This year we will be honoring Tamara Berven for her dedication and hard work in making the first South Central Minnesota Pridefest a reality in 2002 and for helping bring it back again in 2003!
Tamara’s volunteer experience began in Rochester, MN (1994-1996) with the Minnesota Aids Project, the Dorothy Day House and working with developmentally disabled youth. Her work continued in San Diego (1998-1999) as a youth mentor with the Americorps and as a street counselor for Stand Up 4 Kids. Her studies brought her back to Minnesota State Mankato, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from in 2001. Tamara interned with the Alliance for Justice, part of the Committee Against Domestic Abuse, and eventually become Program Coordinator (2000-2004). Her work with AFJ included serving as Victim’s Advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Hate/Bias Crimes and public speaking on those issues. Tamara was first inspired to write a proposal for Pridefest by the many requests she had received to “find community” in southern Minnesota. Many people returned to the Mankato area for that first Pridefest in 2002, and she was deeply touched by their stories of how they felt about finally being able to “come home.”
Tamara and her partner Emily fell in love at first sight at Pridefest 2003! Since then, they have been living happily on the Minnesota prairie on a farm with their two girls, Ally and Anika (6 years and 6 weeks respectively), horses, cats, dogs, and a goat. Their commitment to each other, their family and their community is truly an inspiration for us all. Tamara continues her work in the area as a Home Based County Social Worker in Children’s Services.