Even though the power went out for a time at the Please Touch Museum last Monday morning, courtesy of the day-long storm that blew through Philadelphia, it didn’t stop a group of local kids and their LGBT parents from enjoying their morning out at one of the newest activities of the ever-growing Philadelphia Family Pride.
In addition to the launch of the Monday-morning meet-up group, which is designed for stay-at-home parents and those with flexible work schedules, PFP has a slate of events scheduled in the next few months, overseen by the group’s new board of directors.
At its annual New Year’s Day brunch in January, which about 150 people attended, the membership voted to elect four new members — Stacey Sweeney as secretary, Marla McCulloch as chair of the education/advocacy committee, Andrew Altman as fundraising chair and Steve Taylor as member-at-large — and also approved the election of Marc Berman as board chair.
Former chair Doug Metcalfe stepped down, and Berman, who has served as vice chair for four years, said he wanted to assume leadership so he could to play a role in the continuing development of the agency.
“I enjoy being involved in the organization, and I was ready to take that involvement to the point where I can make some of my ideas come to life,” he said.
Berman and his partner, David, who have two sons, 7 and 9, got involved in PFP in 2000 when they were prospective parents.
“We started doing some research as to what the parent community was like in Philadelphia, and we came across Philadelphia Family Pride and it was terrific,” Berman said. “We went to the Halloween party in 2000 and weren’t sure at that point what path to take to parenthood, but we talked to so many people there and met one family who put us in touch with the adoption agency that we eventually used.”
Berman said his sons have enjoyed not only the fun atmosphere fostered at PFP events but also being surrounded by other LGBT-headed families.
“They really like it a lot. They love the social activities we do, and I think just seeing other families like theirs, with two dads or two moms, which they don’t get to see that often otherwise, really helps them.”
Stephanie Haynes, PFP community coordinator, said Berman’s personal experiences as an LGBT parent, as well as his professional work on the board, will help guide the organization into its next phase.
“He has the history plus the enthusiasm,” Haynes said. “He’s seen his sons grow up with the group and seen how important it’s been for them. And he’s motivated to help continue growing the organization.”
Haynes said PFP has about 10 events scheduled before May, with such activities as this weekend’s trip to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, an outing to AIDS Fund’s GayBINGO in April and a Parents’ Night Out social.
PFP will also launch a series of regional potluck dinners at members’ houses to connect families from throughout the many areas it serves, including suburban Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware.
“We are packing the calendar fuller than in the past,” Haynes said. “I think it’s partially because we have a lot of people who want to come to events, but because they’re busy working parents, their schedules don’t always work out. So we’re going to continue with a couple of our big events and then also have more frequent smaller events so we have a nice variety.”
PFP will offer more than just social outlets, however. The group typically hosts a workshop for prospective parents at the annual Equality Forum in May and this year will split the panel into two separate events — one on adoption and the other on assisted reproduction — to provide those looking to start a family with more in-depth information on both options.
Berman also said that, in the fall, the group will sponsor a comprehensive workshop offering “practical parenting advice” to LGBT parents, with various activities designed for those with kids in different age groups.
For more information about Philadelphia Family Pride, visit www.phillyfamilypride.org.