Last month I launched a local initiative, a community-based GSA open to rainbow kids and their peer allies. It started small, but word is spreading, and folks, listen up. The kids who are attending? They want this. They NEED this.
The reason I’m writing about this again is twofold. It’s one thing to post about an idea, a theory. It’s another to post about a reality. And also, because I think it’s critically important to report on the above fact. The kids who are attending? They NEED this.
We’ve met twice. I’ve already been asked to up the meeting times from once a month to twice a month. I suspect if I went to a weekly format, they’d be all in.
There’s a need for community right now. There’s a need for support in a way we haven’t seen in several decades. And, quite frankly, these kids are awesome. They are a joy to spend time with and they have a lot to say. I don’t think they feel like they’re being heard right now, especially on a national level. I can’t give them that. But I can give them an immediate presence and a listening ear.
So can you!
Look, I get that you’re pressed for time and money is tight. Taking on the world is hard, and right now it feels like we’re all fighting to swim upstream. But this one? This one is easy.
I raided our board game stash. I suspect most people have a handful of board games around their house they could throw in a tote and lend out once or twice a month. Or know folks who have some board games they’d be willing to lend to the cause. For crafts, I’m starting with letting the kids lead. As they tell me what they want, I’m putting the word out and collecting donations. We all know crafters. And all crafters have stuff they’re willing to clear out to make room for new supplies. Craft supplies are not an insurmountable problem. Turning down a deluge of craft supply donations? That might be a bit of a problem!
Space in most towns is available at no cost. Libraries, schools, youth service bureaus, community centers, town halls, and places of worship are all worth giving a call.
Snacks? So far I’ve spent $4 out of pocket for each meeting. Chips and cookies have both been on sale at the local grocery store, 2 for $4. This doesn’t need to be a bank buster.
Look, I get that I’m pushing this hard. That’s because it’s becoming rapidly apparent that there is a real need for this, and it’s so easy to provide. This is affordable. This is caring. This is community. Our kids need this more than ever. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all 169 towns in CT offered a Rainbow Alliance to their kids? Something local, something accessible, something any kid can get to if they need it? Many of us didn’t have that when we needed it. We wanted to give our kids a better world and things have taken an unexpected swing in the other direction. That breaks my heart. But we can give them this. And it may make a real difference. Bullying prevention. Suicide prevention. Community building.