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About Affirmations
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Centrally located in vibrant downtown Ferndale, just a mile from the Detroit border, Affirmations is the center for LGBT activities throughout the community. In keeping with its vision, Affirmations is the hub of the community, celebrating wellness, personal growth and development, centered in a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility that is financially secure.

Because of its ability to change and meet community needs, Affirmations, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has become not only the largest LGBT organization in Michigan, but also one of the ten largest in the United States.

Programs include Advocacy, Culture and Society, Growth and Development, Health and Wellness, Recreation and Partnerships. Resources at the center include our toll-free Helpline, the Pittmann-Puckett Art Gallery, Game Room, General Motors Foundation Media Center and Bayard Rustin Library, Mental Health Services, Internship Program and our Volunteer and Leadership Development program.

Vision
Affirmations is an evolving community center where all who gather are embraced and are free to be their authentic selves.



Philosophy

Affirmations Community Center was founded on the philosophy that "gay is good, you are not alone." This philosophy has expanded to include bisexual and transgender individuals, in addition to lesbians and gay men. Affirmations strives to create an atmosphere of safety and acceptance for all people. Our focus is on helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals find and develop community where they value and respect themselves and others. Affirmations philosophy promotes the principle of empowerment and educates volunteers to utilize strength-based and holistic approaches. Through training in the basic operations of the center, listening, communication, empathy, problem solving, facilitation, and other appropriate skills, interested and dedicated individuals can successfully volunteer at Affirmations.

Empowerment is the experience of feeling our power to effect change and create the life we were meant to live. We recognize one's ability to make one's own decisions and to live a rewarding and fulfilling life in ways that do not harm others. Affirmations programs and services allow people to discover their power and utilize it to become alive and whole in their lives.

Holistic approaches to programs and services at Affirmations help to counter the impact of heterosexism and homophobia. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people still live in a world that does not always recognize and honor our identities. We believe that people are more than any one aspect of their identity such as sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, race, class, education, religion, physical ability or other personal characteristics. Affirmations programs and services are designed in a way that allows for the opportunity to integrate one's sexual orientation and gender identity into all aspects of one's life.

Strength-based approaches recognize that as a community, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have the ability to meet their human needs. We work to counter the homophobic and heterosexist messages that indicate LGBT people are somehow deficient. Affirmations programs and services help to reinforce the wholeness, strength, and resiliency of LGBT people.Affirmations staff and volunteers are dedicated to enacting this philosophy.

Holistic approaches to programs and services at Affirmations help to counter the impact of heterosexism and homophobia. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people still live in a world that does not always recognize and honor our identities. We believe that people are more than any one aspect of their identity such as sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, race, class, education, religion, physical ability or other personal characteristics. Affirmations programs and services are designed in a way that allows for the opportunity to integrate one's sexual orientation and gender identity into all aspects of one's life.


Strength-based approaches recognize that as a community, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have the ability to meet their human needs. We work to counter the homophobic and heterosexist messages that indicate LGBT people are somehow deficient. Affirmations programs and services help to reinforce the wholeness, strength, and resiliency of LGBT people.Affirmations staff and volunteers are dedicated to enacting this philosophy.

To this end, we strive to be a neutral space where a safe dialogue can occur about issues that are of importance to the LGBTQA community. Inevitably, as a diverse and inclusive community, there will be times when views and perspectives differ. It is Affirmations' unique and special mission to be a gathering place where these conversations can happen openly and respectfully. We as an organization are committed to providing this open space and will continue to do our best to hold true to our mission and be a place where we can evolve, learn and grow.

History

1989. Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center was formed to serve the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and questioning individuals in Southeastern Michigan. During our first two years of operation, the organization was run entirely by volunteers. Originally known simply as the "switchboard," the first service offered to the LGBT community was a toll-free Helpline for information and referral, 1-800-398-GAYS (4297), which still exists today.

1991. Affirmations appointed its first Executive Director, Jan Stevenson. Under her leadership, group offerings expanded to include bisexual women's rap group, coming out groups, men's rap, silver foxxes, young men's group, youth group and many more. It also became the home for 12-step groups specifically designed for those who were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

1992. The Pittmann-Puckett Art Gallery was opened and established in the name of Susan Pittmann and Christine Puckett, two co-founders of Affirmations who were murdered by their neighbor in an apparent hate crime. The first-ever LGBT youth prom was also held this year at Backstreet.

1994. The Youth Services Program experienced tremendous growth and was able to meet community needs, due in large part to the estate of the late Carl Rippenberger, who left a $150,000 donation to Affirmations. By the end of 1995, youth services accounted for 50% of Affirmations' staff and 35% of the center's usable space.1995. Affirmations' first Executive Director, Jan Stevenson, resigned in

1995 to become the publisher of Michigan's statewide LGBT newspaper, Between The Lines. Julie Enzer became Affirmations' second Executive Director and served for the next two years.

2000. Leslie Thompson became Affirmations' Executive Director, and was charged with revitalizing the organization.

2001. The Board of Directors decided to move forward with a feasibility study to determine the capacity of the local community to support the building of a new home for Affirmations.

2002. The Health Services Program was launched, providing information and resources such as weight reduction and smoking cessation classes, to target the health disparities faced by LGBT people.

2003. After a positive outcome on the feasibility study, the Board of Directors voted to move forward with plans to build a new community center. Launched on Valentine's Day, Affirmations created a Domestic Partnership Registry. Later, in collaboration with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), Affirmations' Domestic Partnership Registry was used to offer healthcare benefits to partners of employees with this insurance plan. Later that year, the award-winning group Coming Out Over Coffee developed and quickly gained a successful reputation.

2006. The Capital Campaign fundraising goal of $5.3 million was successfully met with the help of landmark contributions from all of the "Big 3" automotive companies. Affirmations launched two new programs: Civic Engagement and Social & Recreation.

2007. Affirmations moved into its new, 17,000-square-foot building, reopening for business on April 9th. The new building design included environmentally friendly features, cyber cafe with 15 public-access computers and free wireless internet, a beautiful two-story art gallery, an outdoor rooftop sky deck and library & media center.

Mission
Affirmations provides a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, and cultures can find support and unconditional acceptance, and where they can learn, grow, socialize and have fun.
 
 
Bylaws
View Affirmations complete listing of its bylaws and amended articles and stay up to date with recent changes.
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