I volunteer at Montrose Grace Place...

I volunteer at Montrose Grace Place because I know what it's like to be a homeless youth. I know the need and want for a safe space where you can take off your impenetrable tough-guy mask and just be yourself.

I volunteer at Montrose Grace Place because I know the need and want for a space where you can feel safe, even if that's only for a few hours. That place where you can get a good meal, because you don't know when the next one will be.

I volunteer at Montrose Grace Place because I know what it's like to want someone you can view as a parental figure, to want some sort of structure and rules to follow; just so you know someone cares about you.

I volunteer at Montrose Grace Place because I know what it's like to only 'remember' what a hug is, and the joy that comes when a volunteer gives you one. I know these things.

I know that Grace Place has a huge impact on these young lives, and that Grace Place volunteers are a big part of that.

I know that Grace Place volunteers provide the vulnerable and forgotten homeless youth of Houston with laughter, happiness, safety, nourishment, and hope.

I know that even though Grace Place can't go back in time to provide me with these things when I needed them; I can provide myself with these things now by providing them for the youth that need it most now.

Volunteering at Montrose Grace Place, even indirect volunteering; makes a huge impact in the lives of homeless youth in Houston… and a huge impact in the lives of the volunteers themselves.

That is why I volunteer for Montrose Grace Place.

-Koomah

[Koomah is intersex and transgender Houston-area performance artist and fundraiser. Koomah was born in Japan and survived severe abuse and neglect, was adopted in America and through discovering their own gender identity and sexuality; became homeless as a teen on the streets of Montrose. As a homeless youth in desperation, Koomah was faced with some decisions and made choices that still impacts their life today. Koomah is an advocate for intersex, transgender, and queer people and youth in Houston and elsewhere, and commonly speaks at panels to educate individuals and organizations about these issues. Koomah hopes that their personal experience can be used to help further the success of Montrose Grace Place.]

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