Rainbows for All Children

Rating: 5 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Mental Health, Human Services

Location: Itasca IL USA

Mission: 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. HOW RAINBOWS WAS BORN: 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.
Geographic areas served: United States,

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

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 unaware of their children's needs. As a mediator I can not "save" these children but because there is Rainbows I can refer them to a place of ongoing support and hope. In Rainbows the children find a place to grieve and move on with their lives. Without Rainbows thousands of children would be "lost". Thank God for Rainbows! Kathleen Borland

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

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 classmates as well as the development of relationships with adults whom you can trust and feel supported by during a time of great change occuring in the home. I also remember that the opportunity to talk about divorce and change in the groups made it easier to have those conversations with my parents, and I think it helped them to understand what I was experiencing. As an adult I became a professional therapist that works with children experiencing trauma and loss, it is evident to me that when there is a significant crisis or change, children need their community to respond and support them so that they and their families can adjust. Rainbows is a low cost program that schools can implement relatively easily to provide children with the critical help they need so that they can have a positive outcome to the changes and losses that they may experience. As an adult, a professional in the field, and an alum I am proud to support Rainbows and would suggest anyone who has experienced a loss in their family to utilize this resource.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I originally heard about Rainbows through the Church in which my children were going to preschool. Going through a divorce when the kids were so young - I did not know anyone that was in my position. I was also relatively new to this state and had no support of family or friends. I figured I would try it once and see how it went. Our Rainbows group was for parents and children; each week we split into our parent and children groups and had an of support and fun, tears and laughter. What a great feeling that there was this organization available to us ! 12 years later, I am grateful for meeting one of my best friends through Rainbows and am so grateful for Rainbows being around for us, when nothing else was. Thank you Rainbows for helping my kids and myself through such a dark time. Rainbows do come after storms!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2001

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a child dealing with parents going through a divorce, Rainbows was the most sensational program I could have been introduced to. At the time, I did not realize that was taking part in a program that was so widespread around globe. I participated in my school (public grammar school) with the school counselor. While in Rainbows I not only dealt with issues I was having at home because of the divorce, but was also a victim of adolescent bullying. My counselor that ran Rainbows also helped guide me through those struggles as well. I feel that even if it is unclear whether or not a child is having difficulty grieving that it is extremely helpful to be around those that are also dealing with similar circumstances. Rainbows is THE program to guide children and families through difficult times. I would absolutely 100% recommend it to anyone that feels it may help, because it will. Being a non-profit they can certainly use any amount of funding to continue to grow the program. People need it all over the world as they continue bloom into other countries each year.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1997

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My husband, Len, and I have been involved with Rainbows for nearly 15 years -- Len has served on the golf committee and Board of Trustees and I have been involved with the Women's Board and several committees. We support Rainbows because it provides such needed service and support to grieving children. The results are simply extraordinary. We do not have children of our own, and being involved with Rainbows is our way ot giving back to kids.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a parent of four children who attended Rainbows during their school day while dealing with a divorce, I spoke with each child and asked them how Rainbows helped them. Two of my children said it helped explain what divorce is and helped them bond with others who shared similar situations. My son said it made him understand better. One of my daughters went to Rainbows and discovered that another child, one she was in conflict with regularly, also was dealing with divorce. She learned about empathy and understanding in a way I couldn't teach myself. I think it is a truly valuable program, offering valuable insight and a place to feel safe to children when they most need it. Parents know they need to provide it for the children, but are having a difficult time providing it themselves due to their own trauma experience.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a Board Member and volunteer for over five years, I have had the privilege of learning about the Rainbows programs and the life changing effect is has had on millions of children. The more I talk about Rainbows the more I learn of its miraculous healing power in the lives of people I meet. Children need the support and guidance to understand the grieving and be able to heal through their time spent in Rainbows. The organization is truly committed to making a difference in the lives of all children suffering a loss from death, divorce, deployment or other traumatic life events. What amazes me about Rainbows is how effective they are in using the dollars they receive as donations to benefit great numbers of grieving children and the passion with which they take on that mission!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Through its programs Rainbows provides one of the most necessary and most effective services to children who experience a major life loss, such as the divorce, death, or deployment of a parent, or a natural disaster. The trauma of such events can cause lasting damage to a child for a lifetime. Indeed, it can be generational in scope as children who suffered trauma in their family become spouses and parents as adults. Rainbows takes on this essential challenge through programs with proven effect and volunteers with strong commitment. Rainbows is a blessing and a wonder that many of us wish we could have experienced as children. Now it is our duty to save children from sadness, and the trouble at home and school that it brings, by making Rainbows available to more children of this generation and the next.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Rainbows for the last dozen years. RAINBOWS is unique in the way that we are able to serve so many children with so few resources. We are able to leverage the support of so many volunteers by providing them professional training and resources they need to make an impact in their local community. The children are able to play and not even realize that they are healing during that whole process while learning new relationship skills. I continue to be impressed with the resourcefulness of the organization and the quality of the materials. Our recent expansion into Japan to serve the needs of those children touched tandem tsunami and with military families for deployed parents is tremendous.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?