Mario “Mark” GalvezSAGE Volunteer
Mark Galvez has been volunteering at SAGE since October 2008, and these days, he can be found serving meals a few nights a week at The SAGE Center.
Why did you want to volunteer at SAGE?
I have always had empathy for older people, even from a very young age. I remember walking with my family when I was 5 or 6 years old, and everyone was walking so fast. My grandfather was far behind us, and I made sure to stay with him, and he said, “Oh, Mark really loves me.” To this day, that is such a clear memory to me.
When I moved to New York, I applied to volunteer at a senior center near Washington Square, but that didn’t pan out. But I met Murray [Karger, the manager of the SAGE Theatre Desk] there, who told me that I could do similar volunteer work at SAGE. I had been to the LGBT Community Center and had seen the signs for SAGE, so I was interested.
What keeps you coming back to SAGE?
It’s a good community, and I like the idea of helping older people. It’s also a safe place to volunteer. One’s sexuality is very personal and different people have a different comfort level in how out they want to be. I’m slowly coming out and SAGE is good place for that.
Any hopes for the future of SAGE?
SAGE is doing a great job for the older LGBT community, and I hope it continues to do this work and it doesn’t lose its passion. Also, I see myself as a constituent, now and in the future. Everyone does, even my roommate who is 27. We’re all going to be older someday, and it’s karma: if we treat the older generation shabbily now, we may be treated shabbily someday. In my roommate’s words, “Older LGBT people are the trailblazers. We enjoy the freedoms we do now because of them, and so we should give back.” My sentiments exactly.