Gay Atlanta has everything to gain with Rainbros, a new peer mentoring and social outlet for gay men, by gay men.
By Matthew Holey
Just in time for 2017’s batch of fresh resolutions comes the launch of Rainbros, an organization designed to “create opportunities for gay Atlanta men to connect with and coach peers across a spectrum of areas identified and prioritized by the community.”
The beginning of the year finds local gay men and everyone else striving to achieve resolutions like maintaining fitness, achieving career heights, expanding our social networks, and so on. Some of these we keep; others we unfortunately discard to the messy, unpredictability of life.
Founded by Mike Duffy and James Yancey, Rainbros wants to redefine the local gay community and scene through one-on-one peer coaching and group activities, all revolving around a quarter system, each respectively focusing on common themes most gay men struggle to navigate such as those same pesky resolutions: fitness, finance, career building and health.
Rainbros envisions immeasurable opportunities to discover commonalities and foster friendships above and beyond the typical gay hotspots and your own personal social circles. To celebrate the launch of this inspired innovation, Rainbros hosts a debut party on Jan. 14 at Creative Approach. In light of the upcoming soiree, Rainbros co-founder James Yancey spoke with David Atlanta, offering further details about how Rainbros was conceived, ideal instructions on the coaching process and what attendees can expect from the immaculate launch party.
How did Rainbros come to be?
Mike Duffy and I co-founded Rainbros after both seeing a need from differing perspectives. Mike, a producer with CNN, used to tend bar for years in NYC and met a variety of older people who would share the stories and experiences of their lives. It had an amazing impact on his life to provide their advice, thoughts and life perspective.
Likewise as a tech entrepreneur, I know many younger people in their 20s who come to me often for advice, thoughts and connections. In sharing our stories, we realized that in collaboration we could launch a peer coaching network unique to Atlanta where there is benefit to both those who have experiences to offer and those looking to learn and grow, all for free.
How will it work?
We are very specifically a peer-coaching network. We distinguish this from a mentor, as we felt that the concept of mentoring has the connotation of only older giving to younger. We believe that people of a variety of ages can be both someone seeking to grow and someone who has much to offer in teaching. Based on life experience, someone who is 28 can provide thoughts to someone who is 70, and vice versa. So people can both provide guidance and receive it on an ongoing basis.
Right now, areas of interest include career advice, thoughts on healthy relationships, coming out, personal finance coaching and health and fitness. In addition to one on one coaching relationships, there will be small-group social sessions around things like fitness and finance. We will also cater to people who are new to the city and looking to get tutorial on what the community has to offer.
We will address a variety of areas as the group naturally expands. Everyone is volunteer, and we ensure the quality of the program through interviews, background checks and a code of ethics that makes all of our efforts platonic to simply help others out of kindness.
Who is eligible to be part of Rainbros?
Currently you must be 18 and up to receive coaching and we extend the group to anyone in the LGBTQ community. You must 21 and up to serve as a coach.
What is the ultimate goal for Rainbros?
The ultimate goal is to use our networks and technology to create platonic relationships to simply help each other grow. Growth comes from both offering thoughts and connections as well as receiving them.
Atlanta doesn’t have a gay center, and we lost Outwrite Bookstore years ago. Sports groups, bars and religious/social groups are great, but to truly connect people to help each other in a platonic way is still a big need in Atlanta. We hope to fill that gap with peer coaching.
What can we expect from the launch party?
This will be a chance to hear about our programs and meet some of the coaches who will share their life stories. It will be fun and give everyone a chance to hear and discuss how a peer coach in their life in 2017 could be something truly great