In late May, OUT MetroWest welcomed a new program manager, Joel Newsome (he/they). Joel’s clear commitment to LGBTQ+ youth empowerment made him a standout among candidates for the program manager role, and we were thrilled to welcome him on-board as the staff member responsible for overseeing our youth programs.
For those eager to get to know Joel, we thought we’d share a few fun facts about our newest full-time team member!
- Joel’s background includes extensive work with youth, most recently as a bookmobile librarian. He loves connecting with young people about their favorite books and already has plans to curate our LGBTQ+ lending library.
- Program manager isn’t Joel’s first role at OUT MetroWest. Prior to taking on this position, he served as an adult advisor in our drop-in and BIPOC hangout spaces.
- Joel loves bringing youth ideas to fruition. From slime-making to papier-mâché to tie-dye, Joel is always up for a messy project—a quality they share with many of our youth participants!
- Their father was in the military, so they’ve lived all over the United States in places like South Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Kansas, and Michigan. They’ve lived in Massachusetts since 2015.
- One of their favorite places to live was Kalamazoo, Michigan, a small city with a thriving arts community. Fun fact: Kalamazoo is almost exactly the same size as Framingham!
- One of Joel’s favorite LGBTQ+ work experiences was chaperoning a group of undergraduate students to the 2014 Creating Change Conference. Ask him about his fave parts of the conference…and about an ice storm the group encountered during their drive from Houston to Michigan!
- They’re working on two new hobbies: playing ukelele and reading tarot. They try to strum a tune and pull a card each morning.
- You can frequently find Joel outdoors, hiking, playing tennis, or shooting hoops.
- When asked to identify their special talents, Joel points out that they draw comics and portraits…and that they can wiggle their ears!
- Some people pronounce his name as though it rhymes with “bowl,” while some stretch it out into two syllables so it sounds like “Jo-well.” He answers to either.
Joel is thrilled to be working directly with LGBTQ+ youth across all of our programs and loves that OUT MetroWest is dedicated to positive role modeling. Some of his first goals as program manager include growing the peer leadership program and cultivating the BIPOC youth hangout space.
And because we ask all new team members this question, we of course asked Joel which three queer and/or trans celebrities he’d invite to a hypothetical party! His reply?
Just three! This is a tough one. Alok Vaid-Menon is definitely making the list; their thoughts on gender and sexuality always make me feel so psyched about being queer & trans. Also, Janelle Monae in the hopes that she would perform something from her eclectic catalog. My last pick would have to be the queer astrologer Chani Nicholas so we could hear her read everyone’s birth chart.
We are super excited for Joel’s imagined party and, more importantly, for all the great work they’re already doing with our youth participants. We can’t wait for you to meet them in person!