I serve as Family Programs Director here at Our Family Coalition. I’m a lesbian mom, an immigrant, and have been a proud Bay Area resident for the past 25 years. I live in the East Bay with my spouse, our son, and our cat Frederic, whom we consider our second child.
I came to work at Our Family Coalition for deeply personal reasons that I’d like to share with you, before inviting you to join us in our work with a generous end-of-year donation.
My family had attended the LGBTQ Family Night at the YMCA in Berkeley since our son was a toddler, so we knew first-hand that the organization offered amazing programs and classes for families like mine. We saw more queer families under one roof in one night than we could hope to see in a year! And we kept coming back.
Then in 2011, we needed help dealing with homophobia at my son’s school. I had worked with the school to launch their first LGBTQ family group and became the VP of LGBTQ Affairs on the PTA’s Executive Board, but knew we needed more to make schools inclusive for our son and his classmates. I contacted OFC’s stellar Education Team to do a training for the teachers and parents. When I saw their impact on our school community, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that work.
When an opportunity to join OFC’s team came up, I leapt at it, and I’ve considered this work a calling ever since.
OFC’s family support programming is truly unparallelled: no other organization – locally or statewide – offers the quantity and quality of opportunities that we do for LGBTQ parents and caregivers of young children. At our workshops, playgroups, support groups, and community events, people break their isolation and find one another; they strengthen bonds with their kids and their community. Families learn about valuable resources and expand their leadership and parenting skills in spaces where families like ours are the norm, not the exception: all this thanks to Our Family Coalition’s work.
My son is now 12 years old. On the verge of his teen years, he wants to give back. He said to me,
“Mommy, I don’t have much money to donate. But I can give what I can spare.”
And he has been true to his word.
In addition to his modest donation, he has helped at our CampOuts. He helped kids with science projects at San Francisco Pride Family Garden, and helped kids make buttons declaring their family pride at Oakland Pride Family Garden.
It’s not always easy to get a tween to engage in something bigger than themselves. Yet when they do, they put their heart into it. My son sees the value of what OFC gives to the community and our family, and he wants to be a part of it. I couldn’t be more proud.
Our grant and foundation funding only goes so far – we have to rely on our community to reciprocate, to give back in whatever way they can. We offer nearly all our family support services on a donation basis, counting on those who can to help us.
If you’ve ever attended a workshop that gave you information that helped you support or protect your family; if you’ve ever gone to a parenting class or a support group that helped you feel you weren’t the only one; if you’ve ever come to a playgroup or a community event and saw your child playing with a wide-open heart, surrounded by families that looked like yours: please donate what you think that information, or that belonging, or that community has been worth to you and your family.
Your support will enable us to keep bringing our community together. Together, we build resilience and understanding. And with that, we can change the world.
Yours with pride,
Family Support Programs Director