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David Hero: Rick Westbrook

This month’s David Hero, Rick Westbrook has tirelessly worked towards the needs of LGBT youth as Executive Director for Lost-n-Found Youth. You will often times see him inside the Lost-n-Found Thrift Store moving things about himself.

How long have you lived in Atlanta?

My Whole Life

What do you do for employment?

I am the Executive Director for Lost-n-Found Youth.

What charities are you involved in right now?

Lost-n-Found Youth and the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

How did you get started on your philanthropic path?

After losing a friend to AIDS, I left the corporate world to enter the non-profit world. I was executive director of P.A.L.S, and then I worked for the MISTER program out of Positive Impact. That led me to realize that queer youth under the age of 26 were becoming infected with HIV at an alarming rate. It also showed me that there were no services in Atlanta specifically for them, especially if they were homeless.

What would you like to see in the future for your charities?

The simple answer is an end to queer youth homelessness. However- we have seen that with all the advances in equality a trickle down effect. Queer youth feel empowered to be true to themselves because of the media, which leads them to come out to their families and churches. Our statistics shows that in the Bible Belt, they have less than a 50-50 chance of coming out and being accepted. I would love to be unemployed within in the next 6 months, but we know that this problem will get worse before it gets better.

How can David readers help you achieve those goals?

There are many ways- contribute or volunteer, or simply start to have the conversation of this growing trend/epidemic with their friends, family, extended family, coworkers, neighbors and everyone with value in their life. This message has to be shared in order to stop the problem.

Silly Questions:

1- Dogs or cats?

Dogs

2- Favorite TV Binge?

Too many to list.

3- Favorite restaurant in Atlanta?

Wisteria.

4- What do you love most about Atlanta’s gay community?

Their unwavering commitment to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to help me solve this problem.

5- Favorite neighborhood?

East Point

6- If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Harvey Milk

7- Favorite song right now?

Anything pop, but I mostly listen to NPR.

8- What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Dusting

9- What would you name the autobiography of your life?

“You can’t pull the wool over an Old Queen’s Eyes.”

10- If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

That’s a hard question- I try to learn something new every day, so if something interests me, I’ll learn it.

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