by Rei Andrews

After being delayed by the pandemic, the ICS Community Center is now real.

Some of you may know me already; I owned Bellingham Wedding and Event Rentals for 10 years. I had a blast working in the event industry, meeting all the great people of our business community, and helping my favorite non-profits save money on their fundraisers.

The event industry was tough; there were many great moments (awarded Best Small Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce), but the stress became overwhelming. I was suffering strange health maladies and making it worse by overworking myself. In 2017 I suffered a mini-stroke and decided I had to end this line of my career. After selling BWER in 2018, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and many other ailments as I took 2 years to focus on my health. In 2020 I was ready to take on my life long dream: to create a place in my community where everyone can feel welcome and safe. Where my trans son can make friends and mentors, where my queer daughter and her freaky friends can hang out and be themselves in a fun, identity-supporting environment. Where weird people can find other weird people to become forever friends. Where good people can find ways to help other good people.

It's a big dream. I've been told I'll never make money; that I'm wasting my retirement funds; that my body won't hold up to the stress; that people won't want to help.

Good thing I have never cared about money. I don't plan on making any money on this endeavor. If I can spend the rest of my life hanging out with cool people and helping kids, then nothing is wasted. I made a promise to myself (and my family) that I wouldn't do this without asking for help. I can't do this without help. Some days I'll be dancing non-stop, other days I can barely walk. Luckily, I have the ability to have endless faith in human beings.

Someone wants to help. Someone wants this too. Someone out there has something they can give. You can be a part of this dream. It's not a silly dream, nor is it an unreasonable thing to desire a place of connection and community.

We are looking for volunteers to do everything from sewing, fabrication, administration, cleaning, teaching and training, consulting, program development, and more. There is something you can share, whether it be time, skills, knowledge, items, or money.

The most important thing is that the volunteers will have an important role in shaping what the center becomes.

This will not happen without a volunteer core. Youth are especially encouraged to be involved.

I am SOOOOOO looking forward to seeing many of your faces again - and meeting so many new people I have interacted with online this last year.

I hope you can come check out the Volunteer Info Session on July 9th to see how you can get involved! READ MORE


Rachel (Rei) Andrews