Affirmations Welcomes New Youth Program Coordinator


Meet Ian Unger, who moved to Michigan from Wisconsin with his wife, and recently joined Affirmations as the new youth program coordinator.

"Ian has the education, experience and passion that Affirmations needs to lift Affirmations' youth programming to the next level," said Susan Erspamer, executive director.

There are no limits to what Unger can accomplish under the direction of Liliana Angel Reyes, who said Unger has worked with marginalized youth, specifically transgender youth, to give them the resources they need to be their authentic selves.

Reyes, program services director, said, "His passion for youth empowerment moves Affirmations to a greater reach with youth and their intersections."

What is your favorite book?

Harry Potter, hands down, is my favorite book series. Specifically, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite book in the series as well. However, if I had to pick something other than Harry Potter, I would say Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Dystopian alternate realities are some of my favorite literature.

What is your favorite thing about Affirmations?

The sense of community and inclusion is my favorite thing about Affirmations. Within days of starting, everyone from staff to community members felt like I'd known them for a long time. It was great to be able to start my position and feel immediately supported and welcomed, and hearing the feedback from community members that they also feel welcome and safe in this space is fantastic.

What is your favorite non-work weekend activity?

I enjoy going on small adventures and road trips with my wife, discovering new locations and restaurants, spending time at state parks, or going to museums.

Do you have a favorite meal?

I rarely eat the same thing more than once, because I love trying new food. But my go-to for a more creative dinner is going out for sushi.

Why do you do this work?

This is always a fun question, because I kind of just fell into this line of work and ended up loving it. I earned a business degree in college, but realized that I wanted to do something for people. While I was in college, I was extremely involved in the LGBT organization there as the president and an intern at their LGBT resource center. When I discovered Affirmations existed, I was excited to know I could continue that activism as a career.

Where is the place you long to vacation?

I would love to trek across Asia at some point. There is so much history and culture that we simply don't get to learn enough about, and experiencing that firsthand would be amazing.

For information about youth programs at Affirmations, connect with Ian Unger at iunger@goaffirmations.org.
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