About Billings Rainbow Coffeehouse

The mission of the Rainbow Coffee House is to build resilience in LGBTQ+ youth through healthy peer relationships, empowerment, leadership development, education, community outreach, and advocacy.

We meet every Thursday during the calendar school year at Grace United Methodist Church from 5:30pm-7:30pm. High-school aged youth are invited.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Guiding Principles

Rainbow Mission Statement
The mission of the Rainbow Coffee House is to build resilience in LGBT+ youth through healthy peer relationships,  empowerment, leadership development, education, community outreach and advocacy.

Rainbow Coffeehouse Guiding Principles

The Rainbow Coffeehouse is a weekly drop-in center for youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, two-spirit, queer, or are questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation as well as supportive youth allies (LGBT+).

Inclusive of All High School Students
- All Gender Identities
- All Gender Expressions
- All Sexual Orientations
- All Abilities
- All Faith Traditions and No Faith
- All Races
- All means All

The Rainbow coffeehouse welcomes all of these persons into attendance and leadership. We will not place moral restrictions on these attributes nor shall we at any time pressure persons to change these attributes. The Rainbow coffeehouse does reserve the right to limit people’s attendance who do not fall into the high school age demographic, adults who have not been background checked, persons who we determine are incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs, or persons we determine are being disrupted to the coffeehouse. 

- Respectful
- Trained Volunteers with Background Checks
- Confidentiality

Respect includes the physical, emotional, and psychological components of all youth and volunteers. The Rainbow Coffeehouse will always have at least two trained and background checked volunteers present who are at least 23 years of age. Other adult volunteers (such as younger college students) may be present at the invitation of our Leadership Team but will be supervised and will not count towards one of the two trained and background checked volunteers. At no time will students ever be alone with one adult. Full details can be found in our Child Boundaries Policy. All students and volunteers will be asked to abide by our confidentiality statement that seeks to provide appropriate levels of confidentiality including in word, social media and pictures. Full details can be found in our Confidentiality Statement.

About Rainbow Coffeehouse

The Rainbow Coffeehouse is a safe space and time every Thursday evening for High School Aged LGBTQ students to gather, drink coffee (or tea), eat snacks, and connect with community.

Thursdays 5:30 - 7:30pm at Grace UMC
Soft Launch Trials Jan 21, 2016
Official Hard Launch January 28, 2016

In many ways the Rainbow Coffeehouse is an extension of High School Gay Straight Alliance's (GSA). Our purposes extend their purposes in a safe off campus environment.

A safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia.

There are three typical functions of a GSA club: Support, Social, and Activist.

GSAs Provide Support

Many GSAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning or those who are experiencing harassment at school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These groups often provide one of the few safe spaces for students to express themselves.

GSAs Build Community

GSAs are also social groups. They provide a sense of community and a space for LGBT+ and straight ally youth to build a social network where their identity is respected. Lots of GSAs organize barbeques or movie nights, organize field trips to a local LGBT+ prom or an LGBT+ pride parade, and attend conferences together. GSAs are a great way to build community at your school and lessen the isolation that LGBT+ students might otherwise experience.

GSAs Take Action to Create Change

In addition to support, some GSAs work on educating themselves and the broader school community about sexual orientation and gender identity issues. They may bring in outside speakers to cover a particular topic such as LGBT+ history. They may organize a "Pride Week" or "LGBT+ Awareness Events" and offer a series of educational workshops, panels, and pride celebrations.

Issues to Address

Issues to Address

Legally the Rainbow Coffeehouse is a program of Grace UMC.
As one of their programs we fall under thier liability insurance and all tangible assets belong to Grace.

What "Safe Boundaries Policy" do we abide by?
All volunteers will be required to go through a 45 minute online Safe Boundaries program and have a background check. We will have at least two trained and approved volunteers who are at least 23 years old present at each coffeehouse. Students will never be alone with an adult. Details will be available in our documents section soon.

The Coffeehouse will have at least two hosts who have been trained and back ground tested in Safe Sanctuaries and at least 23 years old. Additional volunteers can be present but are under the supervision of the trained hosts. We will also need a two person/open door policy. No giving rides. Etc.
Legally we will operate like a "Drop-in" center (Kids can come and go)

Brewed coffee
Need to look into espresso machine.
Fair Trade when feasible (Perhaps churches will donate Equal Exchange)

Link to Missoula Youth Forward http://www.ncbimissoula.org/youth-forward

PFLAG? Do we need to get a chapter started? Yes but hopefully another organization will tackle this.

What to expect section- Rob will steal off of Youth Forward website.
Including setting, food, drinks, no smoking, no alcohol.

Who should they contact with questions? rainbowcoffeehouse@gmail.com 

Advisory Team

We are looking for a team of people to help launch and oversee this.

It would be nice to have at least one representative from
Grace UMC
OUT Student Org at MSUB
GSA's, orgs, and partner churches
at least 3 High School Students


The Rainbow Coffee Hour wants to partner with others in the community. We need help with
hosting, advertising, funding, networking, resources.

Grace UMC- Pastor on Board, Church pending Council Approval
United Campus Ministry at MSUB- Director on Board, pending student approval
1st Congregational Church- Pastor on Board, Church needs details
St. Andrews Presb- Unsure
Bethlehem Lutheran- Pastor Invited
Mayflower UCC- Youth Leader on Board, Church needs details
UU- Church Invited
Unity- Donna Beth Ingersol is contact

Beth Aaron?
Darma Center
Mama Dragons?- Do not appear to be active in Billings

West GSA? Sarah
Skyview GSA Dan- President has been invited through Kim.
Senior GSA Rob  Contacted GSA adviser Jeff Bottrell
Billings Career Center- Rob contacted Steve Wilson HS Counselor there
RMC GSA -Rhiannon and Hannah

Community Businesses and Orgs
Pita Pit?
PFLAG (Are they even in Billings?)
NIOT? - Sarah
Montana Gender Alliance- Sarah
Tumbleweed? - Rob

Requirements of Partners
Send someone to the advisory team
Others To Be Determined by Advisory Team.
May include:
Helping promote
Providing volunteers/snacks to host the coffee a couple times each semester
Financial support


Weekly Coffee Hour
- Currently Considering Every Thursday from 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Themed nights
- Game Nights
- Volunteering
- Resource Booths
- Other activities the students want to do

Potential Model