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Volunteers needed

Pride can't happen without you

PRIDE NEEDS YOU: Pride is only as good as the volunteers who make it happen, says Vancouver Pride Society vice president Aviva Lazar. Credit: Robin Perelle photo

It’s that time of year again. pride season is just around the corner and we need community volunteers to step up and help run the festivities.

As vice president of Vancouver’s Pride Society, people often ask me why I volunteer so many hours of my time just to help make Pride happen. The answer is simple. To meet chicks.

Let’s face it. Most of us volunteer at queer events to hook up and make new friends.

New to the city? Just came out? Ended a relationship? Volunteer for Pride (or Out on Screen or the AIDS walk or the Dyke March). You’ll meet lots of great people who have interests in common with you. They want to better our community just like you do–and hook up.

Who knows? The chick flipping pancakes for Pride beside you might just be your soul mate! The guy directing traffic at the parade could be your next fling.

Of course, volunteering for Pride is about more than just hooking up and making long-term friendships. You’ll be doing your part to make the events of our 28th annual Pride Week a resounding success! (Plus you could win tickets to some hot local events, courtesy of Xtra West’s contribution to this year’s volunteer drive.)

I honestly feel a sense of pride and joy at every board meeting. Here we are, creating this fantastic season of queer celebrations for the whole community to enjoy. What better way to express my appreciation for all the pioneers who struggled for decades to give us the freedom we now take for granted. Volunteering is like one big “thank you” to all those who came before us.

I find volunteering kind of healing, actually. The more I do, the better I feel. I’m not just a bystander. I’m doing something for our community.

It’s about being a part of something important. Not just watching it happen, but making it happen. It’s the excitement and adrenaline of seeing it all come together, of learning the ropes, contributing ideas and giving advice.

And I know each and every one of you has some advice to give. So next time you’re sitting around, enjoying a couple of beers and discussing Pride–or quite possibly bitching about some aspect of it–stop sitting around and do something about it.

Because the best way to help shape events like Pride is to get involved.

So take your “wouldn’t it be great if…” thoughts, and your “they should have done this…” suggestions, and do something about it. “They” can be you!

Join the board. Join a committee. Or just volunteer for one event. Start as small as you want. Just come make a difference.

Remember, Pride is only as good as the volunteers who create it. The Pride Society and the festivities we put on are 100 percent volunteer-run. We need you. Pride can’t happen without you.

This year, we need volunteers for everything from setting up the Pride Parade to directing its floats, to keeping its crowds safe. We also need volunteers for the post-parade festival at Sunset Beach, for Homopalooza, for Eastside Pride in June, for Pancakes for Pride, and for all the other events and fundraisers gearing up right now.

Everyone has something to offer. Direct traffic, flip pancakes, sell memberships, help organize an event. You can do a lot or you can do a little (preferably a lot). We need all of you.

So come feel the vibe and the excitement of being involved with a great group of dedicated individuals.

I know I’ve always enjoyed giving to our community. Putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak. Being the best that I can be. And meeting chicks.