While working at the University of British Columbia, Lau Mehes kept overhearing her officemate talk about the work she was doing as the director of CampOUT, a summer camp experience for queer, trans and allied youth.
So when the opportunity arose for Mehes to lead workshops with the camp, she jumped at the chance.
“I felt lit up. It was some of the most meaningful education work I’d ever done,” the 25-year-old says.
At that moment she knew where her future would lead. “I said, ‘This is what I want to do. This feels so amazing.’”
She’s now been a youth worker with Qmunity’s Gab Youth program for the past year.
“It’s really empowering for me, as someone who still identifies as a youth, to be able to create youth community, to have a space for youth to go where they can feel safe and feel really celebrated for who they are, for exactly who they are, and not who they should be,” she says.
She still remembers the intense nervousness she felt at her first drop-in as the new Gab worker, as she wondered whether the youth would like her and want to be around her.
“[They] were so welcoming. They asked the most meaningful questions: ‘Why do you want to do this work? What are some of the things that drive you?’
“I just knew that I’d come across something so special,” she says.
Mehes believes that Gab serves an invaluable purpose for queer and trans youth in Vancouver.
“It’s a powerful thing for them to walk in and find the kind of community that they need and to find other people their age who are feeling what they’re feeling, and feel like they can be understood.”
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