As we come out of the long cold of Wisconsin winter and into the spring, change is in the air. With the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center, that change brings with it some comings and goings on our Executive Board, including the departure of Dan Hardy, who has for years been steadfast in his work for the organization and for worthy causes throughout the Chippewa Valley. Before he steps back completely, though, he’s agreed to share some final words on his time with the Center.
How did you get involved in the Center?
My husband Jason was involved with the Center as Secretary and invited me to join for meetings and to work with him on Pride. Not too long after that I became a member of the board.
What was your biggest challenge as a Board Member?
Granted I think there are some obvious choices, like COVID, the State Theater debacle, having to say “no”, I think the biggest challenge about being a Board Member was feeling like you’re never able to do enough. There are so many challenges the community faces, and there just isn’t enough time and energy to devote to as many as I’d have liked. We get a lot of ideas and suggestions about what we should or could be doing. While it would be nice to do more, I’m grateful for what we did and what we are as an organization.
What has been your proudest moment as a Board Member?
When I first started as a member of the organization, we used a room in a religious building for meetings once a month. A physical location was something that seemed unobtainable. Through hard work and fundraising from previous board members like Jason Bennett and Kyle Lancet they helped to propel us to a point where we could afford to rent our own space. In my own way, as a Board Member it was part of my responsibility to agree or disagree to renting a space, and I agreed in a heartbeat. And while all that is great, my proudest moment was our very first support group meeting. People had heard about it and we had a much larger number of attendees than I thought. It was that moment I realized we were going to be offering the Community something they wanted and that we were going to be able to help the Community in a way that hadn’t been available before.
What advice would you give to people looking to get involved with making a difference?
Find something that is fulfilling to you. Do something that makes you enjoy making a difference. For some of us that means public speaking, or being on a board, or directing traffic at events. For others that might be writing letters to seniors, vacuuming the floor, or manning the call desk.
Nearly anything you do is valuable, and most especially to non-profit organizations that rely on volunteers for so many things.
If you’re looking to help LGBTQ+ people, join an LGBTQ+ Community group, if you love pets volunteer at the local shelter, if your passionate about youth become a big sibling. There are endless opportunities to make a difference today, you just have to look for it.
What do you hope to pass along to future members of the organization?
That it’s never easy, but it’s always important.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be concentrating on my small business which continues to grow, my family, and being politically aware of what is occurring in our state and nation while making sure all of my LGBTQIAPP2S siblings are treated with respect and dignity.
As you step into this next part of your journey, we want to thank you for your years of dedication and wish you all the very best. Thank you for everything and may your future endeavors be memorable, Dan!