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News / 2018 / February / Volunteer Spotlight Tom Emmett
February 1, 2018
Volunteer Spotlight Tom Emmett

Tom was kind enough to answer some questions about his experience with IYG.

When and how did you first get involved with IYG?

I first became involved with IYG about a year and a half ago when I met with Mary Byrne and Buffy Adams to discuss possible volunteer opportunities during my upcoming retirement. Living in Indianapolis since the mid-1970s, I had been aware of IYG and the great work it had been doing, but as I neared retirement, I wanted to devote more time and resources to the LGBTQ community and support the welcoming environment that had first been established at the 46th Street location and would be continuing at the new Activity Center on Meridian.

What does your day-to-day involvement as a volunteer look like?

I have been volunteering on Fridays for several months (except when there are Pacer games 😊), but since the first of the year I've also volunteered on most Wednesdays. I usually arrive around 3 PM and stay until 7 or 8, but hours can be very flexible. I spend most of my time in the kitchen setting up premeal snacks, assisting with serving the main meal, and doing various clean-up jobs. Its central location makes the kitchen a great place to chat with the youth and other volunteers as they arrive. I contribute one meal per month from a local restaurant and, as part of that, heat up mac and cheese as a side dish (which is the extent of my cooking abilities). When needed, I've been a room monitor on occasion, and in the near future, I hope to attend more of the open programming sessions.

What inspires you to work so hard for LGBTQ+ youth?

I'm inspired most of all by the youth, who are always respectful and appreciative of volunteer efforts. I've been incredibly impressed by how welcoming they are to new youth and their families and how they clearly thrive on the friendships they have created with one other. I'm inspired by the staff, who are true professionals and always available to address personal problems a youth might have and provide needed services and referrals. I'm inspired by the collegial relationships that develop among the volunteers and how we all seem to fit together for a common purpose. Finally, I'm inspired by the opportunity to support an organization that has had such an enduring and positive influence on LGBTQ youth in our community.

What do you look forward to this year after so much has changed at IYG?

With the spacious new Activity Center, new staff, and great leadership, I look forward to the future expansion of services to address the needs of homeless youth, to the development of the outside green space for summer activities, to greater interactions with the now-all-in-one-place staff, and to opportunities for my own personal development. I'd like to continue my life-long learning into health-related issues affecting LGBTQ youth, particularly the transgender community, and also explore the possibility of updating my mentoring skills in math and science.


Thank you Tom for your time and dedication to creating a safe space for the LGBTQ youth of Indianapolis to be themselves!