Honoring LGBT

Gala recognizes heroes, reintroduces the Diversity Collective

By Chris O'Neal 08/07/2014


Saturday evening at City Hall, in the atrium overlooking downtown Ventura, a who’s who of the county’s LGBT leaders, volunteers and supporters came together to celebrate those who have made a difference in the community over the past year — and to reintroduce the Diversity Collective and its new leaders.

The Diversity Gala, hosted by the Diversity Collective, was a wine and dine event featuring a volunteer army of caterers, with beverages and entertainment, all in the name of raising money for the Diversity Collective’s goal of reintroducing programs in support of LGBT youth in Ventura.

Michael Dawson, vice president of the Diversity Collective, acted as the MC. Dawson says that for a long while, gay and lesbian youth in Ventura haven’t had many options for assistance.

“Some of these kids don’t feel comfortable, necessarily, discussing their specific problems with their physicians, and some of them can’t get to LA,” says Dawson. “It’s something that’s desperately needed up here.”

The gala also served as an awards ceremony for members of the community.

Gary Zinik, head of the Ventura chapter of the Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays, won the award for Alliance Hero for his role in supporting LGBT youth in Ventura. The Volunteers of the Year award went to Patty Flaherty and Shelley Telford, while United Staffing Associates won the Corporate Star award.

Joseph Summers, who was once a part of the Diversity Collective and hosts the First Thursday Mixers in Ventura, won the Community Hero award.

The gala is estimated to have raised close to $12,000, which will go toward operations and program development.

For more information on Diversity Collective, visit www.diversitycollective.org.


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