On Oct. 11, Rebekah Children’s Services (RCS) and the Kneaded Culinary Academy hosted their fifth annual National Coming Out Day in Gilroy.
Guests were greeted by a wonderful rainbow balloon arch created by Laurem’s Cakes and were welcomed by a resource fair, family lawn games with Hollister Game Truck, music by Lavender Fields, appetizers provided by the Kneaded Culinary Academy, and flag raising ceremony emceed by Chef Carlos Pineda, director of Culinary Services and Hospitality at RCS.
In 2019, Rebekah Children’s Services was the first community organization to raise the LGBTQ+ flag in the City of Gilroy in celebration of National Coming Out Day. The Pride flag continues to proudly fly year-round on the Rebekah Children’s Services campus to show the LGBTQ+ community and their allies that RCS is a safe space for all.
This year RCS partnered with The LGBTQ Youth Space, County of Santa Clara Office of LGBTQ Affairs, County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health, Santa Clara County Library District, Community Solutions, Working Partnerships, South County Cal-SOAP, Silicon Valley Pride, AACI, Community Health Partnership, El Centro with Gavilan College, Santa Clara County Public Health, and Youth Community Services to bring resources to the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
RCS also had several speakers including RCS’s CEO Chris Rebboah, RCS’s SOGIE 101 Trainer Priscila Gomez (she/her/ella), Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley, Sera Fernando from the County of Santa Clara Office of LGBTQ Affairs Division of Equity and Social Justice, and Carolina Perez from Digital NEST.
Sera Fernando shared how “safe and welcomed they felt at RCS” and how “RCS is continually recognized as a safe space for LGBTQ+ community members in South County.” Carolina Perez also provided a moving “coming out monologue” and shared her insightful story in Spanish and English on the coming out process to her family. Her story brought laughter, tears and reminded us on the importance of young love.
Rebekah Children’s Services is honored to continue this historical celebration to build pathways to hope, happiness and well-being for our community. For information about how you can be a part of our mission, visit rcskids.org.
Jessica Schnieder is director of Clinical Services & Training at RCS.