On Thursday, September 29, the Long Beach Post hosted an event to honor young people from around the city who are doing great things to better their community and beyond. Out of hundreds of nominations from our readers, judges chose 40 winners, representing a range of professions and activism. The Post will be profiling each honoree in the coming days.
Deena Abuyounes has many responsibilities at the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach. As the community outreach and operations manager, she helps oversee the marketing efforts of the Center and its volunteer program, in addition to assisting the Center’s executive director Porter Gilberg in ensuring it runs "smoothly and efficiently."
Abuyounes was heralded for her selflessness and dedication to the Center’s day-to-day operations, oftentimes putting in 12 to14 hours of work by some accounts. She’s currently leading a $20,000 overhaul effort of the Center’s client and volunteer management database but Abuyounes deflected any compliments, attributing her 40 Under 40 triumph to a team effort.
“I feel like as a team we kind of carry on these tasks together. I think that everybody I work with is pretty great and I think that we have a strong desire and a strong, vested interest in making Long Beach work for everyone,” Abuyounes said.
The 27-year-old said the core services provided by the Center are critical to the community, not only for their low cost and accessibility, but because of the staff’s competence in handling unique situations that arise in the LGBTQ community. Of all the hats she wears at the Center, she said she values the direct services she gets to provide to the community because she has the opportunity to engage and assist the diverse set of people that walk through its doors.
She said that while being nominated and chosen as a 40 Under 40 winner was flattering, she’s hopefu lthe true value of the award will be seen in increasing awareness of the Center and the reach of people of whom it serves in the future.
“Anytime our name is out there I hope that people will see it and say ‘Oh, I didn't know there was an LGBTQ Center in the city, I’m going to check it out and see what the have to offer,’” she said. “I have a strong vested interest in reaching people who might not know that we’re here, might not know that those services are available and are in need of outlets to socialize or receive services or create community. Anytime those things are mentioned publicly it makes me happy.”