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Windsor-Essex Pride Fest receives donation in support of social programs

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moy fire 4Mary Riley, Vice President, Caesars Windsor and David Lenz, President, Windsor-Essex Pride Fest are shown at a press conference on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The Caesars Windsor Cares group donated money to Pride Fest to maintain their Gaymes Night and QConnect Plus groups. (Photo by Dan Janisse / Windsor Star)

The Windsor Star
June 5, 2019

Dani Bobb knows just how difficult it is to connect with other older adults in the LGBTQ2S community.

“All the media and everything you see, Pride is young, Pride is this festival, it’s fun it’s everything,” Bobb said. “But that’s not the whole LGBTQ community. We survived, we grow, we mature, we go into different endeavours.”

In support of Windsor-Essex Pride Fest’s growing social programs, Caesars Windsor Cares donated $6,000 on Wednesday. The money will support the start of Pride Fest’s QConnect Plus Group and their ongoing Gaymes Night. Both of these initiatives allow members of the LGBTQ2S community, like Bobb, to socialize and connect with each other.

“We need things that we can go out and meet people, see people, have the common conversations that we have at our ages and talk about getting old,” said Bobb, who is a member of Pride Fest.

Social isolation can highly prevalent within the LGBTQ2S community, especially among seniors. The QConnect Plus Group, which is scheduled to begin in July, encourages people who are 30 and older to informally connect through planned events, such as a movie night or hearing guest speakers.

“It’s just a great way to meet people that are like them,” said David Lenz, president of Windsor-Essex Pride Fest.

Similarly, the Gaymes Night allows LGBTQ2S members and allies to join together over board games. Attendee Mike Cardinal said the board game night helped him build a social life, one that he’s continued to build outside of the Pride Fest’s programming.

“The neat thing (about games night) is the trust and safety that builds up,” said Cardinal. “So I’m very very grateful for the support of this event.”

This is one of the largest donations to Pride Fest from Ceasars Windsor Cares, the charity branch of Ceasars Windsor, though they’ve been longtime partners. Pride Fest is a non-profit organization that organizes events and programs for members of the LGBTQ2S community. This year’s pride festival, which they host every year, will take place from Aug. 7 to 11 at Lanspeary Park.

Gaymes Night occurs every Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at The Sandwich Shop at 1311 Tecumseh Rd. E. The QConnect Plus Group is a drop-in event and will be run on a monthly basis.