Part of a Wonderful Tapestry"
Introducing Sarah Louise Hopkins, facilitator Northern Beaches Rainbow Families Playgroup
Sarah was born and grew up on the beaches. She loves being so close to the beach, and enjoys the relaxed vibes of the beaches. She has a partner, a little daughter and another baby on the way. Life is busy and wonderful. Sarah says, " Being a rainbow family on the beaches is quiet. We know a few other similar families but have always wanted to be part of a larger community that was closer than the city. "
Whilst there are other rainbow families on the beaches and north of Sydney, there is not an obvious gathering place. Sarah told us about the importance of inclusive books and being open about different types of families. She can see the value of her child meeting others with diverse families, " We live in a hetero normative society. I feel that interacting with other rainbow families will affirm my daughter's understanding of normal and build in her resilience." When children start going to school and developing their own social networks, they will have an understanding of their family. Sarah appreciates this and says, " So that when she goes to school and becomes more independent, she will not feel like her family is so different from the majority, but part of a wonderful tapestry. "
Sarah responded to a community need, and with the support of Rainbow Families started the Northern Beaches Rainbow Families Playgroup. She is a community builder, someone who puts her hand up, and makes things happen. It's been something she has been thinking about for a while, " I wanted to start this group years ago! I loved the Erskineville group but its too far away to attend regularly. It’s so important for children to be surrounded by a wide variety of families. I want my children to know they are part of a bigger community and their family is just as normal as any one else's."
Sarah talks about the playgroup, " At playgroup we have free play with a hall full of toys, do some craft, chat with other families over tea and coffee, read a story, sing songs and have a shared fruit snack together."
Being a new group, it's an opportunity for new families to attend and meet. Sarah warmly invites new members, " It's a new group so everyone is still making connections and getting to know each other. Sessions are open and friendly, engaging new families. This playgroup has more casual visitors so being welcoming is part of the culture."
Sarah has been a long-term volunteer for Rainbow Families, first attending the Sydney Rainbow Playgroup based in Erskineville and then volunteering 2 years in a row for Fair Day and also being part of the 2017 Mardi Gras Parade design crew. She has offered much of her own time to help build a wonderful supportive community. Sarah says that she gets a lot out of it herself, " I feel like I'm making our community more welcoming and inclusive and that makes me happy."
The Northern Beaches Rainbow Families Playgroup runs from the Collaroy Plateau Youth and Community Centre and provides parents and carers with an opportunity to meet other parents, make friends and share experiences and ideas. Children have fun, make new friends and develop through play.
For more information on the Northern Beaches playgroup you can ring Sarah (see below), or just turn up on the day. The weekly session fees are $4 and a piece of fruit to share for morning tea.
Where: Collaroy Plateau Youth and Community Centre 36 Blandford Street, Collaroy Plateau
When: Fridays from 9.30am to 11:30am
Contact: Sarah on 0435 942 578
Part of a Wonderful Tapestry"