By Taylor Davis

Taylor DavisAs someone who has been in Richmond for five years now, I was aware of Diversity prior to my internship. I had shopped in the thrift store. I had attended multiple community events in the wonderful event hall. I had passed the freshly painted building on the highway on many occasions. I had huge respect for what Diversity Richmond was doing for the LGBTQIA+ community. In obtaining my internship through the Masters of Social Work program at VCU, I was nervous, but excited to take on the new challenges that Diversity Richmond would bring.

At first glance, an individual may have difficulty understanding why a social worker would be placed here as we are not a direct service organization but upon further inspection, it is clear that Diversity is the epitome of social work. Helping individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community can sometimes feel like damage control. Often, the entire world seems out to get us and keep us down. But at Diversity, we acknowledge the hardships, celebrate the victories, and empower each other to move forward. Empowerment is the most important piece, not only in social work, but in all community work. Diversity Richmond does this incredibly well by offering the resources to the individuals and bringing their ideas to fruition.

I had the incredible honor of having one of my projects realized while interning here. The Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Care Package Program is something that I wanted to start for many months, but was unsure how to obtain the resources and momentum to actually start. In beginning my internship, I knew that this was the perfect environment for my project.

I have had nothing but support in helping to create these packages and delivering them to individuals in the Richmond area who are financially unable to afford the excruciating cost of transitioning. Within one month of the project launching, 14 packages have successfully been delivered. Seeing the smiles and warm hearts of the individuals when delivering these packages are memories that I will forever cherish and they would not have been possible with Diversity’s support. As an intern, I have felt respected, valued and cherished and I am deeply saddened to see my time here coming to a close. I would like to give a special shout out to Rodney Lofton for believing in me, being patient with me, and opening his heart to this internship experience. I will forever remember this experience and the skills I gained here and will carry the spirit of Diversity Richmond in my heart always.

To learn more about the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Care Package Program or to request a package, visit https://goo.gl/forms/TsR9gP7I3DW9VajY2