Monthly Archives: June 2019

Words of Wisdom from One Great Dad

above: Martin, Bob, and sons

Martin Mitchell works as an administrator in the Oakland Unified School District, and served as a member of Our Family Coalition’s Board of Directors for years. He’s now an OFC Emeritus Board member, and also Treasurer and a Deacon at City of Refuge UCC Church.

OUR FAMILY COALITION: Tell us a bit about your family: anything you’d like to share about how you came to be?

MARTIN MITCHELL: Bob and I have two adopted sons, one 16 and the other 24. We’ve been together for 18 years and legally married for five. Both our sons were adopted as teenagers, which is a bit unusual —but there’s a huge need in that area.

OFC: Has your notion of community uplift changed since you became a parent, and if so, how?

MM: No, it hasn’t. I’ve just had to learn how to plan better! (laughs) I’ve always been involved with the community. I’m almost 60, and I worked on my first political campaign when I was 16 years old! Throughout my life I’ve always been involved, whether it’s with some organization, mentoring young men, or tutoring kids—it’s how I was raised. You give back to the community when you can. So when I had children, I didn’t want to give that up. I just had to be sure that what I was involved with did not take time away from my family, and instead ideally include them.

OFC: What kinds of community volunteer work do you engage in now that has been family-friendly, and why?

MM: We’ve found the kids can easily be involved with us at church. For years, Bob was involved with the church food pantry. Our youngest son James would go with him twice a month. They would get there about 5:00AM, set it up, and then end up staying until it closed. It was how he got James involved. And it stuck.

OFC: Do you see your sons showing you new directions in community involvement?

MM: Both Bob and I come from families that were very involved where we grew up. Now that we’re parents, we know our children will eventually emulate what they grew up with. Since our parents instilled in us a sense of service, we’re hoping we can instill the same in our sons. The value of giving is multi-generational.

Lawrence, our oldest, is a court advocate. He works with young people who are in the juvenile justice system and are out on parole or waiting for their court cases. Helping others is a critical part of a career, for him. It’s just part of his personality.

James is the same way. When he first came to live with us, we used to talk a lot about helping others. But we saw that he already had that value in him; helping just came naturally. When he was in middle school, we always told him, “Don’t fight. Just walk away.” But the fights he got into were when he was protecting other kids who were being bullied. He’s very caring. Even when Bob couldn’t go to the pantry, James would make arrangements to have someone pick him up so he could still go.

OFC: How do you manage manage a life of service as a working parent?

MM: Whatever you engage in has to be something you’re going to enjoy. There are hundreds of organizations that need volunteers. Find organizations that your children can get involved in as well, so they can go with you, and at least from time to time, get involved. If you have a busy work life, your kids have sports and school, you just have to set a time aside and say, “As a family, we’re going to do this once a month.” If you can get the entire family involved, it works. And if not, as an individual you start that example, and maybe everyone else will follow.

OFC: Anything else you’d like to share?

MM: It’s a gift to be able to give back. And it teaches your kids to respect individuals who are less fortunate than they are. It’s just the luck of the draw. Any of us can be in that place at any time in our lives. You have to help others because there may be times when you’re going to need help. Life has a way of showing showing up at your front door when you don’t expect it!

Volunteer with OFC for SF Pride this month!


Greetings and happy Pride Month! And for those of you reading on June 3rd, happy #LGBTQFamiliesDay!

Our Family Coalition’s Programs Team is gearing up and we want you to join in the fun!

Every year we host the Family Garden at Civic Center Plaza for hundreds of LGBTQ+ families, as well as organize Our Family Coalition’s marching contingent for San Francisco’s world renowned LGBTQ Pride Parade.

As you can imagine, this event is a massive undertaking and we rely on a crew of dedicated volunteers to pull it off.

This year, there are three ways volunteers can plug into OFC’s Pride events:

1) Volunteer at the Pride Parade or Family Garden on Sunday, June 30th

Volunteers for the day of Pride help set up the Family Garden, assist with registering families, run fun activities, pass out swag along the parade route, assist with tear down, and much more. Volunteers will sign up for available time slots and have specific task assignments. Volunteers can participate as individuals or as part of a group. Shift details:

Marching Contingent 9am-1:30pm (tasks include: pre-registering families, holding banners/signs, handing out OFC materials, and marching with our contingent in the parade)
Family Garden 9am-1:30pm (tasks include: setting up tables & chairs, decorating booths, registering families, kids’ activities, etc)
Family Garden: 1:30pm-5:30pm (tasks include: registering families, kids’ activities, clean up, pack materials)

2) Assist with Pride prep at our office between Monday June 24 to Friday June 28

We’ll be assembling signs for the parade and organizing/packing other materials for the Family Garden. OFC will provide supplies, snacks and music, just bring yourself (and maybe a friend!). Even one hour of your time makes a big difference!

This opportunity is primarily for those with availability during our business hours (M-F, 9:30am-5:30pm) although there will be at least one evening opportunity during the week. Exact dates and times for volunteering TBA.

3) Join OFC’s SF Pride Planning Committee

If you’re looking for a larger commitment, join OFC staff and interns in planning for OFC’s marching contingent and Family Garden. Currently, we meet once every few weeks to work on various items, such as: volunteer outreach and coordination, event activities, logistics, and event promotion.

Committee members are expected to complete tasks between meetings, and meetings will become more frequent as we get closer to June 30th. Attending meetings In-person is ideal, but participation via conference call is also available.


If you or your group would like to volunteer, please fill out this PRIDE 2019 VOLUNTEER SIGN-UP FORM and we’ll get back to you with more information.

If you have any questions, contact SF doyenne Jeannette Page, at jeannette@ourfamily.org or 415-981-1960 x309. Thank you for supporting LGBTQ+ families at SF Pride!

And if you want to see what’s in store for the month preceding the big day, check out our Pride 2019 page.