Goodbye as Intermediate Coordinator (For now, but I will be back)

Alas, the time has come that we part ways….

I cannot even picture what my Wednesday evenings will be like now.

This group has been my saviour this year; helping me through a lot of tough decisions, and also created amazing friendships, working relationships, and allies/contacts for the future. I have gained so much experience from these youth and the organization as a whole.

Starting off as a Youth Educator for the Creating Safer Spaces was a great way to begin my work, introducing me to the Queer 101 and advocacy route of the organization, which was really the rock of it all. Jade was a greater leader for this program, and although she is leaving for bigger and better things, what her efforts and awesomeness has done for the organization will always remain. I hope to work with you in the near future again, Jade. You are a great role model for me and I would be ecstatic to be able to accomplish  half of what you have.

Kayla, you have been a great volunteer coordinator; you were always easy to talk to, approachable, and an awesome individual that made training and volunteering here a blast! Keep up the good work, because you have done so much. The gala was phenomenal, and happy that it was my first (and definitely not last).

After taking an absence from the Creating Safer Spaces project, I started facilitating PTY as a Junior Coordinator and eventually became an Intermediate Coordinator. I was still new to queer spaces and leadership roles within youth gatherings, but Jessie, Alex, Kiel, Kevin, and Precious made me feel very welcomed and I adjusted. I felt so welcomed by them and happy to be considered a facilitator for their group, and included in their group of friends. PTY was the hugest learning experience for me; learning about a vast collection of queer issues, leadership skills, and facilitation skills. As I researched and taught these youth, I was learning and expanding my educational horizons to non-heteronormative concepts and debates. I personally took great interests in trans research, and will continue to research about trans identities and gender throughout my university career and life in general.

PTS remains and will remain an excellent organization because of the remarkable Executive Director, Claudia. We developed an amazing relationship on the work-level and personal level. I learned a lot from you directly, and we shared a lot of similarities. As we both have an educational background in Sexuality Studies, we have a common understanding of privilege, language, and heteronormativity. You are my mother hen that accepted me for who I was throughout my work at PTS. Most of all, I will miss our chats in your office as we bitched about life and being queer. I also look up to you very much and hope someday to work with you in a closer respect.

I owe a huge thank you to Ben Diaz, for without him I would not have gotten involved at PTS. I was really hoping to continue working with you in QPOC-IT, but my school schedule does not allow it. You really have great charisma that demands attention and holds interest in the groups you facilitate; you have been a great senior coordinator to work with.

I don’t know what my Wednesday evenings will be like, and what I consume myself with, but I know that it will be hard to cope with this gap. PTS and PTY have consumed a huge part of my heart and I grew in many ways and respect and love the organization.

I thank you all again for this amazing opportunity. This year was a great one thanks to PTS and those in the organization that helped me grow. I will be coming back to visit often, and will come help out with PTY when I am finished school, if I am still in Ottawa (I may be going to YorkU to continue into Social Work).

Best regards,

Feras Ridha

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