Volunteer Spotlight: Leah Bastacky

June 1, 2018 in inQueery
Welcome to another Volunteer Spotlight, where we introduce you to some of the many volunteers that keep Pacific Center running smoothly!  Today we’re talking with Leah Bastacky, a front desk volunteer.
Hi Leah!  Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a Berkeley native and use she/her pronouns. I recently moved back to Berkeley after living on the east coast for 8 years. And what a lovely return it has been!
How long have you been volunteering with Pacific Center?  How did you get started?  
I’ve a been volunteer for about six months. I was drawn to the Pacific Center because of the rich community it fosters, and the wonderful open people who work here. When I moved back to the Bay I found a very different place than the one I left. In those times of transition my first thought is usually: “Find the queers!” And so I did! And it has been blissful.
I like that a lot.  So, now that you’re back, what do you enjoy most?  What do you do in your free time?
I love to cook. It’s my favorite way to soothe and take care of myself. I make a whole ritual of going to the farmers market or Berkeley Bowl to pick out fresh produce and getting inspired to try or invent a new recipe.
I can’t pick one single favorite Bay activity, but walking through Tilden and visiting the fairy post office is a beloved tradition of mine.
What LGBTQ, or social justice issues more broadly, are most important to you?  
I have been working with children for almost my whole life. While working as a preschool teacher I became especially dedicated to creating an environment for my students where they weren’t boxed in by or pigeonholed into gender roles or expectations. Of course this couldn’t combat all the forces and influences they encounter in the rest of their lives, but it was essential to me to create a learning environment for these children where they could be accepted and accepting of all kinds of identities. I believe so strongly in the power of an open, un-boxed community for children at that age.
We also love to hear about our volunteers’ personal motivations and inspirations.  Who, or what does that look like, for you?
It’s such a cliche, but my mom! She’s resilient and playful and continues to work on herself as she grows. If I can keep up that kind of work into my 60s I think I’ll be doing just fine.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I’m sad to say I’ll be leaving town for grad school soon, but will be back to visit ASAP !
Thanks, Leah, and best wishes for your next endeavor!  In the mean time, we’ll see you at the front desk.
If you would like to be featured in the volunteer spotlight, please email Jared at jfields@pacificcenter.org