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Flores heads board of GLBTQ+ nonprofit Affirmations

On September 25, 2018

 

BY EMILY JONES /  VN CO-EDITOR

Finding a place of total acceptance and understanding can be a hard task for anyone, let alone for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

There are places, however, that exist that do fit the ideal.

One of them is Affirmations in Ferndale, which is headed by a voluntary board led by a Detroit Mercy graduate, Mike Flores.

Affirmations is a non-profit that focuses on making sure that there is an inclusive, safe space for people of every sexual orientation and gender identity.

It also aims to offer a meeting place where people can learn and grow together without fear of judgment.

Affirmations has a paid staff, as well as a volunteer board of directors.

Learning that Flores is president of the Affirmations board may not come as a surprise to those who knew him during his long stay on the fourth floor of Shiple Hall.

He said the university instilled in him the Jesuit and Mercy traditions of community service, love and acceptance.

Flores is originally from Texas and moved to Michigan before attending Detroit Mercy.

“Living on campus was my full-college experience,” said Flores.

He stayed on campus for three years, even during summer months.

“I was actually a student ambassador,” said Flores. He also became a residence advisor and part of fraternity Alpha Omega.

After graduating from the school of business, he attended Oakland University to obtain his MBA.

His time at the Detroit Mercy prepared him well for his volunteer position at Affirmations, he said.

“They always instilled in me to work in areas or opportunities that give back to the community,” he said. The university “had a strong focus of justice.”

Flores said that his family also always stressed the importance of a strong, healthy community on which others can rely.

He left Michigan to return to Texas for a short time due to the recession.

However, he didn’t stay away long.

Flores returned in 2016 and picked Ferndale as his permanent place of residence.

After he settled down, he decided to keep doing what he loved most, giving back to the community.

Flores did not join Affirmations on a whim, though. He said he conducted an extensive analysis of various nonprofits that he could invest his time and energy into.

“I knew that I wanted to join a board,” said Flores.

He went from board member to vice president in a short amount of time.

It wasn’t long before he became the first-ever Latino-American to spearhead the non-profit.

He has a high opinion of the organization.

“I think what I like about Affirmations is that staff provides a spectrum of services for everyone in the community,” he said. “They make sure that they’re inclusive as possible.”

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