Creating a stronger voice
The Wimmera Pride Project is searching for volunteers to join its newly formed committee as it expands in 2019.
The project was started in 2015 to give a voice to the Wimmera’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and gender non-binary – LGBTI – community.
It was founded and run by Horsham’s Maddi Ostapiw and Loucas Vettos, who are looking to expand its operations to include more people.
Ms Ostapiw said people with a range of skills and life experiences were encouraged to consider joining.
“What we want are people who have a passion for LGBTI acceptance and will be able to come on board and help us work out what we’ll be doing in the future,” she said.
“We’d love to have people with professional skills like media, financial or administration knowledge, but what we really want is the lived experience of being part of the LGBTI community or supporting it.
“In order to be totally representative we need the voices of transgender people, gay men, lesbian women, parents who have supported their children through coming out, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.
“If we get more people on board who have differing opinions, who have different skills, who are a different cross-section of the LGBTI community or the ally community, they’re really going to make us a strong voice for progress within the Wimmera.”
Ms Ostapiw said she and Mr Vettos were proud of the work they had done establishing the Wimmera Pride Project, but were equally excited to expand it. She said the organisation currently had an interim committee of about six people.
“We have a lot of amazing projects on the way,” she said.
“We have a consultant on board who is going to help us work out the direction of our new committee, so it’s quite an exciting time.”
Ms Ostapiw encouraged people who were passionate about LGBTI issues to consider volunteering to join the committee.
“We want to be a community group that represents our community and puts us in a place where we can truly make a difference in the future,” she said.
“At the moment we would be happy for anybody interested in being part of the committee to contact us and sit in on our committee meetings as a guest so that they can get an idea about how it works and gauge their interest.
“Committees can be some effort, particularly when you’re trying to get something off the ground and build it as we are at the moment.
“We’ve also got some money from grants right now, so if people don’t necessarily have the skills to fit into a certain role, we can put some training into helping them gain skills.”
Some skills the Wimmera Pride Project is looking for are: photography and editing; administration; finance and fundraising; grant writing; event planning; and advocacy.
People wanting more information or interested in joining the committee can call Ms Ostapiw on 0437 244 468 or visit Facebook page The Wimmera Pride Project.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: Volunteer Patrick Quaine, left, and Wimmera Pride Project joint-founder Loucas Vettos are inviting people to take ownership of the project. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER