This weekend, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains celebrated its one-year anniversary of bringing LGBTQ community members together for humanitarian projects in the Roaring Fork Valley.
However, as chapter leader Steve Mills explained, bringing Gay for Good — or G4G, as it’s known in social media branding — to the Western Slope was no easy task.
“All of the other chapters are in larger, metropolitan areas,” Mills said of the nonprofit organization, which from Los Angeles to New York City has 15 chapters across the U.S.
“They didn’t have any track record to know if a rural chapter would be successful and so they had some hesitation approving our chapter. Ultimately they did, and we have completely wowed them.”
Each month, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains partners with an area nonprofit for a community service project. Recent and upcoming events included picking up 170 pounds of trash in Carbondale, as well as building homes alongside other Habitat For Humanity volunteers.
“It’s kind of a two-fold approach,” Mills said. “We can bring the LGBTQ community and its allies together to meet each other and build synergy, but then also partner with nonprofits that have a need for volunteers.
“It was a win, win.”
Today, the local chapter, which welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and straight residents of the greater Roaring Fork Valley area, has over 200 members.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mills previously volunteered for the City of Angels’ Gay for Good chapter. Inspired by the philanthropic work the L.A. chapter performed, Mills was further motivated to get a chapter up and running in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“It’s a great way to give back and it’s a great way to meet new people,” Mills said.
Formed shortly after the Lake Christine Fire’s outburst last summer, one of Gay for Good Rocky Mountains’ first projects included beautifying Basalt High School’s grounds.
“It didn’t have any bells and whistles. It didn’t have anything super shiny,” Mills said. “It was just something very subtle to just ease them into coming back to school after a pretty horrific summer with the fire.
“We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because we don’t need a pat on the back,” he added. “We’re not looking to gloat. We just wanted to make it very subtle and just having something nice for when the kids arrived that day.”
Between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. July 28 at Carbondale’s Mountain Fair, Gay for Good Rocky Mountains will staff the beverage tent as part of its annual fundraiser. All tips collected will go toward the nonprofit organization’s mission of bringing the LGBTQ community together to give back to the local communities it calls home.
Mills hopes that, in Gay for Good’s second year, it could further ewngage the local Latino community as well as partner with more Colorado River Valley nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Silt and Rifle.
“Positive interactions,” Mills said of what Gay for Good is all about. “At Gay for Good anyone is free to be who they want to be. And they know that there is no judgment, just pure love.