LGBTQ+ group donates gift cards to speak to others about their mission

Hometown Heroes

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — An organization that works to ensure that LGBTQ students are free from bullying and harassment at school has found a way to reach out to others during the pandemic. They’re using a unique way to get their message across by giving to others.

While many wear masks as their own civic duty, others are getting paid when they do. That could be you if you’re in the right place at the right time.

“Somebody was like, wouldn’t it be cool to do something to be kind to somebody else?” explained Gabe Padilla, GSA sponsor at West High School.

With handful of gift cards, Padilla spent his Saturday afternoon setting out to do just that.

“I’m just looking around,” he said while walking down the aisles of Dillon’s.

Padilla is one of the volunteers working with GLSEN to randomly reward people with a gift card for properly wearing their masks.

“I know how hard this pandemic has been. I know a small thing can make a world’s difference to somebody else,” he said.

The idea was created back in December during a brainstorm Zoom session to think of ideas to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Padilla was a part of a Zoom call with other people connected to GLSEN.

Thanks to a grant from the Kansas Leadership Center, GLSEN was able to bring their idea to life. The non-profit members are giving out a thousand dollars worth of Dillon’s gift cards.

“They just wanted to catch people being responsible and make it a positive instead of talking about people who aren’t doing it correctly,” said Liz Hamor, GLSEN Kansas Chapter director.

Mask and you shall receive is their slogan.

The gift card was a pleasant surprise for Bill Kueser, who was covering his face but not emotion.

“This is really going to help me out. I’m a little short right now. So, I’m making a pan of lasagna for my housemates right now, and this is going to help a lot. So, I really appreciate it,” he said.

The gift card, although small, can be mighty.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty. So, this is a blessing for many of those who are out shopping,” said Marimar Agusto.

GLSEN members hope this small act can lead to a bigger impact.

“We want our students to be able to go back to school. Some of them may be safer actually, being able to do school from home but for a lot of our students being at home with unaffirming family is not safer for them,” Hamor said.

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