Dr. For­rest Shearin

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - Special Feature -

Re­tire­ment for some means a slow­ing pace of life. How­ever, there are a se­lect few that view it as a time to grab the reigns and con­tinue work­ing just as hard, only in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. For­tu­nately, with an early re­tire­ment, Dr. For­rest G. Shearin had his pas­sion and time in place, al­low­ing him to gain the propen­sity to achieve new am­bi­tions.

Al­though raised in a small town of East­ern North Carolina, Shearin’s goals spanned be­yond the small town he had called home. His path led him to an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree from Wake For­est, a Mas­ter’s De­gree and a Doc­tor­ate in Coun­sel­ing and Ed­u­ca­tional Psy­chol­ogy from the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity, all fol­lowed by a year of post-grad­u­ate study at Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity.

Shearin then worked for 25 years with the Mont­gomery County, Mary­land Pub­lic Schools. As a strong pres­ence in his work­force, there was a time where Shearin viewed vol­un­teerism as “busy work.” How­ever, with re­tire­ment on the hori­zon, Shearin’s per­cep­tion changed. He was now drawn to the world of vol­un­teerism, view­ing it as a pro­fes­sional tran­si­tion.

Spending half of his life in de­nial of his sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, Shearin chose to de­vote his time to seek­ing vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties with or­ga­ni­za­tions of­fer­ing pro­grams in the Les­bian Gay Bi­sex­ual Trans­gen­der com­mu­nity.

Hav­ing moved to Palm County 20 years ago with his part­ner, Jef­frey Sch­warz, Shearin was asked in 1994 by the then ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for Com­pass to lead and fa­cil­i­tate a “com­ing out group.” Which he de­scribes as, “a sup­port group for gay men, les­bians, bi­sex­u­als and ques­tion­ing in­di­vid­u­als

Shearin found his di­rec­tion when he de­voted his life to vol­un­teer­ing for a char­i­ta­ble cause. With his in­her­ent drive and his pas­sion for the im­prove­ment of life­style for gays, Shearin is help­ing oth­ers find their di­rec­tion; like a ‘Com­pass,’ his sup­port group helps oth­ers nav­i­gate through the mud­dled wa­ters of so­ci­ety to find their own voice and be heard.

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