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Affirmations Welcomes Trio of New Team Members

Investment in development team to strengthen community programs and resources

Jason A. Michael
Affirmations LGBTQ+ community center in Ferndale has announced three new hires. The addition of Aneesa Alphonsus, Sara Krahel and Jules Fisher will bring the Affirmations team total to 17. It’s a remarkable accomplishment considering the impact of COVID-19, long-term closures and then limited hours, mask mandates and other related concerns over the past two years.

“When I first came back to Affirmations two and a half years ago, Affirmations had three hourly employees,” Affirmations Executive Director Dave Garcia told Pride Source. “One of these employees is still on the team today and now a manager.”

Alphonsus will serve as a community engagement coordinator for the center. She will ensure center guests are greeted and provided with necessary resources while assisting with operational and developmental activities. Fisher will provide direct support for COVID-19 focused endeavors as the center’s vaccine outreach coordinator. Finally, Krahel will become the center’s second mental health therapist, providing mental health intakes, assessment, treatment planning, and therapy.

“These new hires are the newest members of the Affirmations' team and they join an exciting and diverse staff,” Garcia said. “With a strong team, we have secured funding to professionalize the front desk and welcoming area of the center and to hire our second full-time licensed therapist to try to meet the growing behavioral health needs of our community.”

“We continue to have a waiting list for our expanding behavioral health program,” Garcia continued. “A more robust program can both meet the needs of the community and generate modest revenue for the center and help diversify revenue streams.”

Garcia, who left the center for two years and relocated to L.A. to work for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, said that most of the center’s hires since his return have been the result of securing new grants.

“I learned a lot in L.A., and one important lesson was ‘continued investment in the development team,’” said Garcia. “Without development, there are no programs.”

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