To all members, volunteers and friends of AlterHéros,
It is with great emotion that I write this letter to announce my departure from AlterHéros. After 10 years of being involved in this great adventure, the time has come for me to give the torch to other volunteers.
In 10 years, much has changed both in my personal and professional life, and in the world in general. In 2002, the year I developed the first version of the website, it was the days before YouTube, blogs, Web 2.0, the advent of social networks and iPhones. It was also the time when gay marriage was just a dream and there was yet a National Day Against Homophobia in Québec. I remember when I designed the AlterHeros logo. I was still living in the basement of my parents and I worked on a computer with a 17″ CRT screen that I found so big! I was motivated by the desire to create something great to help gay youth and their families. I knew almost nothing yet about volunteering, let alone the LGBT community. My volunteer experiences were limited to one day of peeling potatoes in a center for the homeless. Armed with the support of my boyfriend at the time, Waseem, and with the help of some friends, I dove head first into this project. I had no clue that it would grow to this size and have such an impact, both in my personal and professional life. I did not imagine also that the project would become a real mission where I would invest almost all my free time and my energy.
Beyond these efforts and work, AlterHéros was for me an invaluable source of camaraderie and fun. It became somewhat my second family. It is through teamwork, openness and mutual respect that we have succeeded in creating the organization we know today. So thank you to all the volunteers who were involved and engaged in the organization. You created unforgettable moments for me! I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the commitment of people who have played a significant role for me in my involvement at AlterHeros: Julie-Maude, Francis, Veronique, Tiago, Christian, Rahul, Renaud, Jean-Pierre V., Jay Duc, Myrna, Waseem, Melanie H., Sebastien, Mathieu, Marilyn, Vi, Maghali, Alexis, Dimitri, Pierre, Claudy, Elysabeth L., Steve, Hugo V., Bruno, Eminé and Martin G. You have given me great inspiration and motivation. Thank you for being there and for shaping AlterHéros to your image.
The AlterHéros adventure offered me a number of challenges, which led me to places I’d never have thought. Through my involvement in this project, I was led to work with lots of community groups like Jeunesse Lambda and Project 10 who have been allies since our first contact. I met people just as passionate as me in their desire to advance the cause of sexual diversity and the fight against homophobia. I built floats, took a stand in public on numerous topics, hosted a radio show, attended several committees, round tables and meetings, exchanged with people from all backgrounds, designed promotional flyers, organized benefit concerts, managed teams, wrote grant applications, met with politicians, attended galas, you name it! In short, my commitment to AlterHéros has opened many doors and allowed me to achieve things beyond any expectations.
After a decade of involvement in this project, the time has come to give my place to others who will carry the organization elsewhere. Before leaving, I made sure, with my colleagues, that actions had been taken to ensure sustainability to the organization. I think of the fact that the organization has a solid structure of involvement, that the website is now based on open-source software like WordPress, that online courses are available for new volunteers, that support activities are organized several times a year and that a new comprehensive guide about the internal management of AlterHéros has been made available to administrators. In addition, thanks to financial support this year of several MPs and ministers from Quebec, the organization now relies on a stronger financial position than ever.
I am confident that the organization I now bequeath will be able to maintain this momentum and reach even more users and those in need. To get there, I invite all volunteers and fans to get involved at AlterHéros today to share their creativity, their time and energy with this great AlterHéros family. Many opportunities to get involved exist within the organization, both on the Board of Directors and on various teams. Simply contact AlterHéros by e-mail, through our social network or by completing the “Become a Volunteer” form.
When I started this project, I was animated by the words of Gandhi who said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” With AlterHéros, I was able to make a social change in the field of sexual diversity, which changed me forever. It’s your turn now to bring your color to AlterHéros! Thank you to each and everyone for the confidence you have shown me during all these years. Good luck and long life to AlterHéros!