Ali and the 90 Silvery Capes

Creating a memorable Mardi Gras Parade floats takes a lot of imagination, stamina, and many people with skills. The parade design team met for 3 months planning, sewing, writing submissions for funding, gluing and emailing people.  So when the group decided to add a magical cape to this year’s costume, Ali Eaton took the challenge of leading sewing workshops. Silver lame is a tricky fabric to sew, not for Ali!

Ali says that she first wanted to get involved with Rainbow Families in 2016, when she saw the parade, “ I saw the joy on everyone's faces and the Love Makes a Family t-shirts made me teary!” Ali had also befriended a committee member who joined her local fruit and veg co-op. Ali was impressed by the work of the community group, “ Ifollowed the trip to Canberra on Facebook and was grateful for everyone that went to lobby for No Plebiscite!”

Like many parents joining Rainbow Families is about inclusion and support for our children. Ali says, “ I've wanted my kids to meet other rainbow families for a long time as they don't have close friends their own age in the same situation.” Ali speaks about her personal story, “ My story is a little different as I came out 9 years ago at age 40 after being married for 18 years. I have three older kids at Uni, and then two younger ones (Charlotte, 15 and Ruby, 9) who were in the float this year.”
 
Ali says that he children adjusted well to their mum having a girlfriend,  but there were sometimes some issues for the kids. She says that they were often wary of telling their friends about their family situation until they built up trust. Birthday parties were sometimes difficult and so were school functions. Ali feels grateful that her children were able to see her being happy.
 
When Ali told her youngest daughter Ruby that there were monthly get-togethers at the park she was excited to meet others like her.”  So when the call out for volunteers was made, Ali decided to get involved.  She found everyone to be so welcoming and friendly.  Ali says, “ I teach sewing so got involved with the silver cape making, helped out with glittering the big red hearts, and then ended up helping the committee with the first Mardi Gras Children's Art Exhibition.”
 
Volunteering is about giving back to our community, but it can also be personally rewarding. Ali says, “ I've really enjoyed being involved and its increased my own sense of happiness. When we moved I realised that the best way to meet people and form friendships is to get involved and volunteer. I love the positive sense of community and the direction you are taking Rainbow Families in with the antenatal classes, gatherings, information spreading and advocacy. Thank you so much for being so welcoming!”
 
Rainbow Families is about inclusion and participation. Co Chair Vanessa Gonzalez, “ It’s wonderful to have new people join with ideas, skills, and energy. I so appreciate Aliand the huge contribution she has made to this Mardi Gras season.”   
 
Bern Foley is the volunteer coordinator. If you are interested in becoming involved please send her an email.
 

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