Need a Last Minute Gift Idea?

Do you still need to pick up a belated holiday gift for a loved one?  Consider making a donation to Spencer Pride, Inc. in honor of them!  It’s the kind of gift that lasts longer than the latest trinket or fad.

You can make a one-time donation or set-up a monthly recurring gift.

Spencer Pride Inc is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and we rely entirely on financial donations and our dedicated volunteers.

You can make a donation by clicking ‘donate now’ on the upper right hand side of any page on our website, including this one!  Or, if you would like, or you can mail a check to: Spencer Pride Inc, PO Box 585, Spencer IN 47460.

Thank you very much!

 

 

Wanting to Register for the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival?

Holiday FlaresAre you looking for information about the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival, including our participation portal (where you can sign up to be a vendor, sponsor, or both)? 

Our online application forms for the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival have been online since August and we are eagerly taking registrations.   We are currently in the ‘early bird’ registration period so now is the cheapest time to register.    See the registration fee schedule below.

2016 Early-Bird Registration Fees

 

 

 

 

To register, you can simply go to the horizontal navigation bar above, hover over Events, then Spencer Pride Festival, then Spencer Pride Registration.   The direct link to our participation portal is here: http://spencerpride.org/portal/.

We have HUGE plans in store for this year’s event.  Not only will we have all of the things you’ve come to expect and love about our festival, but we will be enhancing those things and adding much more.    As a matter of fact, we plan on doing so much we can’t even fit it all in to our normal hours, so for 2016 we will be extending our festival hours.  They will be from 10 AM until 8 PM (ending 3 hours later than usual).  This will also mean that we will be able to welcome many more people to our event.  For some time, we’ve gotten feedback that we should extend our hours into the evening when many people would be more able to attend.  For this year only, that’s going to happen!

The details of the event are below.  Over the course of the next few months, we will also be adding details to the event page (which can be found by hovering over events and then Spencer Pride Festival.

2016 Spencer Pride Festival

  • Saturday, June 4
  • 10 AM until 8 PM
  • Owen County Courthouse Square

Given the huge demand we expect to have for space at this year’s festival, we encourage you to register your spot today!    The first 60 vendors that sign up for a space on the lawn will get 1 complimentary canopy, 1 table, and 2 chairs, for absolutely nothing!  (You can choose to bring your own items, of course, if you prefer).  Based on what has happened in the past, those limited-time items go very quickly once we get into the new year.

If you know of friends or relatives who would also be interested in participating in the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival, please share this information with them or pass their contact information along to Cathy at Cathy@SpencerPride.org.  We would love to get the word out as early as possible so that everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of the lower registration fees and the complimentary booth accessories (while they last).

We hope that all of your holidays will be merry and that the new year brings you good health & happiness!

If you have any questions about the sign-up process, please e-mail info@SpencerPride.org.  Thank you!

Mixing it Up at our Holiday Party

Judi Presents Donation to CarolThe 2015 Spencer Pride holiday party was an occasion to celebrate for more than one reason this year. In addition to helping thank the many volunteers for their hard work throughout the year, the party also served as a great opportunity to finish one of Spencer Pride’s 10th Anniversary service projects: a donation to the Spencer Presbyterian Church’s holiday food basket program.

The party was held at the Spencer Presbyterian Church Cornerstone Hall on Sunday, December 6th.

Spencer Pride had been asked by the church to collect cake mixes, and collect them they did! At the party, Spencer Pride Director Judi Epp presented Carol Miller of the Presbyterian Church Food Pantry with 350 cake mixes, well over the goal of 250, and $465 in cash and gift cards. Miller was very pleased with the donation and accepted it graciously on behalf of the church.   Several of the volunteers in attendance posed for a photo with the cake mixes.

Spencer Pride would like to thank Babbs SuperValu for their generosity in providing space and support in their store. On just one November afternoon, over 200 cake mixes were collected in only 4 hours! Spencer Pride is a proud sponsor of the Spencer Presbyterian Church Holiday Food Basket Program and the organization appreciates business like Babbs that help make it easier to do this work.

In addition to the donation to the church, Spencer Pride also recently completed other service projects. In September, volunteers painted the cat room at the Owen County Humane Society, among other things. In November, the organization presented a $300 check to the Owen County Art Guild in support of their family programming. Throughout December, Spencer Pride volunteers are taking on extra shifts at the Tivoli Theatre to help out with holiday-related needs. Volunteers representing Spencer Pride will be at every single regular movie showing (as well as some other events) at the theatre. In January, Spencer Pride will be donating $500 to the Prism Youth Community in Bloomington in sponsorship of their Winter Ball. Projects take place every month leading up to the 10th anniversary festival in June.

These projects are all intended to better the local community and give back for the decade of support that the community has shown Spencer Pride.

For more information about the other service projects that Spencer Pride is doing in celebrating their milestone anniversary festival, visit www.SpencerPride.org.

The 10th Anniversary Spencer Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2016. The festival is family-friendly and 100% admission free. Information about the festival is also available on the website.Spencer Pride Presents Donation to Presbyterian Church

10th Anniversary Donation Made to Art Guild

Check out all of our 10th anniversary activities happening throughout 2015 & 2016!
Check out all of our 10th anniversary activities happening throughout 2015 & 2016!

As a part of our 10th anniversary activities, we were proud to recently present a $300 check to the Owen County Art Guild in support of their wonderful work in our community. The Art Guild has been wonderful supporters of Spencer Pride for years and donates their space to us for our monthly volunteer meetings. Many of the members of the Art Guild are also supporters of Pride and participants in the Spencer Pride Festival each year. We appreciate having this fantastic resource in our community and are happy to be able to help them achieve some of their goals.

Spreading Cheer (MY VOICE, by Kim Fidler)

As the Christmas holiday approaches and the stores are already stocked with gifts, decorations, and more, I cannot help but think about how some people will go into debt in order to buy the biggest, best, and/or most expensive gifts. This is so sad to me when I consider the real reason for the season. Each year, I make the recommendation that instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on gifts, that we give gifts that are lasting, such as:

  • Homemade gifts – Poems, pictures, crafts, letters, food, etc.
  • Our time/attention – Get together with tea or wine, lunch, dinner, etc.
  • Our support – Donate to a worthy cause. Volunteer for a group with a special cause. Visit someone who is homebound or in a nursing home.

In addition, I recently read an article in the Spencer Evening World about a speaker who challenged OVHS students to make a difference in themselves and others by keeping promises. The speaker was Alex Sheen. Alex is the founder of “Because I Said I Would”. Alex says that many times people say they are going to do things. Promises are made, but not kept. Alex passed out business cards to the students with one simple sentence, “Because I Said I Would.” Alex asked each student to write a promise on the card, give it to someone, keep the promise, and the card would be returned. The promise has to be kept in order to earn the card back. Since September 4, 2012, over 3.5 billion promise cards have been distributed to over 153 countries around the world. People are also asked to share their promises on social media. Anyone interested in taking part in this movement can visit the website, www.becauseisaidiwould.com to request cards or print cards of their own. Imagine the power of such a move. I would encourage everyone to send out 3 to 5 such cards.

I would also like to suggest that we remember those in the LGBT community, as well as others, who for whatever reason are either shunned by family members or do not have family members. Those who have no family of their own for a variety of reasons, tend to be those who suffer most emotionally during the holidays. If you know of such a person, please invite them to join your family. Please ensure that your family and/or friends will be accepting of that person. Please emphasize the importance to everyone of including additional people to celebrate the holidays. Before you know it, you will have an additional family member/friend. I know that some of the people that I love most are not relatives. I have met them in a variety of ways. The point is to make the world a better place, one person at a time (or maybe five)!

These are not strictly recommendations for Christmas. I make an effort to do these things and more throughout the year. I make an effort make eye contact and to speak with as many people as possible each day. It takes only a moment to brighten the day of another person. This makes my kids crazy. It does take some time and effort. But, the result is fabulous! Not everyone will respond in a positive manner. However, 9 out of 10 times, there is a great result. Take time to smile at and talk to others such as waiters, bank tellers, people who work in gas stations or grocery stores, and even people you simply pass in the aisles at stores. I am always amazed that people remember me and things about me that I have told them, even if I do not see them often. When I ask people how they remember me, they say, “It is because you were kind to me.”

So, I am not saying that your kids or others will be happy if you give them a homemade coupon book of hugs and kisses for Christmas instead of an Xbox or some other expensive gift. However, we must do the best that we can every day of the year. You will make a very positive, memorable impression if you smile and speak to others. There is nothing that makes me happier than a card with words written in it. I also love short, sweet text messages or emails. The bottom line is that it takes very little time or effort to make another person feel valued and special. In the meantime, you also feel great about yourself. High-priced gifts do not accomplish this.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Make the New Year count in ways that you never have before. Keep the kindness going throughout the year! Pay it forward every day!

This web post was written by Spencer Pride Director Kim Fidler.  It is a part of our “Voices of Spencer Pride” series where volunteers share their thoughts and ideas about things that are important to them.  Kim is our most frequent writer, publishing one article every month.  We hope that you enjoy her writing.  If so, please share the link with your friends so that they can get value out of it as well!

Scholarship Opportunity Available Now

Community EventsAre you a high school senior looking for money to pay for college? Have you been involved moving equality forward for LGBTQI people? Spencer Pride & White River Valley PFLAG are teaming up to award a $1000 scholarship this school year. If you’re pursuing post-secondary education and live in Owen, Monroe or surrounding counties, you could win this scholarship.

For more information and to apply online, please visit www.SpencerPride.org/scholarship. Spencer Pride and White River Valley PFLAG are excited about this offer! Be sure to check out all the details at our website!

 

Tivoli Event a Big Success!

TivoliThe Tivoli Theater was the site of Spencer Pride’s “A Night at the Tivoli,” an annual educational event celebrating LGBT History Month, held on Wednesday, October 14th. We are always honored to have the opportunity to work with the Tivoli Theater staff, and we look forward to Spencer Pride’s volunteer night at the Tivoli on the second Saturday of each month.

This was the sixth year that Spencer Pride has held an event in commemoration of LGBT History Month. Approximately 150 people were in attendance to show support for the educational efforts of Spencer Pride and to have some weeknight fun! We are so grateful for the strong showing from the local community for the event.

Twenty of our loyal volunteers from Spencer Pride, Inc., were on hand to help the event run smoothly and ensure that everyone had a good time. It is our passionate volunteers who ensure that we are able to pull off such fantastic events.

The doors opened at 6:00 PM for an invitation-only VIP reception for sponsors and community leaders. Our thanks to local sponsors: Greencastle Walmart, Foxy Mutts, Insurance Pros to name a few. Several representatives from the community attended the reception, including representatives from the Spencer Town Board, Tourism Bureau, and other civic organizations. The reception featured delicious hors-d’oeuvres, wine, and live music by Dan Wyatt. It was wonderful to see our sponsors and special guests interact with influential members of the Spencer community and develop relationships!

The main draw of “A Night at the Tivoli” each year is the free film. We always try to choose a film that families can enjoy but that also has an educational message about the LGBT community. This year it was put to a vote to folks on our Facebook page and website, and the winner was “Kinky Boots.” Based on a true story, and the basis for a Tony-Award-winning Broadway musical currently touring the country, the Golden Globe-nominated movie portrays an unlikely partnership formed when the uptight owner of a men’s dress shoe company struggling to stay afloat teams up with a drag queen find a way to save the business. In the process, the two discover they are not so different after all.

A raffle featuring “experience” items was ongoing throughout the evening. Many items were donated by the local community, such as tickets to the Bloomington Symphony at the Tivoli, a Private Shopping Experience at the Dragonfly and a Private Tour and Tasting at Owen Valley Winery. We were fortunate to have unique official “Kinky Boots” items, thanks to Jackie Hall of Bloomington. The raffle was both popular and financially-successful for our not-for-profit organization.

Prism Youth Community-Bloomington hosted a Trans* Trivia Contest, which was an eye-opener for many attendees, some of whom were anxiously surfing the web on their phones for answers! We were proud to have Prism Youth Community-Bloomington’s participation in this important educational portion of the evening. This year’s event also featured a Creative Footwear Contest in honor of “Kinky Boots.” With a dozen entries, it was one of the evening’s highlights!

Assess Your Relationships! (MY VOICE, by Kim Fidler)

fall-leavesHappy Thanksgiving! November is a wonderful month to think about family and friends. As we prepare for the holidays and see some people that we do not see often, it causes us to have good and bad feelings. Our happiness should never be controlled by someone else. However, holidays occasionally force us to be around people that we do not see daily, weekly, or monthly. We can become nervous or upset with the thought of having to see some people. Only you can make the decision about how much you let someone else affect your happiness. Only you can assess your relationships and decide which ones to keep.

As a straight female who serves on the Board of Directors for Spencer Pride, I am sure that some people question my decision to even be a part of this wonderful organization. I would be very quick to say that I will always be a part of Spencer Pride for many reasons. The most important reason is the fact that I have developed relationships with so many giving people! I have made friends with people who have my back. I also have theirs.

In every aspect of my life, I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends. Some do not even know each other. Some mix very well, and others not so well. I have had to make some tough decisions about who gets to “rent space in my head”!

As a person who really enjoys Facebook, I see hundreds of posts. Some speak to me and some do not. I cannot help but notice the posts that express my feelings. I like and share many posts. I comment on many posts.

Today, I read a post that said: “I love rumors. I learn so much about myself that I did not know!” This really made me think. I have always been most hurt by the rumors that are spread by people that I love or once loved. I know that there are people out there who are not true friends. I know that there are people out there who pretend to be your friend, but are counter-productive. You must assess your relationships and let some people go. Those people do not matter anyway. It is only when you give your heart and time to a person that it hurts when they are the source of the rumors. You ask yourself how they could say or do some of the things that they do. You ask yourself why they do not seem to be sorry about what they have said or done. Why don’t you ask yourself why you would give them one more second of your time?

I have so many true friends. Some are in my life consistently. Some float in and out of my life. They are my true friends because it does not matter how often we see each other or talk to one another. We can pick up as friends immediately, as if we have never been apart.

So, please do NOT write Dear John letters to all of the people with whom you have relationships. Please do NOT over-analyze your relationships. I highly recommend that you do a very quick mental assessment of your relationships by asking yourself the following:

  • Does this person bring me happiness?
  • Is this person a positive influence to me and to others?
  • Do I have a “good” feeling in my stomach when I think about this person?
  • Would this person do for me, as much as I would do for them?
  • Does this person have same values as I want to have?

If you can answer “YES” to these questions, you need to keep this person in your life. If not, you need to reassess how much time you give to this person. Finally, do not forget to assess the most important relationship that you can have. That is the relationship you have with yourself. If you do not love yourself, others cannot love you the way that you want. Assess your relationship with yourself using the same 5 questions. Only YOU can change your relationship with yourself if you do not answer “YES” to all of the questions.

Happy November! Happy Thanksgiving!

A Night at the Tivoli Returns on October 14

TivoliThe historical 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 14th 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. “Although this is actually our sixth annual educational event, it is the third to be held at this wonderful venue.”

The main attraction for the evening is always the movie. This year’s film is Kinky Boots. Based on a true story, the tale is heartwarming and full of personal courage, but is also fun and wacky. The Golden Globe-nominated movie portrays an unlikely partnership formed when the uptight owner of a men’s dress shoe company struggling to stay afloat teams up with a drag queen find a way to save the business. In the process, the two discover they are not so different after all. The fashion runway scene at the Milan shoe show alone is worth the trip! Kinky Boots is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical now on tour. It was chosen to ensure the night would be full of laughter and excitement.

If that weren’t enough, the evening also includes a Trivia Contest and Creative Footwear Contest. Prism Youth Community-Bloomington will host a Trivia Contest on Transgender History, so study up and win a prize! It will be an interesting and fun way for the audience to learn more about this segment of our community. And if fashion is more your passion, come wearing your fanciest footwear for our Creative Footwear Contest! Our fabulous emcee, Sheryl Daniels, will be operating the audience decibel meter, so bring your friends to make some noise!

Looking for a fabulous experience but don’t have the money to fund it? You’re in luck! At this year’s “A Night at the Tivoli” we will hold a raffle for “experiences.” “Experience” items include an overnight stay for 2 including breakfast at French Lick Resort, 2 tickets for Mary Poppins at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, a private shopping experience at the new Dragonfly Gallery and Gift Shop in Spencer, a private tour and tasting package from Owen Valley Winery, and many more. There will also be plenty of door prizes. While everyone gets a complimentary door prize ticket at admission, folks who RSVP for the event on the Spencer Pride, Inc. Facebook page will receive an additional free ticket.

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 3:00-8:00 PM. Although no 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, Jackie Hall and Lloyd Orr, 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 (20) twenty libraries, public schools, and universities in Greene, Putnam, Lawrence, Owen, Monroe, Brown, Clay, and Knox counties. This is the sixth year that the organization has offered educational displays to libraries for LGBT History Month, and it is the third 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 more information about Spencer Pride Inc., please visit www.SpencerPride.org or send questions to info@SpencerPride.org. You can also find us on Facebook (SpencerPride) & Twitter (@SpencerPrideInc).

SPI Tivoli Logo 2014

The Terrifying Tale of Terrible Role Models (MY VOICE, by Kim Fidler)

Terrifying TaleOctober is the month for celebrating Halloween and all things that are scary. It is frightening for me to think about the role models of today. In the days where behaving badly is presented as being a characteristic of a potential leader, we must be very careful about who we, as adults, and our children choose to idolize. We have people running for President of the United States who value negative attention over receiving no attention.

We have celebrities who earn millions, yet are terrible role models. Look, I am far from being a stick-in-the-mud or boring. I try not to be judgmental or intolerant. I enjoy entertainment. I value a person with confidence and bold audacity, as long as it is used for a positive result.

Let’s compare Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln. Let’s compare Kanye West to Carrie Underwood, Need I say more? While Donald Trump and Kanye West should be viewed for their entertainment value, I, personally, do not want my children to behave like either of them. It is more difficult than ever for our children, who are growing up surrounded by social media and instant gratification to decide how to be the best, most-giving, and productive citizen that they can be.

However, there is hope! We do have those role models who are bold, confident, and audacious, but are ultimately held in high regard and are very respected individuals. Think of all the teachers, police, firefighters, etc. that walk among us every day.

Is anyone perfect? NO! Is anyone truly worthy of being considered a true role-model? YES! I want to take the opportunity to mention a few fabulous role models from the LGBT community and beyond. First, there is Peter Pan. This character was not female, but has traditionally been played by females. It is nice that an androgynous character can be loved equally be boys and girls! Andy Warhol- Artist, Walt Whitman – Writer, Sir Elton John – Musician, and Ellen Degeneres – Comedian. There are also many celebrities who support the LGBT community such as Pink, Lady Gaga, Cindy Lauper, and more. These high-profile advocates have the means and the media exposure to help spread the message of acceptance and tolerance.

So, please do not be terrified. There are wonderful role models everywhere who demonstrate tolerance and acceptance of others. Please remember that we can all be true role models with just a little effort. We simply have to have the willingness to give of our time, our influence, and our care for others!

LGBT History Month Educational Displays

Each year, Spencer Pride develops and distributes educational displays that feature information about LGBTQI history.   This year’s displays were developed & created by wonderful volunteers from Prism Youth Community – Bloomington.

The display can be found at a record number of libraries and public schools this year, continuing Spencer Pride’s trend of making each year’s distribution bigger than the last.  Distribution of this year’s displays is widespread in 22 locations, including 12 separate communities, 9 counties, 15 libraries, 3 high schools, & 3 universities.

The 2015 displays feature information about Transgender history and can be found at the following locations:

  • Bloomington North High School (Bloomington)
  • Bloomington South High School (Bloomington)
  • Bloomfield Eastern Greene County Library (Bloomfield) – poster only; no educational display
  • Brown County Public Library (Nashville) – after October 13
  • Clay County Public Library (Brazil)
  • 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 (two locations: School of Public Health at 1025 E. 7th Street & IU Health Center at 600 N. Jordan Avenue, both in Bloomington)
  • Knox County Library (Vincennes)
  • Lawrence County Library (Bedford)
  • Linton Public Library (Linton)
  • Monroe County History Center (Bloomington)
  • Monroe County Library (Bloomington) – October 17 – November 8
  • Monroe County Library (Ellettsville) – part of October only
  • Morgan County Library (Martinsville) – NOVEMBER only
  • Owen County Library (Spencer)
  • Puntam County Library (Greencastle)
  • Vincennes University Library (Vincennes)
  • Worthington Jefferson Township (Worthington)

We are very appreciative of the volunteers at Prism Youth Community – Bloomington for their great 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.

First Service Project Completed for Spencer Pride’s 10th Anniversary

AllJudiSpencer Pride’s Volunteer Day at the Owen County Humane Society on September 26 was a rousing success! Dogs were walked, kittens were socialized, and rooms were painted. More than a dozen volunteers turned out, and they came bearing gifts: donations to OCHS included paper towels, cat food, pet dishes, and monetary donations.

The greatest need was for painting the cat care rooms. So, while many volunteers gave the cat care rooms a much-needed paint job, our littlest volunteers walked dogs and socialized kittens.

Volunteers and employees enjoyed pizza from Chicago’s Pizza in Spencer, also donated by Spencer Pride.

The volunteer work completed at the Owen County Humane Society was the first of 10 monthly service projects leading up to Spencer Pride’s 10th anniversary in 2016.

“We want to give back to the community for the many years of successful events we’ve held in our effort to make this a more welcoming place for all of our citizens,” said Jonathan Balash, President of Spencer Pride, Inc.

For more information about other planned 10th Anniversary service projects, and how you can get involved, visit us on Facebook or on our website at www.spencerpride.org. Send questions to info@SpencerPride.org or Judi@spencerpride.org.Truman

Normal. What is that Anyway? (MY VOICE, by Kim Fidler)

Kim Fidler, Spencer Pride Inc. Director
Kim Fidler, Spencer Pride Inc. Director

As a poor kid growing up, all I wanted was to be normal. I wanted to have a nice house with indoor plumbing. I wanted nice clothes. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be what I perceived to be normal. This was not to be. I have always been anything but normal. I am happy to admit that at this point in my life.

In elementary school, I excelled. I thank all of my teachers for giving me confidence and for recognizing that the not-normal-kid in the classroom did have a brain. I consistently scored the highest and performed academically better than others. It felt wonderful, not to be normal. As I entered middle school, I was still a scrawny, not normal, kid who tried not to draw attention to myself. I still excelled academically. But, I also began to be a leader in clubs and in other activities. My mind and my work ethic were certainly the only things that were going to save me, as I was still anything but normal!

In high school, I got a job. I got a car. I continued to do very well in school. I also got a boyfriend. I had friends who wanted to sit by me at lunch. I had great success with my peers. When senior year came, I had been part of the homecoming queen court, prom queen court, was voted Most Likely to Succeed, and yes, also voted Best Body. I was president of both the French and Spanish Clubs. Things were looking up. I still was not normal.

I went to college. I loved it. I had found my niche. I loved to debate. I loved to learn. I wanted to be a Spanish teacher. I did just that. As a teacher, for 16 years, I met so many wonderful students who also, like me, simply wanted to be accepted and normal. I made it my goal to make all of those not-normal kids feel accepted and special.

I became the President of the Association (teachers’ union) while I was a teacher. I was a voice for all of the teachers in my school. I became active at the state level. I soon was chosen by my UniServ Director (my current position with ISTA) to participate in the intern program. I absolutely loved it. I had gotten my Master’s degree, I had married and had 2 great children. I was still not normal. I successfully completed the intern program and got my first job with the Indiana State Teachers Association in Jasper, Indiana. I have now worked in 35 different school corporations. I serve as the voice for over 2,000 members. My next goals are to get a PhD. and to run for State Representative. I have loved politics for years. I am still not normal.

I met with my wonderful friends from Spencer Pride. They accepted me as a member of the Board of Directors. I continue to meet wonderful, not normal, people in my role with Spencer Pride. We are achieving wonderful things for people of all ages, races, sexual preference, and more through Spencer Pride.

So, I ask again…What is normal? Who wants to be normal? Even those people who set the expectations for what is considered normal are not normal themselves. We are all flawed, imperfect, and working to be the best we can be in our own circumstances. If I had an opportunity to go through life as a normal person, I would NEVER do it! I invite every person to not be normal. Do not let anyone dull your sparkle.

Normal is nothing more than a perception.

Normal is boring.

Hats off to the not-normal people who make the world go around!

Owen County Humane Society Volunteer Day

Community EventsOn Saturday, September 26th, Spencer Pride volunteers and their friends will be taking part in an Owen County Humane Society volunteer event from noon to 4 PM.  This activity is the first of many community betterment events that Spencer Pride is undertaking as a part of their 10th anniversary celebration.

Individuals from all ages are invited to participate in this volunteer event.  There will be opportunities to wash & walk dogs, play with cats & dogs, paint a kitty area, & much more!

The humane society is also looking for donations as well.  Items that are needed are listed below.  If you are unable to volunteer on the 26th but wish to donate items, please contact Judi Epp at Judi@SpencerPride.org.

Items Needed:

For Dogs & Cats

  • Dog Treats
  • Dog Toys (Kongs are great!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cat Treats
  • Cat Toys
  • PetSmart branded wet kitten food
  • Dry kitten food
  • Animal crates/carriers
  • Dog Houses (igloo type or wood)
  • Nylon collars & leashes
  • Plastic or stainless-steel non-flip food dishes
  • Cat condos
  • Cat trees
  • Cat Scratching posts
  • PetSmart & PETCO gift cards
Animal Care & Supplies
  • Bleach
  • Sturdy Spray Bottles
  • Paper Towels
  • 30-Gallon Trash Bags
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Brooms & Dust Pans
  • Cat Litter (non-clumping)
  • Litter Boxes
  • Litter Scoops
  • Pet Shampoo & Brushes
  • Gently-used pillow cases & towels
  • Plastic zipper bags (gallon & quart-size)
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Kleenex Tissue
  • Garden Hoses
  • Lint Brushes
  • Dish Detergent
  • Alcohol 70%
  • Monetary donations
Office
  • Copy paper, pencils, pens
  • Gift cards to WalMart for ink cartridges
  • Gift cards for gas to get animals back & forth to adoption events
  • Rural King gift certificates
  • Scotch tape
  • Post-it notes
  • Batteries AA & AAA
For more information about the Owen County Humane Society, please visit their website at www.ochumane.org.

 

National Guard & Diversity? (MY VOICE, by Judi Epp)

Judi (on the far right) poses with several other participants from the 2015 National Guard Diversity Day
Judi (on the far right) poses with several other participants from the 2015 National Guard Diversity Day

You might think that seeing National Guard and Diversity in the same title is a contradiction. I wasn’t sure myself when I was asked to participate in the Indiana National Guard’s annual Diversity Day. It turned out to be a wonderful & enlightening experience.

The annual event was started last year by combining what used to be several separate events. The theme this year was “history,” so the GLBT booth had many displays describing the history of GLBT people in the military. Did you know that the first gay service member to purposely out himself, to challenge the ban on homosexuals in the military was Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich? He was a Vietnam War veteran, voluntarily serving three combat tours, and later as a military race relations instructor. He earned the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

There was a wealth of information available and visitors to the booth could be heard saying, “I didn’t know that.”

I was pleasantly surprised to see booths on the history of women, African-Americans, Hispanics and many others in the military. There was also information on world religions and food from Brazil, Thailand, Japan and many other countries.

There was such a huge turnout that I asked one of the event organizers if attendance had been mandatory. It was not! In fact, the guard members were encouraged to bring their families and they did. That made it even more impressive! The GLBT booth gave away over 100 bracelets!

It’s very encouraging that our Indiana National Guard is working to inform its ranks about the diverse culture we now find ourselves in.   I was proud to be able to represent Spencer Pride at this informative event.

This post comes straight to you from Judi Epp.  Judi has been a member of the Spencer Pride Inc. Board of Directors since its inception in 2007.  She was one of our original founders and anyone who has ever interacted with Spencer Pride probably knows how instrumental Judi has been in the success of our organization.  This post is part of a series entitled “Voices of Spencer Pride” where we share perspectives from our volunteers about topics that they find important.  We hope that you find this post meaningful and if you think someone else would also find value in it, we encourage you to share it with them as well.  THANK YOU!