AIDS Walk Kansas City is a great opportunity to stretch your legs and support a good cause. And there are lots of other ways to serve our community as well. This month I interviewed Felicia Kyle, the new director of operations at LIKEME Lighthouse, Kansas City’s LGBT community center. Please consider volunteering with LIKEME or other LGBT organizations in the area.
1. You recently took over the position of director of operations at LIKEME Lighthouse, but you’ve worked with the organization prior to this new appointment. How did you come to LIKEME Lighthouse?
I had facilitated a lesbian book group for six years and felt ready to do something different. I was still wanting to contribute, specifically within the LGBT community, which brought me to LIKEME Lighthouse. My mindset when I first volunteered was linked to what I learned growing up with my five siblings: Do your best, expect nothing, and practice cooperation. As I worked alongside like-minded, good, caring people, the LIKEME Lighthouse became home for me. I want the sense of comfort, support and community I felt to be a reality for everyone. That is what drives me forward.
2. What does the position of director of operations entail?
In my work as director of operations, I may have an agenda for my day, but rarely do I have a predictable day. I may need to talk to someone about an event taking place while simultaneously taking a call from someone needing approval on logo placement for a promotional campaign. Being a director is prioritizing, it’s a checklist, it’s being flexible, and it’s accepting that how you work affects others. And, most important, it is recognizing what works.
3. How is LIKEME Lighthouse involved with AIDS Walk Kansas City?
Elizabeth Andersen, Willow Parsons and Ryan Zeller shared the event on our social media sites. Not only did our board contribute, but Willow set up a team on the website, and our $1,000 fundraising goal was met with an amazing effort from Kenbra Deere.
4. How does LIKEME serve the Kansas City area’s LGBT youth population?
LIKEME Lighthouse provides volunteer service hours to students and intern opportunities. Scholarships for on-site counseling are available through the generous gift of Gavette Burch. Resource information, community event postings, a computer lab, and the opportunity to reserve our space are offered. We best serve by providing a safe and welcoming place to come to.
5. What are the LIKEME Lighthouse’s upcoming projects?
Our board has set goals. Our current focus is on improvements we can make. We also hope to develop at least four new educational events in the next year. We are taking small, steady steps in our growth.
6. What are the organization’s biggest needs right now?
Volunteers. We need know-how, can-do, will-do, and help in particular areas like event planning or graphic design. An hour of someone’s time and talent in specialized areas can make us more efficient. The operation of a community center is much like the running of a household, only magnified. We need practical matters attended to like setup and breakdown for events. Our strength is linking to everyone who contributes. A list of needs/wishes can be found on the homepage of our website.
7. Are you involved in other groups or organizations in the Kansas City area?
My volunteer time is dedicated to LIKEME Lighthouse. I have friendships within the community, but my involvement is solely focused on the work I am currently doing.
8. What are some of your other interests?
Listening to TED Talks is a new addition to my interests. I am inspired by summarizing statements by experienced, smart, dedicated people who speak on what they deeply care about. I have a longtime habit of reading, but honestly I do less of that than I used to given my schedule. I walk daily.
9. What are you most looking forward to doing this summer?
A perfect ending to a summer day is sitting on the porch swing, eating an ice cream. I look forward to simple moments.
10. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
That’s a cinch – Paris.