LGBTQ+ support groups are essential to providing a safe and welcoming space for people of all orientations and identities. It's equally important that parents and caregivers create a supportive home environment for LGBTQ+ youth.
A new partnership has formed between Berkshire Farm Center and the Albany Pride Center to create a safe space for parents of LGBTQ+ youth to gather. The Parenting with Pride group is geared toward parents and caregivers with a child identifying as LGBTQ+ between the ages of 5-17.
The group meets every fourth Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. at the Berkshire Farm Center.
"It's a great idea because it allows families to come together, but gets parents to maybe get a little bit of support they need and just have private conversations. But with other parents who are in similar life circumstances," said Michelle Arthur, a parent.
The group splits up to allow parents and youth to socialize with one another.
"It's a really incredible community because there are people that come from all different school districts and some people who, like some, travel even 45 minutes to go and like go to a center," said Kat Arthur, a youth support group member.
What You Need To Know
- LGBTQ+ support groups are essential in providing a safe and welcoming space for people of all orientations and identities
- The Parenting with Pride group is a safe space for parents of LGBTQ+ youth to gather and connect with others who are going through similar experiences
- The group provides a space for parents to learn how to support their children best and for youth to socialize and discuss topics such as school and everyday life
- The partnership between Berkshire Farm Center and the Albany Pride Center is an important step in creating a support system for LGBTQ+ youth across New York state
"There is still that stigma of I would be great if more parents were involved and, you know, we all hope everybody supports their kids and loves their kids and just wants them to be happy. But in the world, it's not always that way. And people seem to always have something negative to say than positive," said Janine Patschureck, a parent.
Gloria Moran, director of Foster Care at Berkshire Farm Center, has witnessed a concerning trend regarding children in the LGBTQ+ community not receiving the proper support.
"I've worked in foster care for multiple years, and I've seen lots of different scenarios where kids in need, they belong to the LGBTQ-plus community, are not getting the support they need," said Moran.
That's one of the reasons The Pride Center of the Capital Region has partnered with Berkshire to create a support system for LGBTQ youth across New York state, not just in the city.
"The message that LGBTQ youth are everywhere in the great state of New York, not just the five boroughs of New York City, and they need to be supported in every system they're in," said Nathaniel Gray, executive director of the Pride Center of Capital Region.
"A support group where people will go and share like a rose. A good thing that happened in the week, a thorn. It's something like a difficult happening in their life or in the week or month, something really looking forward to," said Arthur.
Pressures around school and everyday life are among the topics discussed. "I like learning about people's hobbies and like who they are and just like making conversation, talking to them and being able to like talk about like the problems of my week and have people listen can be very therapeutic," said Korbin Patschureck, a youth support group member.
"It's the best part of my week. I always look forward to it because there's always something going on. And I've definitely come out of my shell over the years being around so many strong personalities, and just so much happening all the time," said Lucas Barlow, a youth support group member.
The Parenting with Pride group is a reminder that support and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community is essential, and it starts at home. By creating a safe and supportive environment, parents and caregivers can help their children thrive and live their best lives.
The group provides a space for parents to connect with others who are going through similar experiences and to learn how to support their children best.
The partnership between Berkshire Farm Center and the Albany Pride Center is an essential step in creating a support system for LGBTQ+ youth across New York state.