This weekend, Rachel Stevenson officially resigned from her role as LGBT Equality Alliance President to pursue outside endeavors.
“As the founder of this organization, I am blessed to have had the honor of being its first President and I am amazed by the work we have done in under three years,” she said in a letter to supporters earlier this morning.
Here are just a handful of the accomplishments made under Stevenson’s leadership:
- Hosted three Pride galas, two Chester County Pride Festivals, and several tea dances.
- Accomplished several firsts, including the development of the first Chester County LGBT health fair at the Phoenixville YMCA and the first LGBT support group at Phoenixville Hospital.
- Hosted several social and educational events, including a family bowling outing, gayme nights, Pride Night at the Reading Phillies, community concerts, the Laramie Project, and our annual art show.
- Donated over 150 toiletry bags to area foster kids and over 300 toiletry bags to area homeless.
- United the community to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters at Pulse Night club and donated $2600 to the Orlando LGBT community center.
- Hosted vigils in support of transgender community members and joined area religious and cultural leaders in times of distress.
- Advocated for the need of LGBT education and support to area nonprofits.
- Visited local school GSA clubs to provide support and education.
- Granted thousands of dollars to area GSA clubs, student scholarships, and education programs.
- Connected community members in need with resources.
“Although it saddens me to step away from ‘my baby,’ I am grateful for the volunteers I have worked with and the leaders both within and outside of Chester County I have had the pleasure of meeting and working alongside,” said Stevenson.
Julie K. Mesaros is the new President of LGBT Equality Alliance.
Mesaros teaches English as a Second Language to international students at West Chester University. She has a Master of Education degree and ten years of teaching experience.
Mesaros brings highly developed intercultural skills to this organization, having spent 6 years studying and working in Asia.
Her personal experience drives her to stand up to injustice and advocate for those who cannot. She has practical experience of managing and training volunteers, and volunteer work in education, mental health, and social work fields.
In Thailand, Mesaros worked as an international volunteer coordinator, grant writer, and interpreter for a local non-governmental organization that fights child sex and labor trafficking. She learned how critical grassroots social work is to local communities and how valuable volunteers are to a nonprofit organization.
Mesaros also values family time and promoting wellness. Her partner Amy and Amy’s daughters are the light of her life. Amy’s stable support keeps her grounded and aiming high. Their family enjoys outdoor activities, playing games, dancing, and cooking together.
Over the past year, Mesaros has organized tea dances, “gayme” nights, and panel discussions as the social chair and secretary of the organization. She has also stepped us to speak on behalf of the organizations at outside events, including the Laramie Project, hosted by the Steel River Playhouse.
“I can’t think of better person to take on the role of President,” said Stevenson. “It has been an honor to serve my community. Thank you for your support and belief in my vision.”
Stevenson will continue to support Mesaros as a member of the advisory board and she’s excited for the expertise and passion that Julie brings to the organization.