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June 2021 Staff Spotlight

Three cheers for our June Staff Spotlight Award winner, Yaritsa Perez (any pronouns with respect)! Yaritsa, who has been with us since October 2019, is IYG’s Youth and Training Specialist. Prior to joining the team, they had heard a great deal about the organization and followed us closely; so when a position opened up, she took it as a sign to apply. When they were hired, Yaritsa considered it to be a dream come true: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could be out in the workplace. Not only am I out, but I am surrounded by coworkers that feel like family members.” As the Youth and Training Specialist, Yaritsa has the opportunity to educate people about the LGBTQ+ community and work with them to become strong, active allies. “I get to share the stories about our community - our history, our joys, our struggles. Growing up, I didn't have access to stories about people that looked like me and shared my identity. I thought coming out meant that I would lose my family and my community. I found so much support in my mom and my siblings, and their love made me fearless. I'm in a place where I get to show other queer Latinx youth and adults that you can be yourself and be celebrated. There's a place for you in the world. Every day is an opportunity to work towards a better, safer future for all but especially QTPOC. Above all, I'm lucky enough to work with our youth. Our youth are some of the most amazing individuals and I feel honored to witness how they create community. We have so much to learn from them.” In addition to their passion for LGBTQ+ and QTPOC advocacy, Yaritsa is also a plant fanatic. In fact, she claims that she found herself buying a plant anytime she felt blue during quarantine; however, she had to kick the habit when her wallet said, “please stop.”

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