Rainbow Awards Honorees Announced!



DATE:             March 27th, 2015

CONTACT:     Kelly Novakowski, 2015 NEPA Rainbow Alliance Gala Chair

Email:            Awards@gaynepa.com


Gala Celebration to be held at POSH at The Scranton Club on April 25t


The NEPA Rainbow Alliance, the region’s largest LGBT+ community organization, proudly announces its 2015 Rainbow Award Recipients: Mary Beth Frye, The City of Pittston & Rose Randazzo, Esq., Caring Communities, Borland & Borland, LLP , Wilkes University and The Luzerne Foundation.

The honorees will be recognized at the 2015 Rainbow Awards Gala on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at POSH at The Scranton Club. “This year’s Gala will be even bigger and better than last year’s amazing event,” said Gala Chair Kelly Novakowski. All proceeds benefit the NEPA Rainbow Alliance, addressing the critical needs of LGBT+ individuals and families in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. Tickets are available by contacting the Alliance.

Formed in 2004, The NEPA Rainbow Alliance provides education, support, and advocacy for LGBT+ individuals and families while working to advance fairness and equality.  


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Pridefest Planning Begins

Pridefest 2015                       Blog #1                                             March 23, 2015


Rainbow Alliance Announces Pridefest 2015

Immediately following last year’s wonderful Pridefest a group of volunteers got down to business evaluating the Rainbow Alliance’s largest annual event. We began to discuss how to improve what is already, arguably, a terrific event.

While we are not quite prepared to let the cat out of the bag on all the details…we will say NEPA’s Pridefest will be the place to be in early August 2015. Some of our planned changes include:

  • New Day of the Week

  • New Timing

  • New Location (convenient to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre)

  • Possible Fun Athletic Events

  • Possible Fine Arts and Crafts Event

  • Possible Fun Competitions for all participants

  • Enhanced Food and Beverage Options

  • Additional Parking

  • Special Separate Family Friendly Event

  • Weekly Blog (yep this is it) announcing all of the exciting events leading up to Pridefest 2015!


    What we are not changing---

  • Same friendly, fun, safe welcoming atmosphere for all members of NEPA’s LGBT+ Community.


    See you in August!

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Rainbow Alliance Announces New Programming!

The NEPA Rainbow Alliance is excited to announce some new programs and partners for 2015. Check them out and pass the word along!

NEW PROGRAMMING @ NEPA Rainbow Alliance!!!


NEPA Parents of Transgender Children - Support Group  This group, a collaborative effort between Karen Foley, LMFT and The Rainbow Alliance is open to parents or guardians of transgender, gender fluid or gender variant children of any age.  This group offers support, resources and education.  This is not a therapeutic group but it is confidential.  Location, date and time is private.  Introduction into the group can be made by contacting: Karen M. Foley, LMFT at 570-290-7166 or by email at nepaptc@gmail.com  There is no fee for the group.

Dine Out: Listening Tour Series  The NEPA Rainbow Alliance welcomes you to join us on Tuesday, March 3rd from 6-8 p.m. at the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce for the first event in a series of “Listening Tours” that we will be conducting throughout NEPA in 2015. The goal of the Listening Tours is to socialize and have some fun but also gain some feedback from community members regarding programming you may be interested in attending and/or volunteering for. We invite you to join us for some pizza and snacks and contribute to the discussion that will be led by Program Committee Co-Chairs, Sarah Luvender, LCSW & Dr. Ellen Newell. Please RSVP via the Facebook Invite https://www.facebook.com/events/1558820674389546/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular or by emailing info@gaynepa.com

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New Home in Pittston!

It is with great excitement that the NEPA Rainbow Alliance would like to announce that we have found a new home on Main Street in Pittston!   The Alliance is pleased to announce a partnership with the City of Pittston, in part because the city moved to protect LGBT people when it passed it's anti-discrimination ordinance.  While our current space may be temporary, the organization has set it's sights on Pittston as a long-term home! It is our hope that this "middle ground' between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, will allow greater access to services for community members from a wider geographic area.

Check out the coverage in the Citizen's Voice for more information:



Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2015:01:15 18:25:38




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Wyoming Valley Mall to lose its only LGBTQ Safe Space

By John Dawe and Susan Smith

543549_311075838966027_1954015516_n.jpgTwo years ago, amidst a rash of (alleged) bullying-related suicides in our region, a group of kids at KISS (Kids Innovating Stage and Sound) Theatre, the adult-run-but-kid-led creative space at Wyoming Valley Mall, decided to put together a benefit show to fund bullying prevention programs. 

NEPA Rainbow Alliance supported and promoted the event and we attended on behalf of the organization. 

The “Anti-Bullying Concert” was organized by Pittston native and KISS Kid Jordan Tarter.  We heard a diverse selection of acts including singers, actors, and comedians.

What happened next was nothing less than remarkable. 

One of the “kids” stepped out on stage to talk about bullying he had seen first-hand in schools and how programs like KISS Theatre gave him confidence and a support network.

There, among a packed house of supporters – including his family – Kris came out.  For seconds you could hear a pin drop in the former movie-turned-performance-stage theatre. Then it started: the audience erupted with cheers and applause.  People hugged.  It was like a scene out of a poorly scripted movie – but this wasn’t an act – this was real life.

We won’t even mention the countless skills and character virtues built by involvement in a program like KISS such as public speaking, leadership, acceptance of diversity, patience, and passion for the arts… (OK, we mentioned a few).

We won’t mention the thousands of people – kids, parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, and supporters who attend KISS events – and shop at the mall, eat at the food court.  

Now mall management has sent a letter to KISS, evicting them from their space in favor of a new restaurant. 

A Change.org petition has started to encourage PREIT, the Philadelphia-based real estate trust that owns the Wyoming Valley Mall, to allow KISS to stay.

Please ask yourself: Do we really need another restaurant? Or do we need supportive, bully-free, character building, safe spaces like KISS Theatre?

Click here to sign the petition and please click SHARE below to spread this message on social media and beyond.


About the Authors: John Dawe, CFRE is executive director of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance, Inc. at the LGBT Center of NEPA.  Susan Smith is past chair of the Rainbow Alliance Board of Directors and life-long ally and supporter of LGBTQ equality.


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Times Leader Editorial: Room for ALL

“There’s room in our community for all.”

tleditorialweb.jpgThese words, taken from an editorial by the Times Leader newspaper entitled LGBT Center sends welcome signal, give cause to celebrate the progress of LGBT individuals and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania over the last ten years.

Since the founding of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance a decade ago, our community has come a long way.  Our key programs have evolved to include NEPA PrideFest, the Rainbow Awards & Gala, SafeZone Youth Program, The Rainbow Resource Line, Social and Social Action programs, various discussion groups, and now the LGBT Center of NEPA.

As we look to the future, we are hoping that you will take a moment and support our work with a contribution of $10 a month.   That’s just 33 cents a day.  

We must build on our success and continue to grow.  We’ve come so far, and can only keep moving forward by coming together as a community and pushing.  That's why we need your help.

Please Click Here to give 33 cents a day to support The LGBT Center of NEPA.

Thank you!

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Local artist JFo to display works at grand opening of LGBT Center on 2/23/2014

Jfo.jpgWILKES-BARRE, PA. -- The NEPA Rainbow Alliance is pleased to announce that local artist Jennifer Forgione will display a variety of her signature paintings at the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the LGBT Center of NEPA from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Fox Ridge Plaza, 1174 Highway 315, in Wilkes-Barre.

Originally from Dunmore, Pa., "JFo" had always used drawing with colored pencil on paper as her main outlet of creation, but with no formal training, she expanded her talents and grew her following vastly over the last decade through her work with acrylic on canvas. 

The main focus of her art has always been giving her mind an outlet for her characters, many of which she has painted in crowds on large scale canvases.

She most recently released a full line of greeting cards featuring some of her characters, full of hilarious and off-color messages and greetings. She also specializes in custom portrait paintings, and book illustration. 

JFo has been featured artist at numerous "Art Walks" in both Scranton and Clarks Summit.  She lives in Spring Brook, Pa. with her partner, also named Jen. She can be found on Facebook by searching for "JFo Art by Jennifer Forgione"


The LGBT Center of NEPA is a program of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance, Inc., serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied community in Northeastern Pennsylvania and is located in the Fox Ridge Plaza, 1174 Highway 315, Plains Township, Pa. less than a Mile from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Casino, next to Dunkin Donuts.


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LGBT Center to Open on Sunday, February 23, 2014

Since it's founding ten years ago, the NEPA Rainbow Alliance has worked to build a presence for the LGBT community in NEPA through our programs and services, special events (including PrideFest), etc.

Next Sunday we will open the LGBT Center of NEPA.  For ten years, our community has always listed an LGBT center on its "wishlist" during our surveys.  Now, thanks to a year of planning and hard work by the NEPA Rainbow board, staff, and volunteers - the Center will open on Sunday, February 23, 2014 with an open hoe from 2 to 6 p.m. and a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m.

Please join us!  More information is available at this link.

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LGBT Center of NEPA and GayNEPA.com