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Pages tagged "Kids Stuff"

Pen Pal Club

We have started a pen-pal club with Rainbow Families USA!

Children can learn about another culture, share their own stories about their family and culture in Australia, have an opportunity to make a lifetime friend or two, improve their non-electronic communication skills, even learn how international post works!
With this program, children and young people aged 5 to 16 from the US and Australia will sign up and answer a couple of questions (age, interests, address, parent/guardian  approval). As registrations come in, we will match children and young people based on their age range and shared interests.

Click here for additional info and signup form. 

Parents:  Encourage your younger kids to participate!  They can even draw a picture or two, or get help from a parent or guardian with writing a little story about themselves.   There’s a real delight when they see an envelope arrive with their name on it, and this is a great lesson in patience as well…no immediate gratification here.  All registrations and communications are handled through a parent/guardian.

Check out this great video explaining more about the program

We will communicate (via email, only with parents) when a pairing is made.   The email will be sent to both families (together), with the children’s names, mailing address, and the parents’ name/email.   At that point, Rainbow Families will step out of the process unless one of the participants wants to leave the club and request a new pen pal.  Parents are welcome to communicate with one another via email if needed. 
All people involved will agree to respect, kindness and no bullying/harassment.

Camp was excellent

As the sun was fading over the Narrabeen Lake, some 40 children and their families arrived at Narrabeen Sport and Rec Camp Site for our Resilience Camp. The camp program was designed to support children to develop the building blocks for resilience, and space for parents to share their stories and their hopes for their parenting and their children. Many parents saw their children try new things, make new friends, and they themselves made new connections.

For many, it was also an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging and solidarity, to be authentic and be able to share some of the challenges of parenting, our fears and our hopes for our families. And to be with community.

It was nice to spend time together as a family, and it was nice to also spend time together with our community. - Parent feedback

 

Children and Parent Resilience Workshops

This year our wonderful CoChair Vanessa Gonzalez ran resilience workshops for parents and children. In small groups parents were able to share their challenges, and secrets to success, as well as their feelings about coming to camp. In the kids workshops, the group worked together to identify resilience skills, and tools to implement to be able to bounce back.  

Parent's Experience

Those that attended have reported that it felt safe, supportive and a much-needed event.

We don’t live in the Inner West, it can feel isolating where we are as not a huge active Rainbow community here. As a parent, it was also nice to just have time to talk to other parents without the pressures of rushing around/school/work/ etc etc we could take time to get to know one another. - Parent feedback

Many parents spoke about sometimes feeling invisible as rainbow parents, or judged, alone, or about the weight of upholding a reputation as a perfect parent in the face of some discrimination. Many spoke about feeling they could be themselves at camp.

Best part was as we were leaving camp and my son telling me how families come in all sorts of ways, 2 mums, 2 dads, 2 mums and 2 dads, 1 mum, 1 dad; however, they are all families! - Parent feedback

There were 24 family groups which reflected our vibrantly diverse community including one trans and gender diverse-parented family, many single-parented families, 1 co-parented family, a nice mix of lesbian mums, gay dads and bi+ parents. Families travelled from various locations including from Inner West, Eastern Suburbs and outer Sydney as well as regional NSW. There was also a wide age range of children which ranged from 4 month to 12 years old

The kids really loved it all, this was their first rainbow Families experience as we are from the country, and a newly rainbow family. The camp brought up list of questions from the kids and we had the time and space to answer them. Our family was normalized in a way we just can't do in our country community. - Parent feedback

Children's Experience

Children had the opportunity to participate in a packed program.

The camp was a technology free space, and during the small times of free time there were spontaneous games of soccer, Uno, colouring-in, making friendship bracelets, and tip in the dark.

My daughter loved all of the outdoor activities - canoeing, archery, swimming, cricket, scooting. My daughter enjoyed making new friends with the other kids at the camp. It was great to see her with new kids connecting, and having fun.

My children loved meeting lots of different kids from different families. Loved all the sports activities and freedom to be able to run around independently. – Parent feedback

A highlight was the reptile show from WildLife Sydney on Friday night, and the cricket skills session from the Sydney Sixers.

 

Contribution from Lush

Lush made a generous contribution towards the camp. This year we used this money to pay for a number of families that would not otherwise have had the opportunity to go to camp. We also offered discount places to families on low incomes. Around half of the attendees were at camp because of the contribution from Lush. These families were extremely grateful for the opportunity to come to camp.

We received free tickets and this helped us a lot. We wouldn't have been able to come along otherwise. My kids and I attended last year's camp and I really wanted my partner to come this time as she feels very disconnected from the Rainbow community. So having the opportunity for us to attend for her benefit was absolutely amazing. She walked away meeting new friends and making new connections and thoroughly enjoyed her time.

Our places were fully funded. Without this we couldn't have gone to camp. 

Camp 2021 - 

We are already planning next year's camp and hope to see you there.

 


Do you want to join our Youth Advisory Council?

We are looking for 16 young people to join us as we start an exciting new project for our Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

In partnership with Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre we are offering a monthly YAC meeting for teenagers in the Rainbow Families Community.

There will be a junior and senior council, ranging in age from 11 – 21 years. The junior council will take part in a cooking workshop led by chef and Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre Community Programs Coordinator Stephen Lunny. Each month Stephen and the Junior YAC will explore healthy eating principles and will cook a simple meal for the YAC to share.

The senior council will operate more formally and work on a project of their choice that will run over the year. These sessions will be facilitated by Rainbow Families Co-Chair Vanessa Gonzalez. The group will decide on an issue they want to have a positive impact on in their community, with the goal of launching the project in June next year.

The program will run on the second Thursday of each month from 6.30 – 8.30 at the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. Due to COVID restrictions parents are encouraged to drop the YAC members at the centre, and enjoy dinner at one of the local eateries with other YAC parents. Unfortunately there is no capacity for parents to stay with the current restrictions.

 

Dates for 2020

Thursday September 10th

Thursday October 8th

Thursday November 12th

Thursday December 10th

 

The program is limited to 16 participants in total. Themes and knowledge will develop from month to month, so we ask that families commit to the full year if possible.

This program is possible thanks to funding from The City Of Sydney, and our partnership with Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. 

If your teenager is interested in being part of this project please contact us.


Separation Guide

Separation can be an isolating experience if you are an LGBTQ+ parent.  Where do you look for guidance if the models for post-separation parenting that you see around you for just don’t fit? How do you access support when the available services don’t seem to respond your family’s needs? Rainbow Families has responded by developing “The Separation Guide”. Like our other resources, the Guide draws on the experiences of community members. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to those who have been incredibly generous in telling their stories and sharing their wisdom from lessons learned. They are doing post-separation parenting in the way that works best for their families.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, separated parents have had to be flexible and child-focused in co-parenting their children. The changes and ongoing uncertainty regarding work, school and other activities has meant an anxious time for many people and brought additional challenges for co-parenting. While few of us saw this coming, the ability to respond to unforeseen events is the mark of a good co-parenting relationship.

A good co-parenting relationship isn’t automatic though. It takes hard work and time and the willingness to develop good communication. Some parents might not get there for reasons beyond their control and safety should always be the priority. It’s about putting your child first but it’s also about not making things hard for yourself. The way you manage situations from the beginning will establish a foundation for the future.

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The Story Of Auntie Uncle

Hello! I’m Ellie Royce, children’s author. I've just celebrated the release of my new picture book Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero written by me, illustrated by Hannah Chambers and published by Pow!Kids Books in Brooklyn, New York. It’s one of the very first children’s picture books in the world to feature a Drag Queen main character. I’ve been invited to share the story of how this book came about with you.

 One of the questions that people ask, especially people who know me, a middle aged, white, cis gender woman is- what inspired you to write a picture book about a Drag Queen?

I take this question as a compliment because I love to surprise and challenge people to look at things differently. I don’t believe in making assumptions about people or putting them in boxes, so this question always makes me smile.

This is how the story goes:

Chatting with my daughter one day about three years ago, we discussed the kinds of books that she and her friends wanted to read to their kids, and the fact that they were largely non -existent.

She was talking about the kinds of books that show diverse families and their perspective on life. This is a bit of a sensitive issue, given that I totally support own voices stories and I certainly didn’t want to encroach on, or appropriate, a story that wasn’t mine to tell.

I love writing stories about people, because I believe that our stories have power, that each of our individual stories is a thread in the fabric of our communities, our culture and our place on the planet. This fabric changes when our stories change, so every person’s story is meaningful and important with the power to change the world for the better.

The stories we create and tell each other also have this power. It’s almost magical, the way stories can change lives, heal and inspire. That’s why I wanted so much to try and get this story right!

I started thinking about the themes and concepts I wanted to work with, respect, diversity, inclusion, equity, courage and unconditional love, and about how these essential qualities exist everywhere, in all kinds of people.

I recalled a former colleague of mine who cared for disabled and elderly people as his day job and did it beautifully. His clients absolutely loved him. He did drag on weekends and had a whole tribe of nieces and nephews who adored him.

I was also really interested in the concept of ‘courage’ because it seems to me there’s different kinds of courage. There’s the outward kind, as in when my character dives into the path of an oncoming float to save a runaway puppy, then there’s the kind that is personal and maybe the hardest to muster up, the courage to be your true self.

Society accepts and often rewards that outward courage, but the other kind, the courage to be true to your heart and soul - despite possible negative reactions/responses from others - that’s usually much more of a challenge to deal with.

Everyone can identify with this challenge in their own way, but I feel it’s particularly relevant to LGBTQI+ kids and rainbow families.

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Drag Story Time At The Aquarium

Did you know there are Gay Dad penguins at the Sydney Aquarium?

Last year penguins Magic and Sphen had a baby! They are the very first Gay Dads at the aquarium. Their baby is called Sphengic. To celebrate this very special family, Kirsty Esson wrote and illustrated a book about a Sphengic and his dads.

The aquarium has been closed for a while due to COVID, and some of the penguins were missing their visitors, so our friends at Sea Life Aquarium put on a very special Drag Story Time with Maxi Sheild and Sphengic and his dads. 


HUGO The boy with the curious mark

HUGO The boy with the curious mark.

Illustrations by Award winning Illustrator Manuela Adreani

Written by debut author Yohann Devezy

 

Hugo the boy with the curious mark, is an important book.

Not just in June, for pride month, but every day.

This gentle story explores how it feels to be different, by telling the story of a young boy, Hugo, born with a rainbow birthmark. Initially ashamed of his mark and himself, Hugo is lost in sadness.

But determined to find someone with a rainbow mark just like his, he sets out on a roller-coaster of emotions and adventure. His quest seems in vain, but just as he gives up, something wonderful happens.

A perfect book that reflects the world we live in, embracing diversity and celebrating difference – many will relate to HUGO’s story.

 

A note from the Author

“I really wanted to publish a book that told the kind of story I wish I had when I was growing up” said author Yohann Devezy.

“As a member of the LGBTIQ community, we spend many years ashamed of our ‘difference’, so I wanted to tell a different story, that difference is wonderful and should be embraced.”

 

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Free audio book version of: “The Curse of Grandma Maple”

Guest Blog Post from Jac Tomlins

How’s that social isolation with the kids going? Jigsaw puzzles? Monopoly? Baking? Or, like me, have you given up the battle of the screens and embraced Netflix and You Tube and Minecraft. This is a marathon, not a sprint, I’ve decided and I’m cutting myself — and them — some slack.

But then, every now and again, I start to feel like a bad parent so I kick them off their devices and shove a book under their nose. It works for a while, but as a compromise, they’ve also been listening to a few audio books and that got me thinking…

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How to celebrate Mardi Gras at Early Learning Centres

It’s officially Mardi Gras season, and while some members of our community are working hard at the gym, for parents it’s a time to think about how we can talk to our kids about what Mardi Gras means.

We spoke to an expert in early childhood education, Dr Red Ruby Scarlet, Creative Director of Multiverse Educational Consultancy and Resourcing:

LGBTIQA+ is an acronym festooned with culture. So, like any culture, including it in your early childhood curriculum means thinking about how relationships are formed within communities.

In the early childhood curriculum, we value the ongoing work of connecting with community in ways that recognise the diversity of the families that are local to us as well as the families that we know are part of the broader Australian identity. 

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LGBTIQA+ inclusive kids books

Sharing a book together with your loved ones is a special time, a great way to bond and create beautiful memories. Diverse books reflecting our community are becoming more common for a wide range of age groups.

We have compiled a list of book suggestions aimed at a mixture of aged groups from birth to late teens. You can Google the name and author to find out more about the book.

Perhaps you have discovered a great book and would like to recommend it to other families? Please let us know or post a book review in our Rainbow Families Community Group on Facebook.

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