Rainbow Cafe NNJ started in 2009 as a partnership between the Cresskill Congregational Church, United Church of Christ and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) of Bergen County. Since then, we have grown to roughly 50-75 teenagers who regularly attend our events from towns and boroughs all across Bergen County, New Jersey. The youth group is not a religious one and is open to all faiths or no faiths. We believe in providing a safe space for LGBTQ teens without fear of judgment, bigotry, or shame.
The events of our Rainbow Café are varied but always include at least four dances a year, although we do tend to change up the dance days. Over the years, we have had a Halloween Dance in October, a Holiday Dance in December, a Valentine’s Dance in February, and a Gay Prom at the end of May or beginning of June.
We also host Rainbow Cafe Lounge, which occurs on the THIRD Friday of a month that we're not having a dance. Our lounge events have an open mic, arts and crafts, board games, sometimes karaoke and sometimes LGBT mini movies, and we occasionally have a themed discussion or special presentation with guest speakers, We always have refreshments.
Check out our events page for a current schedule of activities.
We are continuously working to ensure our youth group stays relevant to the youth who participate. As such, we provide a variety of programs and services. Currently, we share information through our website, on Instagram, and on Facebook.
While our programs and activities are important, our main purpose and mission is to model particular core values in order to give the youth the necessary life-tools they’ll need to live their lives. These values include integrity, courage, kindness, compassion, and honesty. We believe that modeling these values encourages and empowers the teenagers to be themselves, to stand up for themselves, to make better life decisions, and champion the causes and hopes of their generation.
Rainbow Cafe NNJ was founded by an openly gay pastor and a team of volunteer advisors who all have regular background checks and who serve in particular ways. Parents can be assured that their youth will be protected and in a safe environment. Our volunteers have included social workers, licensed clinical therapists, nurses, professionals, and a host of caring straight, gay, and trans adults and parents who want to ensure all kids have a safe and fun time. Fortunately, the police station is located right next door to the church where all the dances and activities happen.
If you are interested in Rainbow Café NNJ or have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to send us an email on our contact page: https://www.rainbowcafennj.org/contact. If you are interested in the church that sponsors this program, you can learn more about it at http://www.cresskillucc.org.