Last month The Center announced the appointment of André C. Wade as the new Executive Director of The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.
“We are excited to have André step into the leadership role for The Center” said Wayne Cassard, President of the board. “André’s countless years of service to Southern Nevada show his passion is ignited for bringing The Center to new heights, and we are looking forward to seeing how he can help us grow to reach more people in Southern Nevada.”
André’s most recent role had been the Director of Operations for The Center where he oversaw daily operations and worked on obtaining grants for our various programs to benefit the lives of members of the LGBTQ community in Southern Nevada.
QLife met with Wade following the announcement for an update to get more details about him, the current state of The Center and additional details on his vision for The Center.
“I am excited and honored to have this opportunity to lead The Center at a pivotal moment in its history and experience as we build upon our foundation and look toward new opportunities,” Wade said. “We are going to get right down to business and begin building for a stronger future so that we can better serve the thousands of people who rely on the work and services The Center provides each day.”
André holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nevada of Las Vegas. Before coming to The Center, André worked with Clark County Family Services and was approached by The Center for the role of Director of Operations in 2014. Also, André served on the Las Vegas HRC Steering Committee in 2008 and served on the National Advisory Council for HRC All Children All Families, and the advisory council for Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Foundation.
One of the current programs that has leveraged André's experience with LGBTQ policies and practice includes a new Family Acceptance program. This new program is modeled after a similar program in San Francisco. The 6-week program brings family members together where parents learn to accept their LGBTQ children and the kids learn to have a positive identity. Currently, 6 families are engaged in the program that started March 1. The second program begins in mid-April and already has a waitlist.
Several months ago The Center received a donation of a new facility in Henderson. André disclosed that The Center has elected to focus solely on the existing Maryland Parkway facility instead of taking on the financial burden of maintaining the annex facility.
Additional changes are under consideration. André wants to focus on rebuilding and to retool current offerings to develop deeper, more focused programs instead of broad, shallow programs. "We do a lot, but not everyone knows what we do," said Wade. "The Center isn't for everyone, and that's okay." What's important to André is expanding visibility to Boulder City, Henderson, and Summerlin. "The Center is a community-based organization that serves low-to-moderate income and those looking for alternative spaces to meet people other than bars.," added André.
Not everyone knows what The Center does. "We get calls from social services agencies that have their conception about what we do," said André. There's a perception that The Center is all things to everyone. "When we do those things we lose focus. We want to build relationships with other organizations." Other agencies need to be able to lean on The Center as a resource, not as a primary service provider.
Over the coming weeks, André says that The Center will be re-evaluating its hours of operation. Current hours have become too much to manage and reducing hours will improve safety concerns in the neighborhood.
The Center will be hosting an “Open House-Fiesta” to celebrate its four-year anniversary of service to the LGBTQ community from our Robert Forbuss Campus in Las Vegas, NV on April 8, 2017.
The open house will consist of a community yard sale beginning at 8:00 a.m. followed by a wellness fair and fun zone beginning at 10:00 a.m. To keep the party going, entertainment and food trucks will be available starting at 11:00 a.m. with giveaways and raffle prizes galore! "If you've never been, come to The Center, learn about the programs and services. We need support from donors. Visit us online, call us, come in so you can see where your dollars are going," says André.
The Center is a non-profit organization that relies on continuous donations. All services provided by The Center are free. Each year The Center hosts "The Honorarium," its annual fundraiser. This year's event is currently planned for October.
With André’s promotion, The Center thanked Michael Dimengo for his tenure as the Chief Executive Officer and accepted his resignation. Michael stated that “Serving in this role under the direction of the Board of Directors has been a privilege of a lifetime. After some much-needed relaxation, I look forward to joining The Center in a volunteer capacity in the near future”.