RALEIGH, N.C. — The LGBT Center of Raleigh will celebrate area superstars when it welcomes attendees to its upcoming Annual Awards Dinner & Gala, #10Years10Reasons, on Oct. 5, 7 p.m., at the Sheraton Raleigh, 421 S. Salisbury St.

Each year the center recognizes those whose service has gone well above that which could be expected. And this year, in honor of its 10th anniversary, it brings in Lydia Kinton to emcee the event. Kinton, a Wake County native and Durham, N.C. resident, is a licensed clinical social worker and serves as a healthcare compliance investigator with Public Consulting Group. She previously advocated against the discriminatory Amendment One measure. Today, she is a volunteer with the LGBTQ Center of Durham and has assisted with QORDS Camp. She is also an accomplished regional actress who has garnered nominations and awards for her craft.

Kinton, along with the center’s board, will bestow awards on the following, sharing inspiring stories about them and how the center has helped the lives of everyday people in the community, organizers shared. Recipients are: LGBTQ Ally of the Year, Britt Ellis; Organization of the Year, Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina (AAS-C); and Volunteers of the Year, Colin McKerrell and Alyssa Canty.

The Distinguished Service and Rising Star of the Year Awards were not available as of press time, but will be made available in qnotes online coverage.

Ellis, who helped create Stonewall Sports-Raleigh in 2013, has been an active ally. She realized her place within the community was to help bridge the gap between the LGBTQ and Raleigh communities overall, networking to find straight establishments that were inclusive and welcoming.

The AAS-C has been on the forefront in providing services for those affected and effected by HIV/AIDS in the Triangle area. Their programming includes testing, prevention education, pantry services, short-term counseling, Drag Bingo, AIDS Walk + 5K Run, Red Ribbon Ride and Works of Heart art auction.

McKerrell, as the Center Volunteer of the Year recipient, has worked at the center since 2014 after his son came out. He saw how negative attitudes affected his son and wanted to help make a difference for others in the LGBTQ community. McKerrell also served on the Out! Raleigh planning committee.

Cant, as the Center Program Volunteer of the Year recipient, began her service to the center as an intern in 2013 and never left. She became interested in working with the LGBTQ community when family members came out. She saw how they were treated and decided that she wanted to expand her knowledge while learning from other’s experiences.

On a related issue, the center is actively looking for volunteers to help out with center activities and community events. Interested parties are invited to fill out a profile at bit.ly/2PwqebL prior to attending an orientation session.

The gala features live entertainment and dinner, along with other options for community engagement.

Tickets are $125 until Sept. 15 and $150 afterward and can be procured online.

info: lgbtcenterofraleigh.com.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.