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Ricky, Ricky, he's so fine

Rick Westbrook is an amazing man.  He is the founder of Lost N Found Youth, the charity that I blogged about the other day.  He founded the organization about 2 years ago and in that time it has helped about 300 youth.  He is a man with vision.  He saw a need and he filled it.  He saw that homeless youth often have no place to go, especially transgender people.  He saw that it was a great need in the community that was not being met, and he has worked hard to fill that need.

I've listened to him talk.  I heard him explain how and why Lost N Found was created.  I felt the pain that he felt when thinking about all of the LGBT people kicked out of their own homes.  And just yesterday I had the opportunity to see him work.  Lost N Found had a house cleaning project that I attended.  Considering the number of people who showed up and the amount of work that needed to be done on the house, he did a great job at organizing people and getting things done.  He has earned my respect.  In fact, here's a video of him talking about the need and showing how much he cares.

I'm new here, so I don't know much about the local LGBT community.  But from what I can tell, Rick is a very respected and well-known individual.  He's good at getting support from people.  In fact, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Armorettes have both donated and held fund raisers for Lost N Found.

They have a thrift store to help raise money for the organization--and because so many people in the LGBT community here keep donating clothing and other items.  I volunteered at the store the other day and it was a lot of fun.  We painted the bathrooms, in preparation for the grand opening, and then sorted some clothes and placed them on the racks.  They're getting donations so much faster than they can sell them that they have the Salvation Army come by every week to pick up some extra items.  (Here I need to make an aside about the Salvation Army.  I have boycotted them for the last two years because of their homophobia.  But I have been wrong.  They do help out LGBT people, and in fact the local shelter has 8 beds reserved specifically for, I believe, trans people.)

I feel enlivened when I participate with this organization.  I see the community coming together in love and support for queer youth.  In the volunteer orientation meeting, there was a woman there who has a gay son.  She stands up for her son and for any queer youth who are abandoned by their parents.  She'll even call out parents for neglecting their children in that manner.  It was invigorating to see the passion in her.  I'm excited to be a part of this.  I'm excited to see so many people come together in solidarity.  These are people that I was taught my whole life were sinners.  Dirty, perverted people who had lost their way.  What I see is something very different from what I was taught.  I see brave people, loving people, kind and caring people.  I see people who reach out to those in need and willingly help out.  These are good folk.

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