Gay for Good Rocky Mountains celebrates Roaring Fork Valley anniversary | AspenTimes.com

Gay for Good Rocky Mountains celebrates Roaring Fork Valley anniversary

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

This weekend, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains celebrated its one-year anniversary of bringing LGBTQ community members together for humanitarian projects in the Roaring Fork Valley.

However, as chapter leader Steve Mills explained, bringing a Gay for Good chapter to the Western Slope was no easy task.

“All of the other chapters are in larger, metropolitan areas,” Mills said of the nonprofit organization, which from Los Angeles to New York City has 15 chapters across the U.S. “They didn’t have any track record to know if a rural chapter would be successful and so they had some hesitation approving our chapter. Ultimately they did and we have completely wowed them.”

Each month, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains partners with an area nonprofit for a community service project. Recent and upcoming events included picking up 170 lbs. of trash in Carbondale as well as building homes alongside Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s kind of a twofold approach,” Mills said. “We can bring the LGBTQ community and its allies together to meet each other and build synergy, but then also partner with nonprofits that have a need for volunteers.”

“It was a win-win.”

Today the local chapter, which welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and straight residents, has more than 200 members.

Born and Raised in Los Angeles, Mills previously volunteered for the City of Angels’ Gay for Good chapter. Inspired by the philanthropic work the L.A. chapter performed, Mills was further motivated to get a chapter up and running in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“It’s a great way to give back and it’s a great way to meet new people,” Mills said.

Formed shortly after the Lake Christine Fire’s outburst, one of Gay for Good Rocky Mountains’ first projects included beautifying Basalt High School’s grounds.

“It didn’t have any bells and whistles. It didn’t have anything super shiny. It was just something very subtle to just ease them into coming back to school after a pretty horrific summer with the fire,” Mills explained. “We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because we don’t need a pat on the back. We’re not looking to gloat. We just wanted to make it very subtle and just having something nice for when the kids arrived that day.”

Between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Carbondale’s Mountain Fair, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains will host a beverage tent as part of its annual fundraiser. All tips collected will go toward the nonprofit organization’s mission of bringing the LGBTQ community together to give back to the local communities it calls home.

Mills hopes that Gay For Good could further engage the local Latino community as well as partner with more with Colorado River Valley nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Silt and Rifle, in its second year.

“Positive interactions,” Mills said of what Gay for Good was all about. “At Gay for Good anyone is free to be who they want to be. And they know that there is no judgment, just pure love.

mabennett@postindependent.com


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