The LGBT+ Center Orlando to open second location in Kissimmee

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc.’s board of directors announced April 6 that they will be expanding into Osceola County with an LGBT+ Center in Kissimmee.

The new expansion is a result of a donation from the Contigo Fund, an initiative of Our Fund Foundation that emerged from the Pulse massacre. Program Director Marco Antonio Quiroga said, in a press release, that the Contigo Fund recognizes the road to recovery for the survivors continues, and will continue for years to come.

“We commend The Center Orlando for their remarkable leadership in the immediate recovery,” Quiroga said. “An expansion of LGBTQ services and community spaces in Osceola County to support the predominantly Puerto Rican underserved community, which half of the Pulse victims called home, we see as critical to our mission.

“For all those directly and deeply affected by the Pulse massacre, it’s still very real,” he continued. “The trauma is still there. The disparities these LGBTQ communities of color face are deep and historic. The journey to healing and empowerment is a very long one. It’s not over. This is why The Center Kissimmee is so important.”

The Contingo Fund grant is in the amount of $26,148, which will go a long way to helping meet The Center’s fundraising goal of $75,000.

“It is our goal to raise an additional $40,000 over the next few months so we may open a fully operational Center serving the greater Osceola area, in particular, the LatinX community,” said The Center’s executive director George Wallace.

A website has been established to help raise the additional funds.

“I am so excited to share with you the goal to expand services of The Center Orlando into Osceola County,” Wallace states in a letter posted on the website. “In the first quarter of 2018, nearly 30% of people who utilized our free HIV and Hepatitis C screenings call Osceola County their home. It is obvious that services are needed in and around Kissimmee. I know that The Center will be the perfect addition to the landscape of Osceola County and we have four decades of history serving Central Florida.”

The board has yet to announce a location for the new center but have said that it will house free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, local support groups, a cyber center and counseling services.

“We are very excited to expand operations with an LGBT Center in Kissimmee and look forward to serving Osceola County as a safe place that will mirror the Center Orlando by offering educational opportunities, support and clinical services”, said Board President Jeff Buak.

The Center Kissimmee is expected to open its doors by Aug. 1. For more information, or to make a donation , visit TheCenterOrlando.org/Kissimmee.

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