New LGBT community center opens in Visalia

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The South Valley is getting a first of its kind LGBT+ center.

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Visalia, you can find a community center that epitomizes acceptance.

"It can be difficult to be an out LTBT+ person," Nick Vargas with the center explained. "It can still be difficult here or that's the perception and a lot of people aren't ready to make that public yet."

Their motto says it all.

"A lot of times, kids these days feel safe with their friend's peers and don't really feel they need access to services," director Brian Poth said. "But we want to be here for families, siblings, parents, teachers."

Aiming towards providing a safe place for the LGBT+ community, Vargas and Poth are opening the doors to the source.

"I think that everybody, nowadays, knows at least one person that identifies as LGBT and knows that this area has needed something like this for a long time," Poth said.

In addition to providing access to services, volunteers are trained in crisis and suicide prevention as well as LGBT friendly communication.

"That means just inclusive speech using the correct pronouns for our transgender clients and someone who's here that knows the resources you may be seeking," Poth explained.

It's safe to say the source is getting a warm welcome in the South Valley. The Tazzaria even gave them their own rainbow coffee blend that was 50 percent off with the proceeds benefitting the center.

"It really has been a blessing that the community has come together it's a community driven effort to create this," Vargas said.

The non-profits grand opening is Friday, May 6.
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