Giving back to the community has always been a part of Patrick Wallace's nature. For years, he has participated in charity events and volunteer opportunities as a way of helping those less fortunate.
Wallace's latest endeavor is A Note To My Kid, which has received national attention for its attempt to make the world a better place for LGBTQ people.
Wallace, who was raised in San Diego, is 36-years old and is happily taken by his partner Mike Curry.
What organization(s) do you volunteer for, and why?
In January 2012, I joined the San Diego Unified School District's "Safe Schools Task Force" - an organization designed to make school life a positive experience for members of the LGBTQ community.
In the past, I’ve volunteered for AIDS Walk San Diego, The American Heart Association, The Susan G. Komen Foundation and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My friends Marvin Hanashiro, Brad Taylor and I also held a fundraiser last year in conjunction with Bourbon Street Bar & Grill to raise money for Mama's Kitchen in honor of our friend, Justin Johnson.
Today, I'm focusing most of my free time on growing A Note to My Kid to the best of my ability with my co-founders Michael Volpatt and Mike Curry, an outstanding board of directors, and a passionate team of ambassadors.
What motivates you to do the volunteer work you do?
While living as a gay man in America is becoming easier – there’s no doubt that it can still be challenging at times.
Over the years, I’ve heard heartbreaking stories from friends whose families disowned them when they came out, forcing them to live on the streets. Others suffered horrible abuse from the very people who should have been protecting them from harm.
I’ve always wanted to find away to give back to our community in a way that will help bring LGBTQ people closer to their parents, family and friends. This is what we do at A Note to My Kid:
- To give LGBTQ community members, their parents, family and friends the opportunity to share their unconditional love with one another.
- To remind people in our community that there is a lot of love out there despite what they may hear at school, work or in the media; that we are not alone and that we are, in fact, loved by many very special people.
- To provide a place where people can learn from example. We know that many find it difficult to broach the subject of sexuality. We’re here to provide a resource where people can see how others are expressing love for the LGBTQ people in their lives so they, too, can learn how to open the lines of communication with their loved ones and have that crucial, life-changing conversation.
It’s our ultimate goal that A Note to My Kid will help create such impenetrable bonds between members of our community -- and the loved ones they hold so near and dear to their hearts -- that if they are bullied at school, work, or while simply walking down the street, the negative impact will have less power because they will know that they are loved unconditionally by the most important people in their lives.
Do you volunteer because of your work, or not? And what do you do for a career?
I volunteer because it makes the world a better place and it makes me feel like I’m helping effect positive change. It is – hands down – one of the most rewarding experiences.
Ah -- and the job that pays the bills. I’ve been a public relations practitioner for a little more than 12 years now focusing on a wide variety of industries – technology, healthcare, non-profit, lifestyle…the list goes on and on.
To quote AbFab - it’s mostly “lights, models and guest lists,” but not really. I love my job and couldn’t be happier doing what I do.
What is something that many people do not know about you?
Hopefully the answer to this question will lock in my superhero status
I once saved a girl from drowning in the Willamette River while attending school at the University of Oregon. A few people had fashioned a long rope out of inner tube that they looped around a rock upstream from a set of rapids. They tied the inner tube to a piece of wood that resembled a surfboard and we all used to get together and ride it during the summer. Lots of fun and pretty dangerous – all things interesting when you’re a college kid.
This one particular time, a girl who was riding the board fell off.
The inner tube wrapped around her leg and the rapids pulled her under. I dove in and swam under water until I spotted her; grabbed her and brought her to the edge of the river where I was able to hand her over to few guys who were waiting to help. It was an intense experience; one I’ll never forget.
What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?
I know that bullying is a prevalent media topic that often focuses on people outside of the LGBTQ community harassing or even physically harming us. I’ve been a victim of bullying. From 5th to 10th grade it was relentless at times.
But I’m also keenly aware that bullying sometimes takes place within the LGBTQ community. We should always have each other’s backs. After all – we’re all in this together.
What do you like most about the local LGBT community?
There are a lot of really high quality people in our community who dedicate so much of their time and energy into improving life for all of us. We’re fortunate to have so many passionate activists here in San Diego with incredibly strong hearts and unrelenting determination.
What sorts of things do you do to enrich your social life other than volunteering?
Getting together with family and friends. Spending time with my partner and our two little monsters (dogs) – Magnus and Birk.
Doing my best to write impactful articles about gay life for The Huffington Post.
A few add’l faves: live music, the beach, movies, the occasional hike, tennis, volleyball, running and sleeping.
Note: If you or someone you know should be featured in an upcoming community profile, e-mail Ben Cartwright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Left photo- Patrick Wallace (left) with his partner Mike Curry.