Oleg Karpynets began volunteering at the Center's Welcome Desk and supporting the Information & Referral program in December 2016. As a volunteer, Oleg has been an enthusiastic and invaluable help to staff and visitors, even offering to be translator for a pair of Russian-speaking clients who visited the Center. Oleg arrived to the US from Ukraine, where he worked as a journalist. Life for gay men in Ukraine is dangerous, Oleg says, and especially as a journalist, he did not feel safe to live openly or participate in the LGBTQ community. When he arrived in San Francisco ("the best city in the entire world"), he knew he wanted to finally get involved in the community and that's why he started volunteering at the Center: "I know it's not much, volunteering three hours on my day off, but I want to give back to the city that has been so welcoming to me."
Testimonial from Center staff, Leisa Boswell: "Oleg is the best! He did a tremendous job helping with translation services for not just one but two housing clients! He was professional and kind and I can't thank him enough. In addition to the one-on-one help he's given me he is always ready for a thoughtful conversation when he's at the I&R desk."
Fun Fact: Oleg's big hobby is postcrossing, which allows him to send and receive handwritten postcards from random people around the world. To this day, he has sent over 1,700 postcards to 72 countries!