Challenges

Challenge #1

Create a solution that improves our ability to find experienced parents to mentor parents whose children have just come out.

Challenge #2

Create an organizational tool that helps our volunteers efficiently and resourcefully manage their commitment to PFLAG and the individuals seeking their support.

Challenge #3

Create a solution that removes barriers to reaching additional demographics.

Challenge #4

Create a solution that enables easy and anonymous interaction with PFlag.

Messages to Participants

Challenge #1

  • Focus on the find aspect of the challenge.

Challenge #2

  • This is a volunteer run organization with limited volunteers, and with limited time.

Challenge #3

  • Toronto PFlag has struggled breaking into specific demographics such as rural areas.

Challenge #4

  • Solution needs to be made for non tech-savvy users.

Resources

Overview

Toronto PFLAG is a volunteer-run registered charity. We have a proud history of speaking up for our LGBTQ kids and supporting “new” parents whose children have recently come out by providing information and sharing our own stories. When LGBTQ people are having trouble with unaccepting parents, we offer compassion, encouragement, advice and even intervention on occasion.

Executive

We have a working board of 12 people (mostly parents/allies and LGBTQ Reps) who do almost all the routine volunteering for support meetings and phone line, schools and outreach.


The executive has a fundraising committee which has a combination of board members and volunteers.

Membership

Since we rely on volunteers, membership is conferred on an annual basis to any volunteer who donates a minimum of 6 hours over the previous year. We also have life memberships for longtime volunteers.

Volunteers

Our volunteers consist largely of executive family members and people who have been through our support program.


Before Pride each year we put out a call for volunteers to work at our booth, as marshals at the parade and to help at our Family Brunch. We hold two orientation sessions for these volunteers.


When we do special events we call on previous volunteers and then brief them individually.

Budget/Funding

Our budget is around $40,000 a year, but can be more if we have a special initiative. Donations are collected through Canada Helps. We have no guaranteed sources of income and no standing events. We look for third party opportunities, and sponsors for major efforts like our September TTC campaign. We also receive honoraria when we do corporate workshops.

Resources

We have one printer bookmark that serves as our ‘brochure’ and does equal duty as a handout for students. We have rainbow bracelets with our website on them and a website with more resources and links.


We publish a newsletter that is distributed by email and posted online. It goes to about 400 people, whose emails we have collected mostly at support meetings.

Reach/Demographic/Challenges

We rely chiefly on word of mouth and we believe many parents are directed to us by their children. Our meetings are attended by most white and mostly privileged people. These meetings are located at Coxwell and Jane stations on Line 2.


We tried to hold a meeting in Rexdale last year, after putting up lots of posters with tear-off phone numbers. We partnered with Rexdale Pride, a group for LGBTQ kids. No parents attended or called.


The schools we attend are those we are invited to. Most of these are public schools and mostly elementary. We get a few invitations each year to Catholic high schools and have never been to a Catholic elementary school.


Also most of the schools we are invited to would draw from relatively privileged neighbourhoods. We have never been invited to a high school in Rexdale and only two recently in the less advantaged parts of Scarborough, one public and the other Catholic. We know only one high in Rexdale has a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and know many Catholic high schools do not. This would suggest to us that homophobia and transphobia is stronger at these schools. Legislation requires that a school set up a GSA if one student requests it.