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Rainbow Families helps to coordinate family friendly events and gatherings for GLBTA families with children. The group plans many events per year and is led by Earl and Donnie Snyder, who are dad’s of a toddler themselves. Earl and Donnie also write the Planet Parenthood column in the Valley Gay Press. The group usually has one event per month.
See Donnie and Earl’s article below from the June VGP, which outlines the goals and events of the group. And an article below that about Rainbow Families’ December 2006 Holiday Party at MCCLV.
Further planning information can be obtained through the Rainbow Families yahoo group -- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LVRF. (Click on the e-address to go directly to the site.)
Or you can email Rainbow Family leaders Donnie and Earl Snyder directly at:
for information or to find out when the next Rainbow Family event will be.
Rainbow Family Fun!
By Earl and Donnie Snyder
As you may know, not so long ago we officially started the Lehigh Valley Rainbow Families Group (LVRFG). So far with our monthly gatherings, we have gone to Jungle Fun in March, took over... ok... joined in Allentown's Easter egg hunt at Cedar Beach in April, and had a family picnic in May at a public park.
We basically plan our activities around our children and consider what they would enjoy. When we’ve joined in public activities we’ve had no adverse reactions. We are clearly a diverse group of families but we apparently integrate very well. The children in our group include boys, girls, wins, we have mixed race, Latino and Asian children. Lesbian and gay male parents. There are no straight couples with kids in the group yet, but they are certainly welcome. We fear if they don't soon join, our son Lucas will begin to think straight parents are only mythological.
The families have begun to bond and make play dates for the kids in addition to the group activities, since quite a few of us parents stay home to raise our children rather that utilize day care. This gives the kids time to socialize with each other and become secure with the diversity of their families.
Rainbow Families has also begun to provide a nice social circle. Just recently we had dinner with one of the other families at their home. After dinner we all went outside and played tag in the yard. Although we were faster than the kids were, they can out last us. The adults began dropping like flies while the children kept going like Energizer bunnies fueled with Espresso. This new family group has been a good thing for our families and us. We look forward to more families joining and future activities. To become part of this group, see the article below.
In addition to all the fun we have with the families in the group, we make it a point to be part of society in general. We take our son to the playground, music school, the zoo, church, birthday parties and out to dinner. Most people we encounter seem to understand the makeup of our family. Whether they think we are unusual or a rarity, we are always well accepted. Probably because we look like any other crazed and frazzled parent trying to keep their charges under control. That's good, because we accept them also.
Let’s face it, diversity works well in your family just as it does in your stock portfolio.
"Holiday Fun at MCCLV"
By Earl and Donnie Snyder
The Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley hosted a PDN event for the Lehigh Valley Rainbow Families Group this past December 16 (2006). This was the first Christmas time event for the group. Carol Stevens of MCCLV had approached us about hosting such an event. Of course we jumped at the idea! We really had no idea how great this would be!
From the start to finish the kids never even hinted at boredom. There were activities for various age groups. Lucas did best making reindeer food. He loves adding ingredients and mixing them up, he recently wanted to add some chili powder to our baked potatoes! Lucas is always around during activities such as housework and cooking. He wants to help out with everything, especially the vacuum cleaner.
The activities at the event included making Christmas cards, Christmas trees, manger scene placemats, and even decorating ginger bread houses. It was amazing to see how differently each house was decorated. Lucas basically put on the stickers for the placemat on top of each other. Won't he be surprised to look at that placemat in years to come?
The Christmas cards involved tracing, cutting and pasting materials. The Christmas trees included a cork, green pipe cleaners, and beads to decorate the tree. For the gingerbread houses there were crackers, pretzels, various kinds of candy and little ginger bread men, women and children so each child could include the members of their own unique families. Many of the children seemed to want to eat the cookies and candies rather than use them to decorate Good thing everything, including the glue, could be eaten.
Every activity station had well written instructions. Several members from MCCLV attended, which was a great help for the children and the parents. It was nice to be able to watch Lucas making something with someone else. After about an hour with these activities, we entered the sanctuary for story time, and the children were able to star in a short play.
The children all intently listened to the story read by Carol. The musical play involved the children donning some easy to put on costumes. There were enough costumes for all the children, however Lucas had other things on his mind. The characters included Jesus's Mother Mary, a donkey, a cow, a sheep, and a white dove. It was a terrific time for the kids to act a part in their own way.
Soon a special visitor was announced. Santa and his elf came for a visit. One little girl even had a list, just waiting to tell Santa. Santa made his rounds to all the children and invited them to come to see him. Santa had a coloring/activity book and a special ornament for each kid.
There were plenty of goodies for the parents as well. Hot and cold beverages were provided in addition to the candy and other sweets. Thanks to Trish Sullivan for some spectacular cookies. Nobody could eat just one! Thanks to the MCCLV members for being there to help the participating families. Also we give a sincerely enormous thanks to Carol Stevens for doing most, if not all, of the planning of each event. This event could not have been any better! MCCLV volunteers are already planning another Children's Party for next year.