ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — In between his full-time job as an accountant and part-time job as a dance teacher, Salvador Fong can be found wearing a different kind of label. In his free time, Fong is a chapter leader for Gay For Good, a volunteer group that brings together members of the LGBTQ community.
At one volunteer event in June, he organized a group of volunteers at South County Outreach, a food pantry for families in need.
"We have different kinds of service projects. We do food banks, school renovations, we do homeless shelters, soup kitchens. Anything that involves us in the community, we really want to put ourselves out there," Fong said.
For Fong, the importance of giving back is also deeply personal.
"I've been homeless before. Just putting that feeling into someone, reaching out to people and getting out there is just such a good feeling because that's what I would want if I was in that position again," he said.
Fong has made it his mission in life to keep paying it forward. Four years ago, he started volunteering with Gay For Good. Since 2008, the nonprofit has brought together members of the LGBTQ+ community and organized volunteering efforts in the broader community.
"The sense of community, we all come here, and it's kind of like a big family. So that's a really important part to me is building that sense of community with other volunteers," he said.
Gay For Good now has 17 chapters across the country, and while it's an organization that helps connect members within the LGBTQ+ community, the nonprofit actively works to introduce diversity to people who might not understand.
"We kind of want them to see us in a different light," Fong said.
He wants to show people that no matter who one is or where one comes from, compassion can bring people together. Things have not always been easy for him, but he's determined to make things a little bit easier for others.
For more information on Gay For Good and their upcoming calendar of events, visit GayForGood.org.