Uniting Pride finds new home, center at University YMCA

Non-profit+organization%2C+Uniting+Pride%2C+has+upgrading+to+a+bigger+location+for+their+offices+at+the+Universitys+YMCA+second+floor+on+Wright+Street.+

Photo courtesy of Nicole Frydman

Non-profit organization, Uniting Pride, has upgrading to a bigger location for their offices at the University’s YMCA second floor on Wright Street.

By Kylie Corral, Assistant buzz Editor

Founded in 2009, Uniting Pride, a year-round nonprofit, has called the University YMCA home for a while, occupying an office on the second floor of the building. However, the organization has recently found a bigger space on the first floor of the University YMCA.

Nicole Frydman, director of operations at Uniting Pride, said UP’s original office was in the basement of the YMCA, which then moved to the second floor. She added that neither of those offices was big enough to hold any real programming for Uniting Pride.

“People would call us the UP center,” Frydman said. “We didn’t really have a center, and that’s something that’s been on the board’s mind for many years — trying to figure out how to marry that concept with the name.”

Frydman said the organization wanted to lean into the Uniting Pride name — instead of focusing on the idea of a center — but she didn’t think it was a good solution.

“The biggest issue, of course, is money, because as a tiny, local nonprofit, we are always trying to figure out how to get funding to serve the community best,” she said. “And with limited funds available, you’ve got to make some tough decisions about: where do we put this money, what will actually benefit community members, what are the major priorities versus things that maybe can wait?”

Frydman said that it was the University YMCA that came to Uniting Pride, bringing with them the idea and opportunity to move to the bigger space on the first floor.

“And so the University Y(MCA) leadership came to us with the idea of an office swap and that we could take the space downstairs, and it just was serendipity that they brought this idea to us right around the time when we were having lots of these kinds of conversations,” Frydman said.

Frydman said that although Uniting Pride’s ultimate goal is to have a standalone center for the organization, she is happy for this baby step in the journey. She added that members of the nonprofit are excited about this baby step, having moved last June to occupy its new space.

“We have various programs and things in the space already,” Frydman said. “We’ve had several of our support groups already meeting in the space, which is awesome. And we’ve been able to offer some services that we haven’t been able to offer in the past. So, we’ve now got office hours where people can come in anytime they want without making an appointment. We can also have people make appointments outside of those hours.”

On Aug. 29, Uniting Pride held an open house to introduce members of the community to its new space. Frydman added that this celebratory event was highly successful as well.

“I would estimate 80 to 100 different people came in and out during that time, and really, it was such a positive, joyful experience,” she said. “Lots of people excited to see where we’ve been and where we’re coming to now. Talk about what the future holds, reuniting pride but also just to have a moment of community where we can all gather and mark an occasion. It felt a little bit like kicking off the year in a fun way.”

Valena Hedin, a member of the Board of Directors at Uniting Pride, also said Uniting Pride is excited about the bigger space because it will allow the organization to expand its programming this year.

“We also are excited to be able to have, you know, lots of beautiful wall space to feature local queer artists and even you know, right now we’re featuring a local artist Marc-Anthony Macon, and he has made some beautiful, vibrant art for us, and it is currently featured in our office and available to purchase,” they said. “So if you are ever near the University YMCA during our operating hours and want to check out his artwork, please do.”

Hedin said since Uniting Pride is so centrally located, there is more of an opportunity for people to come in whenever they have time.

“Because we are more centrally located now, we also are able to provide, you know, if people just want to stop in and check out our literature, talk to us about something just, have a safe and calm place to hang out for a little bit,” Hedin said. “We’re, you know, able to do that as well now. We’re excited about all these new things we’re able to do because of this space.”

Hedin also added that now Uniting Pride launched its Eat Up program and has plenty of literature and handouts like free condoms for students, lots of things for learning and socializing.

“It is just a beautiful, super cheerful space to be in and we’re excited to show it off to people,” they said

 

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