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Palm Springs LGBTQ center celebrates 20 years and expanded headquarters

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, also known as The Center, is celebrating 20 years in the desert.

The annual Center Stage gala was held at the Palm Springs Air Museum Friday night to commemorate the anniversary and kick off an expansion for the organizations headquarters in Palm Springs.

"It's a time where we get to be with community and celebrate with community and raise funds to support the programs at the LGBTQ center," said Lex Ortega, director of community engagement and innovation.

This weekend, a grand opening will mark a newly redone building in Palm Springs, including an expanded Scott Hines Behavioral Health Clinic, with a renewed focus on mental health.

"Mental health is such a huge need right now, especially post pandemic," Ortega said. "The fact that we have this newly renovated floor dedicated to behavior health, it's gonna be such a huge impact."

"This is a dream realized," said new CEO Rob Wheeler. "We have been renovating the building for the last couple of years, a little slow down with the pandemic, but really excited to welcome community back into our space."

News Channel 3's Peter Daut is emceeing the ribbon cutting reopening ceremony this sunday. "I had the chance to tour the facility recently and it blew me away," he said. "All of the things that they do to provide for the community, all of the programs they have to offer, it really is incredible!"

In the city of Coachella, a brand new LGBTQ satellite center is opening as well. "Really excited for that space to be able reach queer and trans people across the Coachella Valley," Ortega said.

Hundreds of people attended the Center Stage event Friday night. Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton was the legacy honoree.

"We want to have everyone in the community be a part of this community," Middleton said. "What I've been able to do in this town has been a testimony to palm Springs, Palm Springs values and the people who have built this city."

"We get to be the beneficiaries of her tremendous leadership," Ortega said. "Her presence in our community I think uplifts all of us. Tonight we get to honor her for her service."

Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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