NORTH CHARLESTON — We Are Family’s transfer into the town in 2019 provided the location with its first LGBTQ-focused business office, retail and neighborhood house.
Now, the nonprofit’s new chief wants to increase the organization’s reach.
Executive Director Domenico Ruggerio envisions a cell thrift retail store that could attain rural communities and faculty campuses throughout the condition.
“The likely is limitless,” Ruggerio mentioned.
Ruggerio joined We Are Household on June 28. He replaces Nijeeah Richardson, who stepped down very last month to get on a new job with Southern Eyesight Alliance and will be based mostly in New Orleans.
Richardson led the team as it received its dedicated place at 1801 Reynolds Ave., doubled the organization’s operational price range, and added the organization’s mental overall health guidance and Lowcountry Gender & Sexuality Alliance applications.
The outgoing director is self-confident in Ruggerio’s ability to properly guideline We Are Household.
“With his management and determination to radical social transform, We Are Relatives will improve exponentially and increase its reach guaranteeing that trans and queer youth in South Carolina are identified for the essential contributions they bring to their people, schools and communities,” Richardson reported.
Ruggerio was appointed to the position adhering to an intensive national search, board members reported.
“We are in a strong posture for continued progress and are self-confident that Domenico has the two the vision and expertise to develop upon our 26-year record of group-based support,” said Jordan Carter, chair of the board.
A cell thrift shop would be an extension of We Are Family’s Reynolds Avenue shop. Around the earlier 12 months, the room has supplied the general public with 100 gender-affirming items, and elevated its revenue by 20 p.c.
Ruggerio wishes it to also be a area where by younger men and women can perform and receive necessary techniques.
“I really want our youth to get the skill and experiences to be on their own route to economic mobility,” he said.
Ruggerio needs to also expand the organization’s attain into minority communities.
He included that he’d like to see extra Black queer and trans youths in the nonprofit’s assistance groups, as well as minority parents. He seems to be ahead to partnering with companies these as Metanoia and Charleston Promise to improved provide minority LGBTQ students.
“If our operate is not centered in being an anti-racist firm, we’re not serving the communities in the way we should really be,” he stated.
That will entail some interior do the job, these kinds of as inspecting the degree of diversity of We Are Family’s management, and generating guidelines all-around serving to clients take care of offensive remarks that are produced throughout peer team periods.
“I truly want to deep dive in creating equitable historic practices, guidelines and mindsets,” he mentioned. “It has now been going on with our packages.”
Ruggerio provides with him knowledge as a social justice educator and facilitator, college or university administrator and program manager. He joins We Are Family from Train for The united states — South Carolina, where he most lately served as director of education, advocacy and programs transformation.
Beforehand, he held increased-education administrative roles that supported and empowered pupils of color and LGBTQ pupils and communities at a number of schools, including the College of Charleston.
Access Rickey Dennis at 937-4886. Observe him on Twitter @RCDJunior.