Fit­ness, per­sonal fi­nance, other top­ics lined up

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

In the dig­i­tal age, it’s eas­ier to meet a onenight stand than it is a life­long friend. That’s a trend At­lantans James Brian Yancey and Mike Duffy want to change.

“If I was com­ing out in the late ‘90s there were groups like YouthPride and there was also Outwrite Book­store, which was a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing place,” Yancey said. “One of the things At­lanta doesn’t have, sadly, right now is a cen­ter for the gay com­mu­nity. We found that although there were sports clubs and re­li­gious groups and dif­fer­ent kinds of bars and clubs to go to, there was no re­ally good way and place to meet peo­ple out­side of a sex­ual con­text.”

Rain­bros, a new or­ga­ni­za­tion co-founded by Yancey and Duffy, fills that void. The or­ga­ni­za­tion has two si­mul­ta­ne­ous com­po­nents: one-on-one peer coach­ing and group ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Though we’re more con­nected than ever be­fore with all th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties sex­u­ally, there’s sort of a lack of tech­nol­ogy to con­nect each other to peo­ple solely for the goal of help­ing each other,” Yancey said. “What we wanted to do was cre­ate a safe en­vi­ron­ment, again, com­pletely pla­tonic, fully ded­i­cated to help­ing each other out.”

Each quar­ter of the year will have a dif­fer­ent group ac­tiv­ity fo­cus, with the first be­ing “Launch Fit­ness.”

“Ev­ery sin­gle month we’ll have a sin­gle group ses­sion for peo­ple who are afraid to, or haven’t had the op­por­tu­nity … to con­nect with other peo­ple who want to get into fit­ness,” Yancey said. “Those can be ses­sions of 20 to 50 peo­ple where we’re talk­ing about a theme or ways to get in­volved in life.”

Fu­ture quar­ters will fo­cus on top­ics such as per­sonal fi­nance, ca­reer build­ing and health.

Each in­stance of peer coach­ing will be “Though we’re more con­nected than ever be­fore with all th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties sex­u­ally, there’s sort of a lack of tech­nol­ogy to con­nect each other to peo­ple solely for the goal of help­ing each other. What we wanted to do was cre­ate a safe en­vi­ron­ment, again, com­pletely pla­tonic, fully ded­i­cated to help­ing each other out.” dif­fer­ent. Some may pair a Rain­bro — the catch-all term for mem­bers, re­gard­less of gen­der or sex­u­al­ity — with a coach for one ses­sion for ad­vice about a spe­cific topic, and some may turn into long-term reg­u­lar ses­sions and friend­ships, Yancey said.

For now, Rain­bros and coaches are man­u­ally paired up af­ter fill­ing out on­line ques­tion­naires. Rain­bros must be at least 18 years old, and coaches must be at least 21. Rain­bros is geared at men­tor­ing those ages 18 to 25.

“That age range is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal and as a com­mu­nity we should be do­ing more to en­sure, as much as we can, that they get to that place of abil­ity and achieve­ment,” Yancey said.

Nicki Rob­bins, li­censed as­so­ci­ated pro­fes­sional coun­selor and cer­ti­fied sex ther­a­pist with Cor­ner­stone Fam­ily Ser­vices in Ma­ri­etta, said it can be dif­fi­cult to find some­one in the LGBT com­mu­nity to ask for life ad­vice from, es­pe­cially for trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als or gays look­ing to come out to col­leagues, friends and fam­ily.

“That’s the young adult age when you’re try­ing to fig­ure out who you are, what your iden­tity is go­ing to be as an adult,” Rob­bins said. “It’s ex­tremely im­por­tant that they have role mod­els, that they have some­one they can re­late to on the same level.”

Rob­bins said there are groups for younger peo­ple, such as high school and college GayS­traight Al­liances, but it’s harder for those be­yond college age to find those role mod­els.

“A peer coach or peer coun­selor or peer men­tor, they’re go­ing to be able to re­late to you on the same level, as far as a friend. ‘Look, this is what I did,’ and don’t have to be all pro­fes­sional,” she said.

The grow­ing group of peer coaches is pri­mar­ily gay men, but Yancey said as Rain­bros grows, so will the di­ver­sity of its coaches and mem­bers. They look to have a racially, cul­tur­ally and sex­u­ally var­ied group to make for bet­ter, more per­son­al­ized coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to serve the LGBT com­mu­nity.

“You have a lot of peo­ple with an im­mense amount of ex­pe­ri­ence who have re­ally strong de­sires to con­nect,” Yancey said. “Younger guys can feel com­fort­able know­ing ev­ery­thing is al­tru­is­tic. The coaches, it is ben­e­fi­cial and ther­a­peu­tic for them to have the abil­ity to give back to the com­mu­nity and ac­knowl­edge the wis­dom and value they have.”

Ac­tivist and his­to­rian Dave Hay­ward; Zaxby’s fran­chisees Dustin Mullis and his part­ner Brian McBrearty; along with drag queen Ni­cole Paige Brooks have all ap­plied to be peer coaches with Rain­bros.

De­cem­ber 23, 2016

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.