What's your role at Odyssey Youth Movement?
I've been involved with Odyssey for about 15 years. I was a youth back in the early 2000s when Odyssey was hidden away on Washington St. I then transitioned into a volunteer mentor role, where I served for several years. I am now the organization's Board Chair. It's been eye opening to see Odyssey from so many different perspectives, and has made me appreciate the organization even more.
What prompted you to volunteer your time and why do you support OYM?
Odyssey was there for me when I was a youth, and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back. I have seen the way Odyssey helps empower youth to find their authentic voice in a world that often tries to silence them. It is such a valuable organization in our community, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
What is your favorite thing about working/volunteering with Odyssey?
I love that Odyssey is "out" in the community as is known as the go-to organization for queer youth. When I was a youth, the organization was "in the closet" as a measure of safety, and I was there when we transitioned to having a more public presence. The impact Odyssey has had since "coming out" has been immense. It no longer feels like it has to be a secret that folks are involved with Odyssey. We're showing our community that we don't need to hide.
What occupies your time outside of OYM?
Outside of Odyssey, I work, host a weekly radio show, and spend time with friends and family. I love to cook, read, and play with my pet rats. (Yes, really.) I just read an article in the Spokesman Review about the 14 best places to get a milkshake in Spokane, so I now have a new goal for the summer of drinking all the best milkshakes.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut.
If you could give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?
It's okay to need help, and it's okay to ask for it.
What is one thing you want to make sure the world knows about Odyssey?
I can say from personal experience that Odyssey not only changes lives, but saves them.
Mark serves as the Chair of Odyssey's Board of Directors. If you are interested in learning more about the volunteers serving on the Board of Directors, please visit the site HERE.
Interested in volunteering your time with Odyssey? Check out opportunities to give back. HERE