With the festive season upon us, the Rainbow Families Committee would like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays.  
 
The current committee would also like to take the opportunity to thank our outgoing secretary Diana Coffey, and our founding Co-chair Justine Maguire – Scarvelli, who both stepped down from the committee recently. We want to also acknowledge the contribution of Scott Williams who led marketing and social media development. Scott, Diana and Justine have volunteered countless hours over the last few years, helping to grow Rainbow Families to the wonderful organisation it is today. We thank you for your dedication, passion and of course, friendship.
 
2016 has been a challenging year for the LGBTIQ community. However, Rainbow Families has worked toward the goal of supporting connecting and empowering our community. The end of the year is a good time to reflect on all we have achieved in the last 12 months.  

One of the highlights of the year was being involved in stopping the harmful plebiscite. Rainbow Families members went to Canberra to discuss with politicians the unnecessary effects a plebiscite would have on our families. We also met Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek at a round table discussion with other LGBTIQ community organisations in Sydney, and were involved in George Brandis’ consultations with the LGBTIQ community. We are confident that bringing the voice of children was instrumental in the demise of the plebiscite.
 
There was the 2nd Annual Snow Trip organised by Sandra Santos, a host of parenting programs, weekly playgroups, and supported regional groups. The annual Halloween Disco and End of Year party were both amazing. Bigger and better than ever.  

Sydney also hosted IFED (International Family Equality Day) for the first time celebrating our diverse families.  All of these events gave us an opportunity to reflect on what a wonderful community we are part of. A village of parents, carers and prospective parents that want to connect with each other.
 
We are active in fundraising with the aim of offering families greater support and building a sustainable organisation. We raise funds by seeking community grants, community donations, and also putting on two huge sausage sizzles at Bunnings. Fundraising has meant that we can offer free or low-cost parenting programs, seminars, and subsidise events, as well as fully fund a family to attend the snow trip.
 
A special thank you to all the volunteers, and to the organisation and businesses that have provided support, funds, work in kind, and partnered with us to better service our community. We value partnership and working together.
Rainbow Families looks forward to 2017. We will be welcoming some new committee members and we will be introducing them in the new year. We have a huge Mardi Gras program being released in early January. As well as Fair Day and the Parade we have a children's art exhibition, two movie screening with Queerscreen, our Making Rainbow Families seminar and much more.
 
Contact us if you would like to get involved.
 
Sometimes the holiday season can be a challenging time. Our friends at Twenty 10 and the Gay and Lesbian Counseling Service developed a 'Surviving Christmas' zine for this year. It's filled with information, advice and activities to inspire you during the holiday period.
 
On behalf of Rainbow Families, Seasons Greetings.

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