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Home Community Groups Full of pRYEde: Meet Founder Amanda Timchak

Full of pRYEde: Meet Founder Amanda Timchak

To celebrate Pride month, MyRye.com will be running a series called Full of pRYEde to introduce you to the five Rye women who founded the pRYEde advocacy group. The group is the force behind a myriad of LGBTQ+ resources and events including the City of Rye Pride flag raising and the Pride flag raising and mural in Rye Town Park.

(PHOTO: Amanda Timchak, pRYEde founder.)
(PHOTO: Amanda Timchak, pRYEde founder.)

Your Name: Amanda Timchak

MyRye.com: Why are you a founder and how did you become involved in pRYEde? 

Timchak: We didn’t know it at the time, but pRYEde started on our mission in January of 2020. The library had planned to host a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), and after negative feedback from some community members the event was canceled. I reached out to a woman I had recently met to chat about it, and within a day or two the soon to be pRYEde Community Group co-founders were sitting around my kitchen table. Other than Genevieve I hadn’t met any of the other pRYEde co-founders, and it still blows my mind how serendipitously pRYEde got its start.

In our first kitchen table meeting we brainstormed what we could do to help support LGBTQ+ teens in our community who might be experiencing a sense of rejection or discrimination stemming from the cancellation of the DQSH event. We quickly recognized that there was a gap in the local support network for our LGBTQ+ youth and community members. Our organization grew organically from there. We quickly found partnerships and collaborations that helped us to bring programs and events to the community that elevate and celebrate LGBTQ+ people and issues.

Each of the pRYEde co-founders brings a very different, but necessary skill set. I had worked in corporate banking for a decade then focused on not for profit donor development and event planning roles. The management and organization of our growing organization became my focus. Our other co-founders have professional backgrounds ranging from mental health to education, from literacy to public policy. We had the right combination of skills to turn this community engagement idea into something real and impactful.

What is pRYEde-how should residents see pRYEde and its mission?

Timchak: pRYEde is a hyper local organization that elevates, celebrates and educates for LGBTQ+ and systematically marginalized voices. We create and partner on programming and events that educate about issues related to systematically marginalized groups, with a particular focus on queer and trans issues. We are active all year round, but are most visible during June’s Pride Month when we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community at numerous Pride and Pride Flag raising events.

(PHOTO: Three of the five pRYEde founders - Genevieve Weber, PhD., LMHC, Danielle Tagger Epstein and Amanda Timchak.)
(PHOTO: Three of the five pRYEde founders – Genevieve Weber, PhD., LMHC, Danielle Tagger Epstein and Amanda Timchak.)

What is your role within pRYEde?

Timchak: I am pRYEde’s president and as such I do a bit of everything. Mostly I focus on the behind the scenes work that keeps our organization moving forward – event coordination, marketing and branding, relationship building, legal documentation, website and social media management, sales outreach, completion and delivery.

What does it mean that the City of Rye now raises a Pride flag each June? 

Timchak: It is well documented and supported in research from the Trevor Project and various other academic sources that LGBTQ+ teens are much more likely than their cis straight peers to face negative mental health outcomes due to stigma, bullying, and exclusion. These heightened negative outcomes include depression, anxiety, substance use, and ideation and attempts at suicide. It is also documented that there are protective factors that safeguard queer and trans youth from these negative outcomes. Some of these protective factors include the support of affirming adults and affirming communities, the use of personal pronouns, and positive visual cues like the rainbow and the pride flag.

The City’s annual raising of the pride flags above the Village Green and at Rye Recreation quite literally serves as a protective factor for the mental health and well being of Rye’s LGBTQ+ community members. For years to come generations of community members will see the pride flags fly in June and may feel a sense of belonging within our community that they might not have felt otherwise. The raising of the pride flag is a REALLY BIG DEAL with a very real impact.

What should the community expect to see from pRYEde in the next 12-24 months?

Timchak: We have just begun our 3rd annual rainbow garden sales. Placing a rainbow pRYEde/GSA garden flag outside of your home is an awesome, active way to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community. We are also matching individual supporters with local businesses and organizations to sponsor flags.

To purchase a flag or make a donation to pRYEde please visit www.pRYEde.org, and to sponsor a local business’ flag please email pRYEdeflags@gmail.com. 100% of proceeds from the flag sales and from donations is invested in our community to support inclusive local programs and educational opportunities.

Over the next year we will continue to grow our pRYEde Family Network, which is a group of local parents, guardians and family members of LGBTQ+ youth run by two amazing local moms. The members of the PFN come together to share supportive resources and to connect with each other to share their experiences. We will also continue to expand our pRYEde Library, which is an informal lending library with inclusive books and resources. To learn more email pRYEdeLibrary@gmail.com.

In order to grow our programs and outreach pRYEde has applied for 501c3 status. We are excited about the new grants and fundraising opportunities that will now be available to us.

Tell Us About You:

What do you do professionally? 

Timchak: In addition to chasing around my 4 amazing kids, running pRYEde is my primary focus. I also serve on the board of HOPE Community Services – a non profit in New Rochelle that provides a soup kitchen, food pantry, after school program, summer camp and so much more.

Where do you live in Rye? 

Timchak: We are Osborn School’s closest neighbors. We love are beyond thankful in live in a wonderful neighborhood surrounded by the best of the best neighbors and friends. After spending almost twenty years in NYC it’s been so nice to live in a place with greenery and open space. I love that my kids live in a neighhorhood that they can be independent. They can walk out of our back door listen for friends playing down the street and hop on their bikes to find their friends and head to school and sports. It’s been a really nice play to raise our 4 kids.

How long have you lived in Rye and where did you move from?

Timchak: We moved to Rye in 2018 from the FiDi neighborhood of New York City.

Other than the June Pride flag raising, what are some of the other annual Rye events and traditions you enjoy?

Timchak: Halloween in Rye is the best! We got to know and love Rye when we lived in NYC and would come out to Rye to visit friends to trick or treat with them.

I also love the Fall and Spring sports season and watching my 4 kids on the Little League, Softball, Lacrosse and Soccer sidelines. Rye is such a fun place to raise and nurture sporty kiddos with a community that supports them and cheers them on.

I am just finishing 3 years serving on the Rye Free Reading Room’s Auxiliary Board, and I love so many of the library’s events. My favorite is their sidewalk sale, where I let my kids buy all the $1 books they can carry.

Our family has also really enjoyed participating in the local races – Rye Rec’s Turkey Trot and The Rye YMCA’s Derby Day are highlights. These events are such great community events focused on the health and well being our of community members, and it’s so fun to participate as a family and with our friends and neighbors.

Thanks Amanda!

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