The Center on Mills Avenue has been the meeting center for Orlando’s LGBTQ community since 1978. According to executive director, George Wallace, The Center gives more HIV tests than any other clinic in Florida.
We sat down with George and three others who are involved with The Center to get their “Center story”.
“As soon as I step in here, it’s like everything else goes away,” said Milani Woody.
Milani, a volunteer, said she started coming to The Center when she moved back to Orlando from Texas. For Milani, it’s been a safe space for her to be her true authentic self.
Joel Morales, the Director of Operations, got involved with The Center after spending a year in the hospital due to a rare autoimmune disease. His recovery led him to seek out more volunteer opportunities. It was at The Center, that he felt the strongest sense of belonging.
Serenity Balboa, the first transgender person in her family, arrived at The Center looking for community during a tough time — both her parents had passed and she was homeless. She now has her own apartment and is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional model.