FERNDALE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Affirmations a welcoming space for all people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expression.
“Affirmations to me provided a safe space for me as I was going through some major life changes, um to, kind of regroup, retool and reimagine my life,” said John Joanette.
John Joanette was a part of the Affirmations in the 1990s, moved away and four years ago came home to Michigan and became a group leader at the center.
“This is an entry point for so many people coming out, our youth are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in our community,” said Joanette.
He is now the Director of Development at Affirmations - A community center for all ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and cultures to find acceptance and support in a welcoming environment.
“We’re here to support you moving forward as a person living your authentic life,” said Joanette.
In 2018 --- 30,000 individuals came to the center for events, activities and programs. The non-profit thrives with the help of the community.
“The volunteers are really the core of how we deliver services, said Joanette.
“I wanted somewhere, where I could be completely myself,” explains Michael Hovey.
Michael Hovey kept it a private that he was gay his whole career.
“It’s been a struggle through my life to do what I wanted to do and at the same time be who I am,” said Hovey.
Two years ago Hovey retired from his job.
“And when I finally retired, I made a b-line for this place,” said Hovey.
Volunteering and helping others find their own way.
“I like to hear the stories and that’s what people find here with our volunteers especially with staff, a listening ear,” said Hovey.
Ferndale represents the highest concentration of LGBTQ + folks in the state but affirmations serves all Southeastern Michigan.
“It’s not just that we’re serving the people that walk in our doors, but we are literally serving the whole community,” said Hovey.
Affirmations-creating a safe place for everyone!
“We’re an oasis. We’re a place to feel comfortable and refreshed,” said Hovey.
For more information on their Fall Fling on Oct. 26, click here.