Linda Roberts, a volunteer spirited transgender (MTF) from Florida, spent a week of service in Montana with Global Volunteers. Driven by her desire to give back in a community that would appreciate her support, Linda embarked for her first service program with the organization. Upon her return, Linda says that “volunteering adds purpose to my life,” and committed to her next adventure in service with Global Volunteers in Cuba. Here she reflects on her volunteer experience in Montana and explains how participating in such program broke new ground for the transgender community.
by Linda Roberts
I participated in Global Volunteers’ service program on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana last July (2015). It was not an LGBT-focused program but I am a transgender (MTF) woman. I believe my participation was breaking new ground for the transgender community in particular.
There were 14 volunteers including myself. I was treated as, and housed along with, the other women. I spent most of the week at the Blackfeet (adult) Care Center (BCC) where I assisted the activities director with engaging projects and visited with the Blackfeet elders. I even joined senior Jim for a day trip at the casino. I was treated with the utmost respect by the staff, other volunteers, and the American Indians with whom I worked and served. It was a very fulfilling and memorable experience for me. I made many friends among the volunteer group.
In addition to the satisfaction of supporting the native American community, we also visited West Glacier Park and took in the awesome scenery of that area of the country. Also while we were there, the annual Indian Days (Pow Wow) Celebration was taking place and we were able to experience that unique cultural expression. Finally we had the pleasure of an evening horseback ride and outdoor BBQ in the open pastures of Montana.
This summer I am volunteering through Global Volunteers again on a two week service program to Cuba and am very much looking forward to both the extended experience and the exposure and opportunity to contribute to the cultural exchange during this formation period of relationship building with the citizens of Cuba.
We’re looking forward to engaging your skills and talents again, Linda!