GLO Center provides support services

Mar 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Community Features

Jackie McGarry

Contributor

For over a decade, the GLO Center (Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Ozarks) has been working to provide support services and a sense of community for the homosexual population of Springfield.

Located on the corner of Washington Avenue and Commercial Street, the GLO Center is hard to miss, with a large rainbow painted on the side of its building designed to welcome any and all.

Opened in 1997, the GLO Center is an all-purpose center for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) community.

Whether one is a an openly gay individual, a person coming to grips with their sexuality, or someone who is still trying to come out as a gay individual, the Center welcomes all with open arms.

“We’re really trying to work on publicizing the Center,” said GLO Center President Rebecca Clark. “So many people don’t even know that we have a Center. I find that very sad, since this is our twelfth anniversary.”

Although the Center is still working hard at getting the word out about its existence, it serves about 80 to 100 people a week, according to Clark.

The GLO Center sponsors activities on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. These range from movie nights held on the first and third Friday of every month to weekly Uno games. The Center also has support groups for all imaginable individuals, be they gay, lesbian, transgender or anywhere in between. The GLO Center even offers free counseling through the Forest Institute.

Of course, in order to keep the Center thriving, Clark says that volunteers are urgently needed.

“Our goal is to create a volunteer staff that will keep the Community Center open Monday through Friday,” she said, “allowing our community members to stop by any time they like.”

GLO is one of many organizations in the Ozarks coming together in an attempt to promote diversity.

“Springfield has come a long way in what it has to offer,” Clark said. “We are very fortunate to own our Center outright. Springfield also has a very active GLBTQ bar scene. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot out there that’s gaycentric, if you will, which is why it’s so important to have the Center to help fill some of that void.”

However, she stressed that groups such as FOCUS (the gay professional organization), OLGA (the GLBTQ archive

housed at Missouri State) and GLO are working together to better serve the gay community.

Those wishing to volunteer, participate in activities or seek counseling or support

group services from the GLO Center can find more information at http://www.glocenter.org.

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