Published January 4, 2019

MELROSE — EPiC-Melrose is an exciting, new community group providing a space for parents to be in conversation about their journey with their LGBTQ+ children. “Engaging Parents in Conversation” (EPiC-Melrose) is an extension program of nAGLY, the Northshore Alliance of GLBTQ Youth, which serves young people throughout the North Shore.

The idea for such a group grew out of a meeting of Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School parents last April. At the meeting, parents expressed interest in continuing the conversation as a way of supporting LGBTQ+ children and their families. Two Melrose organizations, the Melrose Alliance against Violence (MAAV) and Melrose Organizes for Real Equality (MORE), worked together to further explore the need for such a parent group in Melrose. MAAV is also providing logistical and financial support as the group begins its work.

In the development process, facilitators of the emerging Melrose group visited EPiC, the parents’ group of the Northshore Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth. The Melrose group is modeled on the nAGLY group, and in continuing conversation with nAGLY, EPiC-Melrose took form. Steve Harrington, Executive Director of nAGLY, adds, “We share the goals of helping families affirm LGBTQ+ young people. We are excited about the opportunity EPiC-Melrose provides to parents in the Melrose area.”

Facilitators for EPiC-Melrose are Melrose residents Tracey Cruickshank and Bert Whittier. Both are educators and are actively engaged in LGBTQIA+ issues in the community. “We understand that every parent is unique,” says Cruickshank. “Each parent has specific hopes and concerns for their child.” Whittier adds, “Our goal for EPiC-Melrose is to provide a safe place for parents to share concerns and, through conversation, discover ways to affirm and support their LGBT child.”

The first meeting of EPiC-Melrose is on Tuesday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 645 Main Street (across from the Melrose Bank). For more information, email [email protected] or phone 781-590-5375.