When PTS was struggling, Mike Jan wanted to make sure the organization rallied from its challenges.
Jan became a board member at PTS’s annual general meeting in November 2012. The meeting was held in the wake of multiple board-member resignations and two failed attempts to hold an AGM that didn’t reach quorum.
“I didn’t want to see PTS fail, so I thought I would try to help, to get involved and help keep it going by becoming a director,” Jan says.
Robert Crevier, PTS’s current board president, also became a board member at the 2012 AGM. Both he and Jan, PTS’s vice-president, have nothing but good to say about the dedication of the current board and the ease with which they work together.
Jan, who came out in 1992, has lived in Ottawa since his family moved here from Switzerland when he was three years old. His involvement with PTS dates back to the mid-1990s. After the Association of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Ottawa (ALGBO) folded, he began attending a PTS men’s discussion group.
In 2008, Jan and his friend Matt Ellis began co-facilitating a secular sobriety group at PTS. For Jan, the experience showed the diversity of past and present queer-centred resources that community members can find at PTS.
“There are other organizations . . . in the city that do have programs, but often they’re also serving other groups and other needs and then they also serve LGBTQ people, but that’s our sole purpose,” he says.
Peer support and queer social groups are crucial for people who feel isolated or just want to spend time with their fellow community members, Jan says. He also feels strongly about PTS’s work in supporting the trans community, queer youth and queer seniors.
In the coming year, Jan will be doing more work on the fundraising and community-outreach committees. He would like to see PTS foster relationships with other LGBT organizations and businesses in the city and reach out to queer groups on local university and college campuses.
“I think right now we have a good amount of committed volunteers, which is good,” he says. “Cooperating and partnering with different related organizations in the city, which we’re working on [is also important].”
Jan says he enjoys being on the PTS executive and sharing his ideas. From its welcoming and safe atmosphere to its diverse programming, PTS has a lot to offer, and he says he wants to help spread the word.
“What I’d like to see is PTS continuing to be an important and relevant organization to serve the LGBTQ community in the Ottawa area,” he says.