OUTside Pride Event – Kaweah Oaks Preserve and the LGBT community


Visalia Pride Lions, theSOURCE LGBT+ Center, PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties, and COS Pride will join forces with the Sequoia Riverlands Trust for a Saturday morning of public service. Members of the LGBT+ community are invited (so are you, it’s an inclusive event!) to spend the morning working to improve the Outside Creek portion of the Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

The operation begins Saturday morning, April 29, 2017, at 9am. Gather at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve, on Road 182, just north of Highway 198. There’s going to be a BBQ afterwards, at noon, so please register on the Facebook event page, here.

Bring work gloves, wear long pants and sturdy shoes, layered work clothing, and be ready to get dirty!

Info: sequoiariverlands.org

Scholarship opportunities for LGBT+ youth

Scholarship pic

TheSOURCE LGBT+ Center and PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties have scholarships available for students entering accredited colleges, universities, and trade schools.

Eligible students are those who are LGBT+ or allies, have demonstrated support for the LGBT+ community by community service, and meet other criteria. (Check each organization for particulars)

PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties application can be found at their Facebook page, in the ‘files’ section (here). 2 – 3 $500 scholarships are available.  Applications are due by April 30, 2017. High School and Community College counselors have applications available. Email questions to pflagtularekings@gmail.com. Message phone 559-579-1101

TheSOURCE LGBT+ Center has two (2) $250 scholarships available. Applications are due by May 31, 2017. A downloadable PDF of the application form is available here. You can also pick up an application at the center’s office, 208 W. Main St, Suite B (downstairs), Visalia. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 3pm till 6pm.  (The Source is closed until Tuesday April 25 for remodeling work.) Email questions to scholarship@thesourcelgbt.org.  Phone 559-429-4277

PFLAG provides a safe and confidential space place to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity, and works to build a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity. There is no cost to attend, and membership is optional.

PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.

At theSOURCE LGBT+ Center, our MISSION is to provide spaces within our communities for the LGBT+ population to
Learn, Grow, Belong, Transform, Question + Support.

Our VISION is to cultivate new resources through advocacy, partnerships and fundraising to unite and advance the LGBT+ community in Tulare & Kings Counties. 

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

National Telecommunicators Week


This is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and dispatchers and calltakers across the country will be recognized for their dedicated work. The true first first responders, 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers are the front lines, manning the phones and radios 24/7/365. The central clearing point for every emergency service organization, telecommunicators are the ones who receive calls from the public, often when an emergency is in progress, gather information, determine which resources to send, and dispatch those resources, sometimes all at the same time.

This week, the central valley dispatch centers will host a Dispatcher Appreciation Banquet, in Fresno. Dispatchers of the Year will be recognized by each agency, usually selected by the winner’s peers.

Often the only time the public hears anything about dispatchers is when something goes wrong. They seldom hear of the daily operations that save lives and property, the apprehension of criminals, and the discharge of routine services to the public. In thousands of 9-1-1 dispatch centers around the nation, and other centers around the world, dispatchers and call takers keep essential services running smoothly and efficiently, while working nights, weekends, holidays, and even during inclement weather that keeps everything else from moving.

A tip of my headset (coming up on 23 years as a 9-1-1 dispatcher with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office) to all my peers. They really couldn’t do it without you.

Disclaimer: Not an official statement of any kind from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. See their Facebook page for the TCSO tribute to 9-1-1 dispatchers, here.

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center approaches 1st anniversary


One year anniversary amid rapid growth.

In early 2016, Brian Poth and Nick Vargas began discussing the need for a LGBT center that would serve Tulare and Kings Counties. Both men had grown up in the area, located in the very conservative agricultural heartland of the San Joaquin Valley. Leaving the area after high school to pursue careers in Los Angeles and San Francisco, each returned home to find the lack of services dedicated to the LGBT+ community a jarring reality, especially after exposure to world class centers in California’s major cities. A core group was formed, comprised of friends who met at Visalia’s Center for Spiritual Living, and work began to create a center in Visalia. Within a few months, a board of directors was formed, space for a center was identified, and fundraising efforts initiated. A crowd-sourced donation site was set up, with an initial goal of $5,000. Donations rapidly surpassed that level, exposing the excitement felt in the community for the planned center. The target was upped to $10,000, and it didn’t take long to achieve that level of community support. The Center filed for and received 503(c)(1) status, becoming a full-fledged non-profit.

The Center held it’s grand opening on May 6, 2016. As part of the gala, works by local LGBT artists were displayed in the center as part of downtown Visalia’s First Friday Art Walk. TheSource LGBT+ Center joined several other venues displaying local art, and counted over 350 visitors.

Less than a month later, when the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was the scene of the worst mass-shooting in US history, the Center organized a candle light vigil in downtown Visalia. That Sunday, less than 24 hours after the tragedy, a somber group numbering in the hundreds gathered on Main Street to mourn the dead and injured, offer comfort to the survivors, and each other.

In the past year, theSOURCE LGBT+ Center has held bike rallies, marched in local parades, held book club readings, tabled at numerous community events, been featured in local media, helped coordinate the USDA’s Rural Pride convention (the first on the west coast), formed groups supporting the transgender community, and offered connections and referrals to hundreds of individuals looking for medical and social services.

On opening night it was clear the existing space was simply not enough. Within the past month, theSOURCE LGBT+ Center expanded, taking over the office next door to it’s existing location, doubling the space available. Another crowd-sourced fundraiser was tasked with financing the growth, and rapidly met it’s target.

The Center continues to expand it connections in the region, becoming the go-to resource for government and non-profit organizations looking to serve the LGBT+ community. We’ve recently contracted with Tulare County to educate our rural communities about PrEP and PEP. Speakers have presented at local GSAs, offering support and training opportunities to high school students. Training classes and seminars have been provided to the Sheriff’s Office, as well as local medical groups, on how they can better serve the LGBT+ population. Partnering with other local non-profit groups is creating a synergy in the region that bodes well for the future.

The Center’s first anniversary is only weeks away, and the growth has exceeded all expectations. Coming up in the near future is the first annual Bill Frolli Memorial Pride Ride, named in honor of one of the founding members of theSOURCE LGBT+ Center. Our Transgender Resources Program has three support groups that meet in the center. Addiction recovery groups also meet regularly in our facilities.

The support from the wider community was and is exciting to experience, and continues to grow each month, with Beneficial State Bank recently becoming a corporate sponsor.

As new individuals join the Board of Directors, and as the awareness of the center continues to spread, theSOURCE LGBT+ Center looks forward to continued growth and increasing support in the community.

Watch for further announcements from theSOURCE LGBT+ Center as we near the first anniversary, and plan to attend our Grand Re-Opening!

Website: http://thesourcelgbt.org
Facebook: http://facebook.com/thesourcelgbt (go like our page!)
Phone: 559-429-4277
email – Executive Director Brian Poth at brian@thesourcelgbt.org
– Community liaison Jim Reeves at jim@thesourcelgbt.org

Image: then-councilwoman Amy Shuklian visits theSOURCE LGBT+ Center during it’s grand opening week in May, 2016. From left – Don Costa, Amy Benton, Jim Reeves, Ray Anaya, Amy Shuklian, Nick Vargas, Brian Poth, Beverly Anderson.