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A Newsletter by Compass Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Palm Beach County @CompassCenter



Spring 2014 Issue


Victory is in the air. You can practically feel the momentum pulling us forward through history, out of the darkest of ages. You can feel victory on political battlegrounds across the country. You can see victory in the 2014 Winter Olympics and you can hear victory in today’s pop culture. Everywhere you look, we are winning.


It has been a long, hard road. None of us should have had to wait decades for equality, civility, or respect. None of us should have had to race against time so his or her family would find security in the face of adversity. We are living in a time of revelation, and we’re also living in a time many thought we’d never see. If you had asked me in 1990 if I thought there would be such a thing as a “gay community” in ten years, I would have said no. I had been programmed by age 18 to believe AIDS was God’s punishment for sin and in a matter of years gays would rightfully be eradicated from the earth. If you told me in 2000 same-sex marriage would sweep the nation over the next decade, I would have laughed it off. Just off the heels of 1993’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act – and states across the country passing their own constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman –


such a suggestion would have sounded like science fiction. And had someone told me a president we elected in 2008 would boycott the 2014 Sochi Olympics to put Russia's Putin in his place, I may have raised an eyebrow, but I wouldn’t have bet on it.  Professional athletes are coming out, courts are standing for equality and elected representatives are actually listening, trying to understand ALL of their constituents. 20 years ago today's reality was unimaginable. We are leaving our children in a world better than the one we inherited. So if it's pride that you feel, it's because you've earned it.   This issue of our newsletter is dedicated to Alfred Fiandaca, a man who knew the art of winning with style. Because of his contributions, his heart, his spirit and his willingness to lend his name to Compass, you will see success stories on each an every page of this newsletter. Alfred was a friend to Compass and to me. He was a man who lived in his community, loved his community and influenced those around him to love our community center. Alfred Fiandaca was a compass. He was a winner and a hero. Without Alfred our Compass would not have these stories of success to tell. He will forever be revered for his designs and artistic talent. But for those of us honored to know and love him he will be remembered for his endless optimism, his legacy of giving and his superior ability to make everyone he interacted with look and feel like a winner.

OUR MISSION Compass aims to diminish stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

!We accomplish this by emboldening our youth, promoting pride in our community, and acting as an educator, advocate, health service provider, and focal point for community organizing.


The Alfred Fiandaca Ballroom dedication

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Compass is Nonprofits First Certified

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Youth are Creating Change

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It’s time for PrideFest! of the Palm Beaches

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Elton John AIDS Foundation awards! $50,000 for third year | 561.533.9699

Ross Meltzer & Tony Plakas

Sonja & Mark Stevens

Mark Foley, Donna Winterson & Brian Weeks

COCKTAILS FOR COMPASS ! MOST SUCCESSFUL TO DATE ! The 11th annual Cocktails for Compass gala took place December 16 at Club Colette in Palm Beach. Ross Meltzer and Sonja Stevens, the event co-chairs, welcomed the organizations top contributors to the sold out event. Compass CEO, Tony Plakas, announced that the gross revenue exceeded $100,000 this year, making it the largest fundraiser in it’s history. The late Alfred Fiandaca was remembered and honored by friends and supporters. Attendees gathered on the cool breezy December night to celebrate and contribute to the largest event in history. A silent auction featured high-end items from Tiffany, Emilio Pucci, Neiman Marcus, Gucci & an electric guitar signed by Melissa Etheridge. PNC Wealth Management and Friends of Mark Foley underwrote the event so that 100% of every contribution goes back to the agency. Top contributors include James Berwind & Kevin Clark, Beverlee & John Raymond, John Noffo Kahn, The honorable Mark Foley, Don Burns and many other organizations. Proceeds benefit the many services offered at Compass by providing financial resources for activities and special events held outside the scope of funded, direct service programs. If you would like to contribute to Compass or to be added to the invite list for this event please contact Development Director Jimmy Zoellner at 561-533-9699 or email

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Jamie Foreman & Victor Figueredo

Mariano Morales & Marc Wise

Dan Hall & Michael Grattendick

Peter Rogers & Sid Lesowitz

Tony Jaggi & Donald Watren

John & Beverlee Raymond

Photos courtesy of the Palm Beach Daily News

INTRODUCING THE ALFRED FIANDACA COMMUNITY BALLROOM! This past week, Compass hosted a dedication to name the largest room in the community center the Alfred Fiandaca Community Ballroom. Alfred, who passed away a year ago last February, was a third generation fashion designer who co-chaired the organization’s annual gala Cocktails for Compass at Club Colette for the last decade. Alfred’s name and commitment, brought notoriety and increased support for Compass’ life-saving case management and prevention programs for HIV and AIDS. Since the fundraiser’s inception more than ten years ago, Alfred’s vision for the annual gala helped raise more than a half million dollars to help renovate the current

state-of-the-art center located in artistic downtown Lake Worth. As Compass is commemorating 5 years in the renovated space this year, the expansion of programs, services and accomplishments since the move has been monumental. The early evening dedication included Alfred’s husband Carl Bartels, Mark and Sonja Stevens, and Alfred’s daughter and Boston resident, Michelle Fiandaca Cassidy. Many of Alfred’s friends, family, former staff and notable clients from his stores locations in New York, Boston and Palm Beach were also in attendance for the very touching and special dedication at the community center.

Appropriately named, the Alfred Fiandaca Community Ballroom has already been host to several concert events, classical symphonies, theater groups, dance classes and the largest LGBT Youth Equality Prom in south Florida. Alfred loved music, fun, and most of all; dancing. What he lacked in stature, he made up for with his larger-than-life personality. For those who didn’t know Alfred, his vision for Compass to be a beacon of love, support and a quality of life came true for thousands of people both young and old. And thanks to some dedicated people, his name and legacy will be preserved above the ballroom’s grand double doors for the next generation of dancers to come.

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As a Nonprofits First Certified organization for the eighth consecutive year in a row, Compass Community Center continues to demonstrate best practices standards and improved efficiency. The certification process is based on a unified set of administrative standards meeting core federal, state, local and funder requirements. Achieving annual certification allows nonprofit organizations to manage risks, identify financial trends, and most importantly demonstrate accountability and

management excellence to funders and stakeholders. Nonprofits First was established in Palm Beach County by a coalition of funders and other community partners to strengthen the operational capacity of local nonprofit organizations. The program helps organizations achieve their mission by overcoming administrative challenges, ensuring compliance with mandatory and best practice standards, and improving efficiency. These standards are verified by subject matter experts in each area, offering third party confirmation of management excellence. Through periodic onsite reviews and a year-long assessment tool, Compass’ financial and organizational practices are continuously observed, evaluated and verified to comply with over 800

Pipeline Project’s 2013-2014 Cohorts & Director Clarence Patton

benchmarks to achieve Certification for Nonprofit Excellence. These benchmarks include standards in administration and operations, board governance, organizational planning, risk management, charitable solicitation, human resources and financial management. Over the last decade, Compass’ accountability has been greatly enhanced to funders, donors and stakeholders. Certification has increased recognition and reputation among peers in the nonprofit sector as well as created a solid foundation for building continuous improvement. Our staff, board and volunteers are very proud of the work that we do, and know that maintaining a sound, solid and fiscally responsible organization is just as important to our mission as the services we provide.

Marsharee Chronicle


Marsharee Chronicle, Health Services Director, is among 17 fellows selected from around the nation to participate in the 2013-2014 Pipeline Project’s 21st Century Fellows Program. She is entering her 9th year as an employee of Compass and is an integral part of the organization’s senior management staff. Her goal for this fellowship is to develop her leadership presence and use her voice to influence local, state, and national policy on issues affecting the LGBT community. “I feel so honored to have been selected to participate in this program,” said Chronicle. “Not only do I have the support of my organization as I develop my


capacity, but I also get to meet and develop a bond with other leaders from national LGBT and social justice organizations. These people, my cohorts, will be the next Executive Directors in our movement.” Only 4% of Executive Directors of LGBT organizations are people of color according to a 2008 report. The Pipeline Project developed the 21st Century Fellows Program to address this gap. Based in New York City, the Pipeline Project works to increase the levels of diversity within LGBT organizations. Now developing the leadership capacity of its fourth group of cohorts since its inception in 2009, the 21st Century Fellows Program is a year-long



program for LGBT people of color who are working in LGBT human rights, service and advocacy organizations nationwide. Each fellow is nominated by their Executive Director at their current organization. Program curriculum includes beginning and endpoint 360 evaluations, participating in Rockwood Institute’s The Art of Collaborative Leadership retreat, two additional training and development retreats, and the creation of personal leadership development plans. The fellowship is funded by the Arcus Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund.

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Last fall, all of our youth were encouraged to apply for the YouthLink Scholarship to attend the 26th Annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and not one but two of our teens won! The Creating Change Conference, which is organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, took place in Houston, Texas on January 29th through February 2nd. Close to 4,000 people from every corner of the country attended the conference that offered nearly 400 workshops, trainings, meetings, and events. Our youth attended workshops relating to leadership, advocacy, and social change; and had the opportunity to meet movers and shakers including comedienne and advocate, Kate Clinton, her partner and former Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Urvashi Vaid, and Laverne Cox, trans-advocate and star of the hit show Orange is the New Black. As the Youth Program grows, it is vital that we are nurturing our young leaders by providing opportunities to stretch their wings outside of our Youth Drop-In Center. Ethan, one of our youth scholars, explained, “As a youth activist, I found myself having a say in what my schedule was like, and was treated as an intellectual equal no matter what workshop I attended, which I constantly find myself seeking in life back home.” His counterpart, Emma, added, “The things I learned at Creating Change are things I will carry through my life and will be more than happy to share with my surrounding community.” The primary goal of the Creating Change Conference is to build our movement’s political power from the ground up to secure our overarching goal of full equality, social justice, and dignity for LGBT people nationwide; and it does just that. For our youth, and all attendees, having the opportunity to attend the 26th Annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and experience how our local efforts contribute to the national movement, was more eye-opening than all of the workshops combined. We are creating change right here in Palm Beach County. Compass’ Youth Program is no longer about simply providing a safe space for LGBTQA youth; We are providing opportunities for the future leaders of this community to come forth, fulfill their maximum potential, and carry the torch. Compass Youth are the next generation of activists, executive directors, CEOs, and elected officials. Our Youth are the future of this country and as long as we continue offering them chances to shine, the future will be bright.

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Compass Staff & Youth with Kate Clinton and her partner Urvashi Vaid

Laverne Cox with Compass Youth Members

Compass Youth Members with Tony Plakas

NOH8 Photo Shoot

UNITED WAY AWARDS $30,000 TO COMPASS YOUTH PROGRAM! For 25 years, Compass has provided a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth of Palm Beach County. Late last year, Compass received $30,000 in funding from United Way of Palm Beach County for its newest initiative, Peer Mentoring for youth. The Compass Youth Peer Mentoring Program will enhance the agency’s existing youth services by pairing older LGBTQ teens with younger LGBTQ youth in one-on-one mentorship. Peer mentors provide guidance, support,

addressing bullying, peer pressure, and the many obstacle of adolescence. The Compass Youth program offers a safe, nonjudgmental environment for LGBTQ youth between 11-18 by counseling, educating and empowering them. Compass strives to ensure all youth in Palm Beach County are safe from discrimination and harassment, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender expression. More than 1,000 children and their families have accessed services through Compass’ Youth program since its inception.


In a world where LGBT youth are at a disproportionate higher risk for depression, homelessness, bullying and suicide than their straight counterparts, Compass strives to empower those who are struggling to be heard. The results of which can best be seen in the entourage group which is dedicated to improving the lives and community of young gay and bisexual men by providing them with information and education in a fun and entertaining way, along with a space to be themselves. They have recently joined forces at Compass with the Queer Alternatives group, which is open to all LGBT young adults. This collaboration allows members to be represented and participate in the fun. On Friday nights the group gets together to socialize, play games, watch movies, share stories, play volleyball, and just have a kiki! Whispers of future coffee houses, fashion shows and nights out

together can be heard in the halls. Entourage has also developed the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Council of Palm Beach County. This group, comprised of GSA members from local universities, gets together as the next generation of leaders and advocates creating a network of support. Monthly gatherings include discussing ideas, support, fundraising opportunities, sharing upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Entourage is looking forward to making a huge splash at Pridefest of The Palm Beaches. This will be the group’s first pride festival and they are looking forward to their debut. They are kicking off the Pride celebrations with a Compass Night at Rooster on March 26th. This "Spring Pride Kick-off" Party will have drag shows, raffles, DJ spinning the hottest hits and a few surprises. Entourage is always looking for new members with fresh ideas. Come and join the movement.

Yoga Class

Volleyball Games


Gay Chili Cook Off 2014

The 2nd Annual Gay Chili Cook Off took place at Penny’s at the Duke this past February. Over two hundred people came out to support Compass Youth and vote for their favorite chili. A dozen contestants entered their best chili into the contest, collecting donations for Compass Youth at every tent. All of the drag performers donated their tips to the youth program, and along with a matching grant from Our Fund the event raising over $6,000. Events like the Gay Chili Cook Off and the Annual Palm Beach Integrity Mardi Gras for the Youth Drop-In Center




not only allow us to provide opportunities for our youth, outside of the Youth Drop-In Center, but also demonstrate to our youth that there is a loving and supportive community, here in Palm Beach County. Without contributions like these, from community members like you, we would not have been able to host Equality Prom, send our youth to a national conference, or make a trip to our state capitol for Lobby Days this March. Without you, none of this would be possible. On behalf of Compass Youth, Thank you! Don’t stop believing.

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PRIDEFEST OF LAKE WORTH AND THE PALM BEACHES TURNS 21 Since 2000, the gay pride flag has been raised annually in anticipation of PrideFest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches. The event, being held on March 29 & 30 at Bryant Park, will be themed this year with “Fanta-Sea”, as Compass celebrates 26 years of community centered services to Palm Beach County and 5 years of a private-public partnership with the city of Lake Worth.

PrideFest, now on its 21st year, features two days of nonstop performances by drag queens, bands, pop and dance divas, merchandise from over 140 booth vendors, and an awesome selection of food. Expecting almost 20,000 people at the waterfront event, PrideFest of the Palm Beaches has become one of Florida’s most entertaining gay pride festivals. The spectacular Bryant Park in Lake Worth is the perfect location with shaded grassy areas and an outdoor amphitheater right on the Intracoastal Waterway. Sunday’s parade will be led by the historic Wells Fargo Stagecoach. For the past four years, stage sponsor Wells Fargo, leads the pride parade with their iconic stagecoach marking the only stagecoach appearance on any pride parade in the state of Florida. The stagecoach has only been featured in pride parades such as New York city, San Francisco, Chicago and now is a staple in Compass’ parade in Lake Worth. PrideFest is Compass’ largest outreach event and emphasizes the importance of diversity in the community, making it stronger and more accepting of all individuals and their contributions to society. Among many attendees, local elected and appointed representatives including the mayors and commissioners of the city of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth, have attended annually and shown their support for the event. Advance tickets are only $6 and can be purchased at Compass, and the following sponsors; Roosters, The MadHatter Lounge, Studio 205, Fort Dix and Penny’s at the Duke. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to avoid the lines at the gate. For more information, call Compass at 561-533-9699 or visit





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ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION AWARDS $50,000 FOR HIV PEER NAVIGATION PROGRAM The Elton John AIDS Foundation awarded Compass $50,000 for the 2014 calendar year to support volunteer HIV services. This is the third year in a row that the largest funder of LGBTQ causes in the U.S. South helps support HIV prevention and case management services at Compass. The award enhances Compass’ programs by empowering people infected with or impacted by HIV by giving them the tools to help others dealing with the virus known to cause AIDS. The program increases participants’ involvement and knowledge of their own health care and encouraged community members to work with their peers to adhere to life-saving medications, maintaining medical

appointments, and utilizing peer navigators to negotiate the complex and overwhelming system of care. “It is an honor to have been awarded a grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation again," said Tony Plakas, Compass’ CEO. “Their mission of HIV prevention, stigma reduction and direct care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS directly aligns with Compass’ 25 year old mission because EJAF understands the role friends and family play in the health and fitness of those they love." The Peer Mentoring program at Compass recruits and trains volunteers who already have years of experience living with HIV/AIDS to serve as navigators for newly

Joseph Pubillones Interiors Mixer

diagnosed individuals. For years these navigators help newly diagnosed individuals increase treatment adherence, support and mentorship, map systems of care, decrease isolation, learn acceptance of HIV status and empower individuals to take an assertive role in the health of themselves and their community. The program also includes a monthly support group that meets the third Thursday of every month and is open to all HIV positive individuals in the area. If you would like to know more about this program please contact Health Services Director, Marsharee Chronicle by email

Fort Dix Mixer Photos courtesy of Charlie Fredrickson

COMPASS’ BUSINESS ALLIANCE SOARS TO RECORD NUMBERS Pampas Grille at City Place, Williams Wright Collection in Lake Worth, The Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach, Fort Dix in West Palm Beach. Yes, you are reading it all correctly. Compass has been featuring the variety and creativity of the gay business community located in Palm Beach County through hosting monthly business mixers at various local venues by savvy business owners who know how to market their product. Compass’ Business Alliance has over 300 active members with a safe directory of resources of caring businesses and individuals. Every month Compass invites one business member to host the monthly

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mixer. It is always an amazing evening of cocktails and lite bites with the opportunity to visit a business that might be new to you and meet many other motivated individuals. During the past year the popularity of the business alliance has increased significantly. The monthly mixers provide the perfect atmosphere for business individuals to meet face-to-face and build relationships. National research shows that more and more businesses are striving to build relationships with the gay community. Compass is leading this trend by promoting a unified and thriving, gay and gay-friendly, business and professional community through the county.

Over the past months, we have seen a steady growth in mixer attendance and continually hear back from attendees. “I am so glad I made this connection, the hotel was the perfect setting for my 2-day conference,” someone wrote to us. “Thanks for organizing this, I gained two potential new clients” said another member. The locations are always helpful in “setting the scene” to engage in relaxed, professional discussions and are always fun. The Business mixers are the perfect opportunity for all businesses, large and small, to meet socially and ultimately work together to build a stronger and more thriving LGBT community.



South Florida Gay News featured Tony Plakas and Jamie Foreman in their inaugural “South Florida OUT50”, a list of activists, business leaders, movers and shakers, spiritual leaders, and other out and proud members of the local LGBT community.

CASE MANAGERS PARTNER ! WITH GILEAD SCIENCE Compass’ health services staff are partnering with Gilead Sciences to increase capacity through a pilot project. Compass has developed a strategic plan of action to increase the knowledge and skills for staff and clients. The goal is to link patients who are newly diagnosed with HIV, retain them in care, and prepare them to start antiretroviral therapy in order to reach optimal health. This strategic initiative with Gilead is based on the treatment cascade promoted by Dr. Edward Gardner and his colleagues in 2011. The treatment cascade is a model used to identify gaps in HIV care and show opportunities to improve engagement across the entire continuum of care. Over the past decade, antiretroviral therapy has become more potent, better tolerated, and less complex. Today, most individuals who are HIV + and receive a combination therapy can achieve an undetectable level. Nevertheless, deficits in the spectrum of engagement in HIV care, including late HIV diagnosis, suboptimal linkage to and retention in HIV care, insufficient use of antiretroviral therapy and non-adherence to therapy, pose significant barriers to achieving supreme treatment outcomes. Focused efforts are needed at each stage to keep people engaged in treatment. Compass Case Management department provides services that promote healthy outcomes and is committed to doing its part. Gilead provides Compass Case managers access to educational resources and training to improve essential skills. Staff will be able to identify barriers, meet service delivery goals and innovate creative solutions to move clients along the care continuum.


PALM BEACH POWER COUPLE It was through activism and work at Compass that brought together Tony Plakas and Jamie Foreman, who have been together since November 1997 and married since 2011. Plakas, the CEO, first started working there that year and Foreman had moved down to South Florida and was looking for volunteer work. Together, they’ve garnered their strengths to make the community center what it is today. Originally, the center was almost solely focused on HIV/ AIDS, but now has also branched out to what Plakas calls a “fullfledged community center” with events like PrideFest and the Stonewall Ball. “Our kids still need a safe place to go to be themselves and hang out,” he said. Foreman, an attorney, volunteers with the center as well as the Human Rights Council and also helped expand PrideFest from a 500-person gathering to a two-day extravaganza drawing 15,000 attendees, including local leaders, businesses and other parts of the Palm Beach community. “It’s a testament to not only what we do but the amount of volunteers we have,” he said.

Compass has partnered with Hospice of Palm Beach county to provide a much needed bereavement group for the LGBT community. The LGBT bereavement group meets at Compass the 2nd and 4rd Monday of each month at 6:30 PM and is particularly tailored to the loss of a partner or significant other. Compass’ Mental Health therapist created this support group to discuss issues that are relevant to LGBT individuals and obtain the social support to cope with their grief in a functional way. Nine years of direct services to the LGBT population at Compass has taught Hugo Rocchia, Compass’ Mental Health therapist, the particularities of the mourning process and the issues faced by members of the LGBT community. When a LGBT person loses a partner or significant other, the trauma is frequently aggravated by the lack of family recognition of the relationship. When anyone survives their spouse, they experience certain social and mental health reactions that are common to every human being, however, LGBT people often lack support and experience discrimination. The group focuses on a 5 week curriculum that helps individuals navigate the grieving stages including special considerations on exacerbating factors in our population. Its early implementation and success is already showing participants to increase emotional stability, solidify social networks and personal resiliency. The LGBT bereavement group is one of the many free Mental Health Services provided at Compass, donations are always welcomed. Private sessions are available on a sliding scale to accommodate every budget. If you want to participate, please contact Hugo Rocchia at 561-533-9699. Page 11 | | 561.533.9699



Membership and contributions enhance Compass’ funded programs by providing financial resources for community center activities and special events held outside of the scope of our funded, direct service programs.!

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$35! ! $100! ! $250! ! $750! ! $1,200! $2,500! $5,000!

Member! Supporter! Community! Advocacy! Legacy! Leader! Vitality!

Name:____________________________________________! Phone Number:___________________Birthday __________! Email Address: ____________________________________! Billing Address: ____________________________________! City:______________________ State:_____ Zip:_________ ! Name as you would like it to appear in all published materials, plaques and signs: !





_________________________________________________! I would like to remain anonymous !

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I am interested in quarterly or monthly payments, please contact me to set that up.



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Checks enclosed payable to Compass! Visa | MasterCard | Discover | American Express! Card #:______________________________Exp: _ _ / _ _! ! Signature:_____________________ CCV Code: _________!


Mail completed form to:! Compass | Attn: Membership! 201 N. Dixie Hwy.! Lake Worth, FL 33460!


Questions? 561.533.9699 or



201 North Dixie Highway! Lake Worth, FL 33460! Phone 561.533.9699 | Fax 561.586.0635! |!


Community Center Hours! Monday - Thursday 10 am - 8:30 pm! Fridays 10 am - 5 pm! Saturdays 2 pm - 6 pm!


David Bohnett CyberCenter Hours! Monday - Thursday! 11 am - 7 pm! Fridays 11 am - 3 pm!


This newsletter is printed by Compass Gay & Lesbian Community Center in partnership with South Florida Gay News

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Rapid HIV Testing Hours! Mondays & Thursdays 4 pm - 7:30 pm! Tuesdays 1 pm - 5:30 pm!


First Thursday of the month! the Department of Health provides Hepatitis A & B Vaccinations, Hepatitis C & Syphilis Testing, Tetanus Shots & Flu Shots (seasonal).

2014 Spring: Compass Directions  

Insert from Compass Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Palm Beach County