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Phone: 847-952-1770


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Geographic areas served: United States,

Rainbows For All Children is an international, nonprofit organization that fosters emotional healing for children grieving a loss or life-altering crisis.  The goals include helping children to develop and strengthen coping skills, learn appropriate behavior and anger management, alleviate depression, and reduce emotional pain and suffering.  These coping tools will build the confidence and self-esteem of these hurting children, improve communication in their families and peer relationships, prevent destructive behaviors such as involvement with gangs, alcohol and drug abuse, and ultimately improve school attendance and academic performance. 

Rainbows enriches the lives of youth with a sense of hope, forgiveness, and coping skills to prevent grief from defining their lives. Since 1983, more than 2.5 million were helped through Rainbows and nearly 200,000 youth are assisted each year.


Suzy Yehl Marta, Founder and President of Rainbows, was working several part-time jobs and struggling to keep the family together financially when she had her epiphany: Her boys were hurting ─ and the divorce was to blame.  She tried counseling but quit when the therapist told her they were all doing just fine.  Marta searched for a program for the boys but found none.  So, with other parent volunteers, she ran weekend retreats for grieving youth through her local church.  In three years, 800 kids came – each one broken-hearted, angry, confused and isolated in pain.

Finally, Marta faced a tough decision: Take a good-paying, full-time job, which she desperately needed, or use the knowledge she’d gained from the retreats to start an organization for grieving youth, which her kids also needed.  She did the right thing and, in 1983, she established Rainbows.  The program was based on the four principles that Marta had learned from the kids themselves:

* Adults often don’t recognize when children are grieving.

* Children don’t know how to grieve, and the consequences of this can be devastating.

* Children don’t distinguish between the pain of loss that results from death and the pain of loss that results from divorce, separation or abandonment

* Children can be healed after loss.

Rainbows began with three small pilot programs in Chicago-area schools. Flash forward to 2010: more than 10,000 sites have implemented Rainbows worldwide, with a network of 30,000 trained volunteer facilitators assisted 127,000 children and teens.  Rainbows oversees effective, peer-support programs throughout the United States and 16 other countries.

Rainbows has four age-appropriate programs to serve children from pre-school through young adulthood.  A fifth program works with single parents.  As a nonprofit, Rainbows operates on a shoestring budget and miniscule staff and it also offers Silver Linings, a crisis response program designed for teachers and youth group leaders following community or large-scale disasters. More than 600 editions of the program were distributed nationwide following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and thousands after the Gulf Coast Hurricanes.

Despite its growth and expansion, Rainbows focus remains clearly centered on grieving youth. For Marta, now remarried and the mother to six adult children, the challenge today is the same as it was two decades ago: To provide grief support to every child or teen who needs help coping with the pain of loss.

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As a mediator working in Chicago's Divorce Court for twenty years, I say, "Thank God there is a Rainbows"! Daily I interview children who are in the midst of their parents' divorce and high conflict. Children hurting from loss, anger, and feeling helpless. Often parents in their own pain are ... more »
Rainbows For All Children is one of the best charities to help children and teens who are grieving. They've helped so many children worldwide through their difficult life stages... more »
I have had a connection to Rainbows in so many ways throughout my life. As a first grader, I attended Rainbows programs that were held at my Catholic elementary school. I think one of the many great benefits that children experience, and that I remember, is a feeling of connection to other ... more »
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