Home is where your friends are: How Maya found a family at Lambert House

Maya2.jpg

“In all honesty, I feel like I’d be six feet in the ground.”
 
That’s what Maya Vasquez says when asked where she’d be if she had never started coming to Lambert House five years ago. 
 
Just a freshman in high school, Maya was looking for a place she could call home. Not that she didn’t have one. She’d probably say the one she had was great - but also that she felt like she could never quite be herself there. She could never be sure her family wouldn’t make a comment about the leggings she was wearing, use the wrong pronoun, or give her looks as she walked out the door in a feminine outfit.

“They’re not terrible people. But it’s definitely sometimes a toxic environment,” Maya says of her household.

It was that desire to belong and to be accepted that drove her to seek sanctuary in a place like Lambert House. But she didn’t expect what she would find there.

Over the years Maya found that her relationships at Lambert House became like the family she had always wanted  - a group of people who simply accepted her for who she was. 


"Lambert House has been a second home and a family to me. I wasn’t really expecting that."


Maya1.jpg

For Maya one of the best parts of coming to Lambert House has been having people from the LGBTQ community to look up to. She says, “I consider my true best friends to be the volunteers. I know these are adults that can give me advice because they’ve been in situations similar to where I’ve been.” 
 
This proved especially critical during the time of the Orlando night club shooting last year. 
 
“That struck me hard. Coming here, this was my only safe haven at that time. It was like a therapy session with people who were suffering and doing the same thing."
 
"During that time a volunteer, Allison, told us her experience with the Columbine shooting. The way she spoke about it kinda made us trust her more...she said she also felt scared, and even though she wouldn’t have been in danger, it just told me that it doesn’t matter which part of the community you are. We’re all scared,” she says.         
 
Sometimes Maya still has doubts like these. Sometimes the world can be unforgiving. But through it all, nothing seems to change at Lambert House. Maya knows that acceptance and love can always be found there. 

She says, “The fact that no one at Lambert House judges me for wearing what I want - that proves to me this is the place I’m accepted. Not everyone is going to accept you, but at least here you can be accepted.
 
"Lambert House has been a second home and a family to me. I wasn’t really expecting that."