RAINBOW FAMILY & FRIENDS

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Meet our Founders

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Wendy O'Donnell & Peggy Garvin

Wendy & Peggy moved to The Villages in early 2001 from San Diego where they enjoyed an open LGBTQ+ community for many years.  On arriving to The Villages, they discovered small clusters of “Family” in various areas & knew if they brought people together amazing things would happen.  They started the Rainbow Family & Friends Club in 2007 with 64 people attending the first meeting at Bacall Recreation Center.  From there the group grew holding a variety of parties, meetings & gatherings, benefits, sports activities, etc.

 

Today the LGBTQ+ community meets openly & regularly in a variety of settings as members enjoy life to the fullest here in Central Florida.  Peggy & Wendy want to offer their warmest thanks to the many volunteers, Board members, & participants who have helped & supported them for all these years to make the dream of an open community become a reality.

ABOUT THE RAINBOW FAMILY & FRIENDS CLUB

 

The Rainbow Family & Friends Club of The Villages (RFFC) was founded in August 2007 when 64 residents gathered at Bacall Recreation Center for our first official meeting.  In that more conservative time, the goals for the meeting were quite simple:

     **  To show the LGBTQ+ community we could gather safely here in Central Florida.

 

     **  To demonstrate the size of our group for ourselves as well as the larger    

               community.

 

Through various social gatherings & meetings on pertinent topics the Club grew in size & breadth.  We added numerous social & sports events as a means of bringing people together until today we enjoy multiple opportunities to gather in some capacity each day.  Whether you are looking for an evening of dancing, a friendly card/board game, golf or pickleball outings, bowling, PFLAG meeting.... you can find opportunities to socialize with “Family” by visiting our Calendar page of this website.

 

One aspect which became apparent in the early years was the groups desire to make a positive impact on larger social/economic issues.  In response our charitable wing was formed as the “Power of Love Campaign”.  We are proud to say that over the 15 years of the Club’s existence we have given nearly $180,000 to a wide variety of local & national charitable organizations.  It is a reflection of the concern & generosity of our members & our willingness to step up in times of need.

 

 

Through the years the goals of the Club have grown & adapted to an ever-changing environment.  Early on we sponsored nearly all the LGBTQ+ entertainment, parties, etc.  As time went by thankfully many of these functions have been taken over by different individuals with the Club playing a more supportive role.  Currently our function can be summarized as:

 

     >>  Remain a source of information through our website & weekly notices.

     >>  Produce LBGTQ+ specific entertainment events.

     >>  Provide support for LGBTQ+ activity & event organizers.

     >>  Remain philanthropic through “The Power of Love”.

     >>  Provide contact/information for prospective LGBTQ+ residents.

     >>  Maintain visibility & promote diversity within The Villages.    

 

   

Please feel free to contact us via this website should you have questions or needs that we might address. 

(click on the envelope below)

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Meet the Rainbow Team

Wendy O'Donnell 

Founder & Past Co.- Chair/Consultant

Peggy Garvin

​​Founder & Past Co-Chair

Facebook Page Manager/Consultant

Lissa Degnan​​

 Treasurer/Calendar Manager

​​Lourdes Barhorst​

Web Manager/Communication Coordinator/

​Bonifay Greeter

Rita Alisauskas

​​Audio/Visual Coordinator/

Technical Advisor

Jill Schwartz​

Legal Advisor/ "Angel Project Coordinator"

Michael Fenimore​

Asst. Email Correspondence

Laura Decoster
Advertising Manager

Susan Padgett
​​Newsletter Coordinator

Susan DiMonda
Secretary/Villages Rec. Dept. Liaison

Ralph Fera-Mcllwain

Asst. Treasurer/

Asst. Database Mgr.


​Char Hayes
Asst. Production Asst. /

General Volunteer 

Patti Forgarty
Asst. Email Correspondence 

Judy Leach
Newsletter Assistant/

Asst. Email Sign Up