By Mark Hallum
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said his effort to have Manhattan’s LGBT Community Center funded by the 2017 budget was a success, with $100,000 providing for immigrant and career coaching programs through the organization.
More than 75 career coaching sessions were held with the money, as well as three cycles of immigration leadership group sessions, which Avella said reached about 325 LGBT members of the immigrant community. About 40 members were able to attend four workshops on legal immigration.
“I was extremely happy to be able to allocate this funding for the LGBT Community Center during the budget process, but when they told me recently how this funding was able to transform their programming, I was astonished,” Avella said. “The work that the staff at The Center does for our state’s most vulnerable is unparalleled, and I am honored to have helped them in any way. I look forward to working with The Center in the future and cannot wait to see the way their work impacts our city, state, and nation.”
Avella said the money accomplished more than expected by the end of 2017.
“Senator Avella has been an unwavering advocate of the LGBT Community Center and the community at large,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of the LGBT Community Center at 308 West 13th Street in the West Village. “His work securing $100,000 in funding to support our career development and community support work has been instrumental in allowing us to expand these much-needed services.”
Testone said that broadening immigrant support services — career coaching sessions, and cultural and social programming — helps “some of our most vulnerable community members.” Enhancing the center’s Immigration Leadership and Empowerment Group, she said, helps to provide “an affirming space for community members to network, share resources and find support.”
The LGBT Community Center has been helping community members succeed through professional support, such as career advancement for women, as well as health and wellness programs and arts, entertainment and cultural events.
The LGBT Center also provides help for recovery from substance abuse for youths and adults. It offers assistance for members of the LGBT community in adopting children and starting families, and it has other resources for those who have already started a family.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall