Gay Place in the Valley

"The hardest thing in the world is to be someone you aren't" from: Mom, I Have Something to Tell You, by Luz & Avni

Gay Place in the Valley is the vision of Corinne Shavit. After spending many years concealing her sexual identity from herself and from others as a married mother; and since opening up her world and aligning with her selfness, she has counseled, supported and accompanied many local parents of boys and girls in the difficult, frightening process of confronting themselves and the world. Corinne knows exactly why the Valley needs a "gay place".

Corinne SavitCorrine Shavit, initiator of  Gay Place in the Valley : 
For many years I've had a very strong feeling that a place like this is needed in the Jezreel Valley;   a place that gives the gay and lesbian population in this valley (adolescents and adults) and their families the attention they need and deserve.

  My name is Corinne Shavit and I am 52 years old. I have lived in the Jezreel Valley for over 25 years and have raised my three children here. Over the years, I too have had my doubts, searched, struggled to accept my sexual identity, with the feelings and doubts that accompanied me from childhood. In retrospect I know now that an accepting, embracing place that provides guidance and advice and eases the sense of loneliness could have helped me through difficult times.

In early 2010  I mustered the strength and courage to apply to Mr. Eyal Betzer - mayor of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council - and offer to become the "council advisor on gay and lesbian community issues". My appeal to Betzer came from a place of experience and wholeness. In my appeal I explained that I felt I could provide a safe place in the Jezreel Valley for adolescents in doubt and their families, the kind of place that was sorely lacking in my life. I invited the council to join me in creating this exciting opportunity and to pick up the gauntlet together.   In the document I submitted to the council mayor I formulated a vision that may seem "a bit naïve" but was extremely real to me at the time:
*  A center for the entire region that can provide a safe place of people who are deliberating their sexual identity.  
* It addresses the need for a place that accepts, embraces, understands, and maintains complete privacy.
* A place that prepares and accompanies valley youths as part of the future of Israeli society in an open, tolerant, pluralistic society.  
*  A center for high-quality, supportive and accessible information.  
*  A place that concentrates and facilitates meeting young people from other regions of the country in joint projects.  
* A center that creates a communication channel and dialogue between the Arab and Jewish sectors, as well as religious and secular society, through the common denominator of sexual orientation.  

Now, over two years after that fateful meeting at the council,
a Gay Place in the Valley  is alive and kicking and still developing. Nonetheless, the search for a physical "home" that fulfills all the important criteria of the gay community in the valley drags on, and I have no doubt that once this home is found it will also fulfill the therapeutic-supportive aspect, in the form of support groups, one-on-one talks and mainly a safe place for anyone who needs it...  

In the meantime,  Gay Place in the Valley  offers extensive activities led by teams of volunteers who initiate and organize Friday night services, monthly fieldtrips, evenings with content, get-togethers at the local bar, celebrating holiday activities together, etc."  

Corinne is available for any inquiry, question or query at 052-3545583
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