ground running.

ACTIVITIES

  • The team agreed upon some rental items that they would like to see back again this year, such as the Dunk Tank & Slip-n-Slide.  They will continue to review options and will keep in mind the need to have things for people of all ages.
  • There was discussion about having other engaging activities as well, such as having wandering carnival-type entertainers and such.
  • The team discussed the Prism All-Ages Activity Zone and will be reaching out to Prism to coordinate.
  • The team is planning the Pet Pride Parade to take place at 12:30.  Prizes need to be determined as well as the parade general theme.
  • The team began discussing raffles, but this will be a larger topic next month.
  • A variety of entertainers have been confirmed already, including Quarryland, Different Drummers, Sarah Jayne, Adam Riviere, Kali Bently, & Zumba with Nancy Emerson.  Others have expressed an interest but we are still working to confirm.
  • The team discussed entertainment logistics (sound, etc.) and will continue to iron out the details.
  • Vicci Laine will coordinate the drag show again this year, as she has in years past.
The Marketplace committee got right to business at the March volunteer meeting
The Marketplace committee got right to business at the March volunteer meeting

MARKETPLACE

  • The team discussed ideas for improving vendor setup communication
  • The team discussed the challenges of assigning booth locations
  • The team agreed on key timelines for communication with vendors
  • At next month’s meeting, this team will focus heavily on the draft of the vendor setup communication (which will go out in Mid-May) and on developing a draft of the booth assignments (utilizing the same basic layout as 2016)
The Welcoming committee meets during our March volunteer meeting.
The Welcoming committee meets during our March volunteer meeting.

WELCOMING

  • The team discussed how to best distinguish the Welcome Booth from all other booths, to draw more attention to it
  • The team discussed how to improve the handling of money related to raffle sales, to make it safer and easier for those selling tickets
  • The team will reach out to a fellow volunteer who may be able to help design this year’s program.
  • The team will reach out to a local printer to determine if we want to print our fliers there
  • The team discussed plans for the Vendor Reception Area
  • At next month’s meeting, this team will focus on the design of the programs and fliers

Everyone is always welcome to help us plan our event.  It takes a lot of work to make our fabulous event possible and every volunteer truly makes a big difference.  For those individuals who are interested in volunteering in some way to assist our work, please reach out to us at info@SpencerPride.org and we will put you in touch with Judi Epp, our volunteer coordinator.

We had a great turnout at the March volunteer meeting

2017 Festival Theme Announced

We are excited to announce that this year’s Spencer Pride Festival theme will be “We The People.”

This theme was selected after soliciting our volunteers & the general public for ideas.  As always, we were looking for creative, family-friendly themes for our event.  After receiving approximately 10 suggestions, our volunteers combed through them at our February monthly meeting.  We discussed the pros & cons of each idea.  Ultimately, the volunteers decided to narrow the list down to two themes & then let the Spencer Pride Board of Directors make the final choice.

The top two themes sent for consideration to the Board were “We The People” & “Unity in Diversity.”  Both were great ideas & the Board was somewhat dividing initially.  Ultimately, “We The People” seemed the most appropriate theme for this year’s event.

The 2017 Spencer Pride Festival takes place on Saturday, June 3 from 10 AM – 5 PM on the downtown square of the Owen County Courthouse in Spencer.

If you’d like to join us in planning for this year’s festival, please let us know.  You can e-mail us at info@SpencerPride.org so that we can add you to our e-mail distribution list.  We meet on the first Sunday of every month at the Spencer Pride commUnity center from 4 – 6 PM.   This month’s meeting will take place this Sunday, March 5.

We the PEOPLE

Spencer Pride Featured on RTV6 (The Indy Channel)

On February 27, after the first night of the LGBTQ+ miniseries “When We Rise,”  Indianapolis television station RTV6 featured Spencer Pride in a segment that highlights our work in helping to make Indiana a more welcoming place for all people.   Paris Lewbell, an investigative reporter from RTV6 (also called “The Indy Channel”) selected Spencer Pride for this opportunity after learning how Spencer Pride has ‘become an emerging leader in LGBT equality in Indiana.”

We were thrilled to get this attention from one of the largest television stations in Indiana.

You can see the promotion for the segment here:  RTV6 Promo 2017 02 27

To see the full segment, which includes an interview with Spencer Pride’s president Jonathan Balash, please visit the link below.   In addition to Jonathan, several other volunteers are shown in the segment.

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/call-6-investigators/spencer-indiana-is-turning-the-table-on-small-town-stereotypes-and-looking-towards-the-future

RTV_Indy 2012

2017 Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

2017 Scholarship Applications are due March 4!
2017 Scholarship Applications are due March 4!

We are now accepting applications for the 2nd annual Spencer Pride/White River Valley PFLAG scholarship!

This scholarship is intended for high school seniors who are pursuing post-secondary education.   Individuals who have worked to move LGBTQ+ equality forward in their school, community, or faith organization are encouraged to apply.

For more information & to apply online, please visit www.Spencerpride.org/scholarship.

It’s official: Spencer Pride is a 2017 “Champion of Diversity”

Champions of DiversityOn Friday evening, Spencer Pride was honored in Indianapolis as a 2017 “Champion of Diversity.”  Spencer Pride was among several organizations & individuals who received recognition at the 12th annual Champions of Diversity awards banquet.  The event is coordinated by Indiana Minority Business Magazine & the Indianapolis Recorder.  The banquet took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis.  Hundreds of people were present for the evening’s festivities, which included the dinner, awards ceremony, & an after-party.   Although there was fear of an icy, wintry mix coming into the region that evening, thankfully the weather held out so that attendees could safely travel to and from the event.

RTV6’s news anchor Rafael Sanchez presented the award to Jonathan Balash, Spencer Pride’s president.

“It was such an honor to be able to accept the award on behalf of our Spencer Pride volunteers,” said Balash.  “To hear someone speak about our work from that stage, in that forum, was a wonderful feeling.”

In addition to Jonathan, a variety of other Spencer Pride volunteers were also in attendance at the event, including Jacob Balash, director Cathy Wyatt & her husband Dan Wyatt, director Dylan Heaslet, director Eric Jones, & Lacey Newton.

The award is proudly on display at the Spencer Pride commUnity center.

AwardVolunteers at COD event

Downtown Revitalization Grant to Benefit Spencer Pride commUnity center

This week, it was announced that the Town of Spencer would be receiving a Main Street Revitalization Program grant through the federal Community Development Block Grant Program.  This grant awards $500,000 for downtown streetscape improvements on parts of Main Street & Market Street.   The grant money will be combined with a local match of $598,000 in order to fund the expected total cost of the project, which is estimated to be $1.1 million.

According to a press release issued by the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs, the money awarded to the Town of Spencer “will replace concrete sidewalks and curbs, install decorative lighting, place metal benches and metal trash receptacles as well as plant trees with tree grates. This project contributes to community development by beautifying the downtown through new sidewalks and improved lighting.”

Spencer Pride is excited to see this improvements, especially those that will have a direct impact on the commUnity center at 46 E. Market Street.

spencer-main-street
Spencer Main Street advocated for this grant on behalf of the Town of Spencer

Spencer Main Street played a pivotal role in acquiring this grant.  Volunteers of Spencer Pride, including Unity retail manager Jacob Balash, are also involved with the Spencer Main Street Association.

“I’m excited that Spencer was chosen to receive this wonderful grant to help revitialize our downtown,” said Balash.  “It will help bring in new business & rekindle life in our gem of a town.  I think this is one more step in the right direction to help highlight the marvelous assets that Spencer has.”

Spencer Pride treasurer Judith Epp expressed gratitude to the Town of Spencer, Spencer Main Street, & the State of Indiana for supporting the downtown improvements.

“This is just so wonderful” exclaimed Epp.  “We are so thankful to all those who worked to make this possible.  The street lighting, gathering spaces, and safe, new sidewalks will make a great addition to Spencer & will enhance the appeal of the Spencer Pride commUnity center.””

The downtown work is expected to take place in 2017, likely lasting 3-5 months.  It is possible that this work will be underway during the Spencer Pride Festival on June 4.

The Spencer Pride commUnity center will see significant improvements out front once the work is completed in 2017.
The Spencer Pride commUnity center will see significant improvements out front once the work is completed in 2017.

You can find additional information about the grant announcement & images of possible improvements at the Spencer Evening World website.  http://www.spencereveningworld.com/news/2016-12-05/Front_Page/Town_of_Spencer_awarded_500k_grant.html (subscription required)

You can see the press release from the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs at:
http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=254688&information_id=253224&type=&syndicate=syndicate

“Champion of Diversity” Recognition

meeting-at-unitySpencer Pride, Inc., is excited to announce that we’ve been chosen as a 2017 Champion of Diversity honoree by Indiana Minority Business Magazine. The award letter explains, “Spencer Pride has been selected because your collective efforts have set the example on how to reflect inclusion in the community.”  The letter further details, “Your diligent work to advocate for the LGBTQ community and create real change that focuses on creating atmospheres that embody safety and equality for those who are underrepresented exemplifies the qualities that we look for in a champion.”

Dana Beth Evans, a Spencer Pride Director, said, “As a member of Spencer Pride, I am extremely proud of this organization. These are some of the nicest, most organized people with whom I have been associated. They give and educate and are truly caring individuals. It is certainly an honor to be associated with this group and to have such a prestigious award bestowed on us.”

For more than a decade, Indiana Minority Business Minority Magazine has recognized individuals, organizations, and institutions that have shown tremendous efforts in the area of diversity and inclusion.

“The success of the Spencer Pride Festival, where vendors and entertainers display their support for the community around the Owen County Courthouse grounds by hosting booths of information and activism; the numerous ways in which we help educate the public about LGBTQ issues; and the community service work we do make me so PROUD to be on the Board of Directors with Spencer Pride,” said Rex Hinkle, Director.

Spencer Pride, Inc., has been working for the last 10 years to make Indiana a more inclusive place for all people.  We are very honored to be recognized for this work.

Spencer Coloring Book NOW AVAILABLE

The cover-not-for-printingSpencer Coloring Book is now available at the Spencer Pride commUnity center. This is a wonderful gift for all ages, featuring nearly 60 local sites drawn by local artists Primo Corona & Susan Shorter. The book is available for $9.99 or our special promotion Buy 5, Get 1 Free.

100% of the proceeds of this book go to support the mission of Spencer Pride, Inc.

Stop by the commUnity center on Fridays at Saturdays between 10 am and 7 pm to pick up one for everyone on your wish list!

community-center

Spencer Pride Board of Directors Statement Regarding the 2016 Presidential Election: Our Work Continues

With the results of 2016 election still reverberating through the nation, we understand the many concerns being voiced about the potential impact of the Trump-Pence administration on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, & queer (LGBTQ+) community. Spencer Pride is committed to continuing our educational work & services in order to make our rural community & state a more welcoming place for all people.

election2016-356x233Our educational efforts are essential regardless of who would have won the election, although we do anticipate an increased need for our services as a result of the specific outcome this year.   The Trump-Pence ticket was very vocal in its plans to roll back the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people.  As Hoosiers, we certainly know how Mike Pence (our Governor & now VP-elect) wants to approach LGBTQ+ civil rights.  As governor of Indiana, he is probably most well-known for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  RFRA allows for businesses to discriminate against gay & lesbian people.  Spencer Pride has been outspoken in our opposition of RFRA or in any legislation that takes away the freedom of our fellow Hoosiers.

Spencer Pride will continue to engage with our community & educate citizens about LGBTQ+ people & issues.  We know that through one-on-one discussions & broader educational activities, we improve the climate for LGBTQ+ individuals.  We have done this for the past 10 years with great success. CommUnity Center Logo JPG

In addition to educating others about the LGBTQ+ community, we also provide support services directly to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Individuals who need our assistance or support can contact us by visiting the Spencer Pride commUnity center (located at 46 E. Market Street in downtown Spencer, Indiana), calling 812-652-5000, or e-mailing us at info@SpencerPride.org.  Our commUnity center is a certified Safe Place & an LGBTQ+ Safe Zone.  Our volunteers at the center are trained to assist individuals in need.

Finally, Spencer Pride is also working to bring greater protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, & queer people by working to enact a local human rights ordinance (HRO). This ordinance is a key part of our 5 year strategic plan, & we will be increasing our focus on this initiative in the coming months & years.

Other information about our efforts to make Indiana a more welcoming place for ALL people can be found on our website at www.SpencerPride.org.

We sincerely hope that President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence are able to evolve from their previous discriminatory positions about the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage their administration to continue ensuring that America is an inclusive & welcoming country.

 

LGBT History Month Educational Displays Up

The 2016 LGBT History Month library display can be see throughout south central Indiana.
The 2016 LGBT History Month library display can be see throughout south central Indiana.

October is LGBT History Month, a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. To further our mission of educating the public about rural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people and issues in order to make our community a safer and more welcoming place, Spencer Pride, Inc., annually distributes educational displays that feature information about LGBTQI history. This year’s displays, with the theme of “LGBT People in U.S. Political History” were developed and created by creative and talented volunteers from Prism Youth Community – Bloomington.

The display can be found at a record number of libraries, public schools, and community organizations this year, continuing Spencer Pride’s trend of making each year’s distribution bigger than the last.  Distribution of this year’s displays is a widespread 23 locations–including 13 separate communities, 9 counties, 16 libraries, 3 high schools, & 3 universities.

The 2016 displays can be found at the following locations:

  • Bedford Public Library (Bedford)
  • Bloomington North High School (Bloomington)
  • Bloomington South High School (Bloomington)
  • Bloomfield Eastern Greene County Library (Bloomfield) – poster only; no educational display
  • Brazil Public Library (Brazil)
  • Brown County Public Library (Nashville)
  • DePauw University, Roy O. West Library (Greencastle)
  • Edgewood High School (Ellettsville)
  • Indiana University, GLBT Student Support Services (Bloomington)
  • Indiana University, Herman B. Wells Library (Bloomington)
  • Indiana University, School of Public Health (1025 E. 7th Street, Bloomington)
  • Knox County Public Library (Vincennes)
  • Linton Public Library (Linton)
  • Mitchell Community Public Library (Mitchell)
  • Monroe County History Center (Bloomington)
  • Monroe County Public Library (Bloomington)
  • Monroe County Public Library (Ellettsville)
  • Morgan County Public Library (Martinsville) – NOVEMBER only
  • Owen County Public Library (Spencer)
  • Putnam County Public Library (Greencastle)
  • Spencer Pride community center & Unity retail shop (Spencer)
  • Vincennes University Library (Vincennes)
  • Worthington Jefferson Township Library (Worthington)

We are very appreciative of the volunteers at Prism Youth Community – Bloomington for their outstanding work in creating this year’s displays.  We are also thankful for the many school administrators, librarians, and other professionals who have supported having our displays in their establishments, and commend those who added to our display with books, posters, and other educational materials to encourage further learning and discussion. We hope you will visit some of these locations to learn a bit more about LGBT folks in politics throughout history.

Another “Night at the Tivoli” in Celebration of LGBT History Month

SPI Tivoli Logo 2014SPENCER, INDIANA – The historic Tivoli Theater in downtown Spencer will again be the site of Spencer Pride’s annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) History Month event “A Night at the Tivoli.” The community event, which is admission-free thanks to generous sponsors of Spencer Pride, Inc., is Wednesday, October 12th, at 7:00 PM. The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

“We are again privileged to hold our event at the beautiful Tivoli Theater,” says Spencer Pride Inc.’s, President Jonathan Balash.

The main attraction for the evening is always the movie. In honor of this election year, this year’s film is Milk. A 2008 biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The evening also includes a Jeopardy Contest on GLBT people in politics, so study up, check out your local library display, and win a prize! It will be an interesting and fun way for the audience to learn more about our community in political history. Another way to win is to take a chance on our raffle! With fabulous items like an overnight stay at French Lick Resort including breakfast for two, you won’t want to miss it.

Owen Valley Winery will have their tasting room open to lure filmgoers into sampling their wine. The winery’s tasting room is adjacent to the Tivoli and will be open from 5:30PM-10:00 PM. For this event, alcohol can be taken from the winery into the theater. The tasting room will undoubtedly be a popular spot.

Many individuals and businesses are sponsoring “A Night at the Tivoli,” including Greencastle Walmart, White River Valley PFLAG, Insurance Pros, Foxy Mutts Grooming, and many others who have made generous donations to ensure that the event remains admission-free.

In addition to the family-friendly Tivoli event, Spencer Pride, Inc., is coordinating LGBT History Month educational displays in a record-breaking (23) twenty-three libraries, public schools, universities, and other community organizations in Greene, Putnam, Lawrence, Owen, Monroe, Brown, Clay, and Knox counties. This is the seventh year that the organization has offered educational displays to libraries for LGBT History Month, and it is the fourth year that those displays will also appear in area schools and universities. Prism Youth Community-Bloomington aided the development of this year’s displays.

For the first time in our history, we’re able to say that our new retail space, Unity, at 46 E. Market St. on the courthouse square will be open from 5PM to 7PM. Stop in before the event and check out the many items hand made by local artists. It’s not too early to get some holiday shopping in.

For more information about Spencer Pride Inc., please visit other pages on our website or send questions to info@SpencerPride.org. You can also find us on Facebook (SpencerPride) & Twitter (@SpencerPrideInc).

commUnity center Grand Opening a Huge Success

unity-frontThis past weekend, the Spencer Pride commUnity center and its shop, Unity, officially opened it’s doors to the public.  The Grand Opening celebration was intentionally timed to coincide with the annual Apple Butter Festival in Spencer.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony, coordinated by the Owen County Chamber of Commerce, took place at 9 AM on Saturday.  Although it had been raining all morning, the sky cleared in perfect time for the ceremony, which was very well attended by the public.  Most of the Spencer Pride Board of Directors was in attendance, as was many of our loyal volunteers.

The Owen County Chamber of Commerce presented Spencer Pride president Jonathan Balash with a plaque to commemorate the event and to recognize the 10 years of service that Spencer Pride has provided to the community.

Immediately following the ribbon-cutting, excited attendees flooded into the center to explore the many fantastic items for sale and to learn about our new facility.  The CommUnity Center remained quite crowded throughout the entire day.  5-8 Spencer Pride volunteers were present at all times.  Thankfully, we have so many dedicated volunteers that most people were able to take shifts of 3-4 hours in length.

On Sunday the day started and finished rather slow, but this was not unexpected.  Based on our experiences at the Apple Butter Festival in the past, Sunday is typically a low traffic day.  That being said, we were quite busy mid-day.

Overall, we had nearly triple the number of attendees that we expected.  We also exceeded our sales expectations.   Individuals in attendance couldn’t stop complimenting our space and thanking us for what we have done for our community.

We are absolutely thrilled and grateful to our community for having embraced the opening of our commUnity center with such passion and excitement.

Downtown Diversity Expanding with Unity

commUnity center with signAnother shop is about to arrive on the square in downtown Spencer.   Unity is a distinctive retail store located within the Spencer Pride CommUnity Center at 46 E. Market Street, right across from the Owen County Courthouse & just a few buildings down from the newly relocated Sweet Owen Visitors Center.

The historic building that houses Unity, which is over 125 years old, serves as the perfect environment for the establishment.  The interior design of the space evokes a strong sense of the past, yet will appeal to the most modern of sensibilities.  Products are displayed in both century old displays as well as modern glass cabinets.

At Unity, visitors can expect to find unique gifts for friends & family – & for themselves, too! Merchandise is all high-quality & locally-produced.  Featured items include jewelry, art, stained glass, hand-made fashion accessories, pottery, & much more.  “Spotlights” – biographical signage that features the artist/craftsman involved with the items on display – are prominently posted in each display to help connect potential customers with the individuals that produced the products.

“We want everyone to know who is making the products, why & how the artist became involved in their craft, & why they’ve chosen to sell their products here,” said Jacob Balash, Unity’s retail manager & longtime Spencer Pride volunteer.

“It’s important that our customers understand the quality of the products & the significance of their purchase here at Unity,”

Although there will certainly be many consistent product themes at the store, the inventory will be constantly evolving. Many of the items for sale are one-of-a-kind or are available in very limited supply.  The unpredictability of the merchandise will keep Unity an exciting place to visit.  Even individuals who aren’t looking to make a purchase will still appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the products on display.

1Each purchase at Unity supports local artists & craftsmen. Profits all support the educational mission of Spencer Pride.

Balash is one of many volunteers who have spent a significant amount of time preparing Unity and the entire Spencer Pride CommUnity Center for its upcoming debut to the public. In fact, all of the work that Spencer Pride does is done entirely through volunteerism – Unity is no exception to that.

Debbie Messer, local resident and volunteer at Unity, is excited about her work with the organization. “I’m relatively new to the Spencer community and have found my forever family in Spencer Pride!” Messer said enthusiastically.  She has been a part of the committee focused on getting Unity up and running in time for the annual Apple Butter Festival in downtown Spencer.

Preparing a new store & center has not been easy, but volunteers are confident that their efforts are helping Spencer Pride achieve its mission. Spencer Pride, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization focused on educating the public about the rural LGBTQI community in order to make Indiana a more welcoming place for all people.  The organization educates through direct engagement with the public.  Spencer Pride consists of more than 30 active volunteers who have a deep passion for community betterment. Many more volunteers assist with the various events and activities coordinated by the organization throughout the year.

Dana Beth Evans, Director of the Monroe County History Center, has also been heavily involved in crafting the operational strategy for the new store. .

“I can’t tell you how please I am to be a part of this organization,” she stated.

“What we are doing with Spencer Pride is making a real difference in this community and what we are about to do with Unity – well, that’s going to give us many more opportunities to make a further impact.”

Evans is on the Spencer Pride Board of Directors and served as the Director of the Tivoli Theatre from 2013 until 2015.

Greg Bukowski has also volunteered with Spencer Pride and has had a role in establishing Unity as well.

“What I love about this store and organization is that it’s so much more than the LGBT community. It’s about all communities and uniting them together in an exciting way.  That’s why we chose Unity as the name,” Bukowski said.

CommUnity Center Logo JPGThe Spencer Pride CommUnity Center & Unity shop Grand Opening Event will take place on Saturday, September 17th, from 9 AM until 6 PM & on Sunday, September 18th, from 9 AM until 3 PM.

Regular operating hours for the store (effective September 23rd) will be Fridays & Saturdays from 10 AM until 7 PM.

For more information about the work of Spencer Pride, please visit www.SpencerPride.org or check them out on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SpencerPrideInc.

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