New Community Center Coming to Downtown St. Cloud [PHOTOS]
ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- A community center that is the first of its kind in the state is opening up in downtown St. Cloud.
The new non-profit Rainbow Wellness Collective is set to open its 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Center later this winter. Board Chair Seal Dwyer says it is a much-needed resource in central Minnesota.
All of us have had experiences of people that are supposed to love us not. We know how to build chosen family. As a therapist what I noticed for years was that I would be prescribing community to people being like 'you can't be so isolated, you need to make friends, you need to get out there,' and they'd be like 'there's nowhere to go.'
Dwyer says the new center will offer people a chance to find community and connection.
So people can just chill and just be themselves in a place where they're safe, they're accepted, they're welcomed, and they're loved just for who they are.
The location at the corner of West St. Germain Street and 6th Avenue North has three floors and is just shy of 20,000 square feet. Dwyer says the center will be an inclusive place.
You don't have to be queer to be here. We are not policing that. Everybody's queer enough, or you're an ally, and if you're an ally, you're still welcome.
The historic building was built in the late 1800s and remodeled in 2004 to be fully ADA-compliant. In addition, the center's downtown location makes it reachable by public transit. Dwyer says the goal is to make it as accessible as possible.
We are working really really hard to make the barriers as low as possible. So like our New Year's Eve event, if you get tickets in the next two weeks, the tickets are $35. That's all your entertainment and your dinner. And if folks can't afford that, reach out. We have scholarships available. All of our classes are $5 because people should be able to access this.
The main level features an entryway, two classrooms, a full kitchen, and the main event space. The second floor is home to the various organizations and another classroom. The basement is currently being leased out to Great River Children’s Museum until their new location opens next year. That space will eventually be used for a food pantry and clothing exchange.
Dwyer says the center will serve as a hub, offering a variety of organizations, resources, classes, and events for both kids and adults.
There's nowhere for queer elders to go, so there will be specific programming for queer elders to go. There's nowhere for 30 and 40-year-old adults who don't want to drink alcohol to go. And now we're here.
Some of the many classes and activities include movement and dance, dungeons and dragons, name change classes, how to buy a house, and how to survive on social security as well as larger community events.
The first big event will be Queer Year’s Eve party on December 31st. An official launch and open house for the center will take place in January.
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Gallery Credit: Keri Wiginton & Lauren Liebhaber