Cathy & Dan
I’m a social worker by training, and have been working in social work for my entire adult career. When I came to work at Pathfinders eight years ago I kept hearing people talk about the “LGBTQ” youth we were serving. I knew “LGBT” but didn’t know what they meant by “Q,” so after a while I went to Cathy to ask her what this meant. as it queer? Questioning? Cathy told me it could mean either, and I was relieved that she didn’t treat it as a stupid question. In our work we serve a large number of homeless and runaway youth, about one-third of whom are LGBTQ.
I have worked with a lot of LGBT colleagues over the years, and Cathy has helped me gain so much understanding of the unique needs of the LGBTQ youth we serve. It took me a while to develop enough understanding to clearly articulate to our donors – some of whom are very conservative — the needs of these young people we serve.
Cathy has been such an important support through a number of transitions we’ve gone through as an agency. We can talk to each other about anything that comes up because that level of trust, understanding and professionalism is there.
We work with so many youth who need to be able to come in and have just one place to be themselves, and be “out,” if they are LGBTQ. As a team of LGBT and allied people, we have created a safe space for youth. When young people walk through the doors, they know something is different. They know the door is open to everyone; the tent is big here.
Pathfinders draws added strength from the LGBT people who work here, like Cathy.