What Pride Means (to Me), by Joy

Joy Hellman, Youth Empowerment Director, can be seen in this photo serving as a Rainbow Crossing Guard during the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival.

This post was written by Spencer Pride’s Youth Empowerment Director, Joy Hellman.

I wanted to contribute to Spencer Pride Spirit Day by sharing about my involvement with Spencer Pride & my thoughts on what our Pride Festival means (to me).

First, I want to address one of the questions that I am often asked: why I became so involved in Spencer Pride. I first began to volunteer in the commUnity Center store for something to do after my husband died.  I soon made many friends & began to spend more time there.  Then, I began to spend time with the youth group.

As a teacher, I strongly believe that ALL children & teens deserve to feel welcome & worthy.  I realized that these teens did not feel that way in some places in their lives.  The Spencer Pride commUnity Center provided a safe place for them to be themselves.

As we spent more time together, I was able to see such growth in these teens.  They are a marvelous group & I am so proud of all they have accomplished. It has been a wonderful journey.

Now I’d like to address what the Spencer Pride Festival means (to me).  The picture included in this post is one of my favorites.  It is from the Spencer Pride Festival two years ago.  I had never been to an LGBTQ+ Pride festival before I began volunteering at the Spencer Pride commUnity center.  I just didn’t know much about Pride.  The thing I love about going to the Spencer Pride Festival is that it feels good to celebrate diversity. You don’t need to identify as LGBTQ+ to enjoy it;  you just need to enjoy people.

Spencer Pride: Making Indiana more welcoming for ALL people.  It seems that is something this world could use a little more of these days.

Happy Spencer Pride Spirit Day!

#straighbutnotnarrow  #spencerpride