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Our Board has embraced Rainbows for over 15 years. I can't emphasize enough the positive contribution the program has made for innumerable individuals and their families in our jurisdiction. We have never had to plead for funds to run the program as principals and parents alike have long been celebrating the value of Rainbows in our schools. Without Rainbows, there would be a significant gap in the services we would like to be able to offer our grieving students.

Bronek Korczynski, Coordinator of Religious and Family Life Education Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
Napanee, ON

When there is a death or divorce in a family parents are often in a state of confusion and are unable to emotionally support their children. When students have an opportunity to be in a Rainbows peer support group they tend to be calmer and deal with the emotional rollercoaster in a better manner. Their feelings are validated, anger and frustration are quieted, and they are able to move toward healthy resolutions of their loss.

Nancy Coffin, Trustee, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
Peterborough, ON

As long-term facilitators of the mandatory BC Parenting After Separation programme through the Court System, we have referred many people to Rainbows. It has greatly assisted many families and individuals while offering a uniquely worthy and enriching time. For many, Rainbows has been the catalyst for positive change and provided comfort and relief. I have been involved in the human relation business for over 27 years. Frankly, Rainbows is as fine a program as I have encountered.

Larry Leischner, Community Alternative Measures
Prince George, BC

Rainbows has served the community of Prince George in a way that no other service has. The peer support has done a great deal to heal the bereavement pain of the children of our community.

Sharon C. Coflin, B.A. M.S.W. R.S.W.
Prince George, BC

I am writing in support of the Rainbows program. The Ministry for Children and Families has referred several families who have appreciated the service of RAINBOWS and found it to be helpful.

Richard King, Regional Manager, Child Protection, Northern Interior Region
Prince George, BC

The Rainbows program provides invaluable support to a significant number of children within our school system and thus, the community. The program is confidential, professional and responsive to the unique and critical situations in the lives of the children. We are very appreciative of the Rainbows program and the assistance it provides for families and children in difficult personal times.

Mrs. W. Herbert, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, District 57
Prince George, BC

It is the privilege of Collier Street United Church to be a site for Rainbows. In an atmosphere of love and trust, with trained and committed leaders, the participants are given an opportunity to share their feelings, to talk about their struggles, to work through emotionally difficult things with others who are very much like them, and find a way through a hurting time in their lives. It is a very positive program that can lead to a transformation of spirit. For anyone wondering whether the program is worthwhile, for anyone looking for a way to reach our to the community around them, I can give a resounding "yes" to Rainbows. It can make a very beautiful difference in a person's life.

The Rev. Dennis Posno, Collier Street United Church
Barrie, ON

My godchildren, 10, 9 and 7, always come home after school and tell me how Rainbows was that day. Their parents just recently separated. I know Rainbows has made a tremendous difference in their lives. They say it makes them feel better to talk to other children and know that they are not the only ones. They also mentioned the fact that everything is private. You have really helped them! Keep up the good work.

Lisa England
Oshawa, ON

As a practising psychologist for over 20 years, I have found the Rainbows program to be a wonderful assistance to our community. One of the biggest needs that was identified in our area was support systems for children going through the loss of separation, providing a neutral forum wherein the children were able to meet other children going through the same difficulties, to express their feelings and build friendships without any repercussions. The program has expanded and has been well received by all parties. Parents speak highly of the program and children also seem to look forward to attending.

Dr. Carol Corlis McMaster, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Barrie, On

I am pleased to endorse the Rainbows program as a valuable resource in our community. In my family law practice it is helpful to be able to refer clients to the service that Rainbows provides for families who are struggling to sort out the myriad of challenges and feeling related to a change in their family.

Edward P. Mayhew, HOGBEN MAYHEW HILL, Barristers, Solicitors and Mediators
Barrie, ON

I would like to highly recommend the Rainbows program. As a Mediator I meet with parents experiencing high levels of conflict and stress due to separation. As part of the mediation process, I often recommend that they send their children to Rainbows. The feedback I receive from the parents of the children touched by Rainbows is always positive.

Claudette Reimer, Mediator and Manager of the Mediation Centre of Simcoe County
Barrie, ON

I am a supervisor of an agency that provides foster care and group home care to children who are in the care and custody of Children's Aid Societies. Rainbows has proved extremely helpful to the children in our homes in dealing with the loss of their natural families. Coming into care can be extremely traumatic and the Rainbows program helps the children to process this experience and make sense of it. In the peer support groups the children can assist each other with coping strategies. This is an excellent program and one that is worthy of support.

Colleen J. Walsh, Programme Supervisor, Storey Homes Ltd.
Campbellford, ON

I have been involved with the Rainbows program since 1989 and I have encouraged its implementation in every school in which I have worked. The program provides immeasurable benefit for the many children in our schools who have been wounded by loss. It gives them a "place" to be themselves, to share with other children who have had similar experiences, and to feel a belonging that they may not have in other parts of their lives. I highly recommend the program as a valuable asset to any school's programming plan.

Helen Lanthier, Principal, St. Wilfrid Catholic School, The Durham Catholic District School Board
Pickering ON

Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to offer the Rainbows Program. Though I was only the coordinator this year, it was amazing to see smiles come to students faces and hear the facilitators celebrate the growth among their groups. We hope to run the program again and are looking for ways to improve upon our experiences next year.

Kimm McCool, Teacher, Holy Family Catholic School
Alliston, Ontario

The Rainbows program has been offered in the schools of ALCDSB and its predecessor boards for over 20 years. Through Rainbows, students who are grieving a significant loss are given the opportunity to heal in a safe and caring environment. The emotional literacy developed throughout the sessions allows participants to name and accept their own feelings and to develop empathy and compassion for one another. Principals, staff, and parents recognize the value of Rainbows in maintaining healthy school communities.

Ann Boniferro Office of Religious and Family Life Education Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
Napanee, Ontario

Rainbows Marks 20 Years at Durham District School Board

Experiencing a significant loss can have a huge impact on people – but especially on a child.   Historically, when children suffered a loss, there were very few places where they could seek support and many were placed on lengthy waiting lists.
In 1991 that changed for many children within what was then called, the Durham Board of Education.  That is when the Rainbows program was established in the Durham Board.

The program offers peer support to small groups of children facilitated by a caring adult, with the use of books and games. Within one year, 25 schools requested the Rainbows program to be established in their schools.  Now some twenty years later, the Rainbows program is active in ninety per cent of the Durham District School Board’s (DDSB) 135 schools.

Through 12 weekly meetings thousands of children in DDSB’s elementary and high schools have benefited from this peer support in the familiar and comforting surroundings of their own school.  The Rainbows program is offered at no cost to the family.  Teachers, educational assistants, custodians, secretaries, principals, parents and grandparents are among those who have volunteered to take the facilitator training and who continue to offer support to the grieving children.  “The Durham District School Board is proud to say that thanks to our caring staff and our partners at Rainbows, the DDSB’s Rainbows program is one of the largest in the country.  Thank you to everyone who has supported Durham District School Board students through the Rainbows program for twenty years,” said Director of Education, Martyn Beckett.

This program is highly successful in dealing with the emotional well-being of students, because of the confidentiality aspect of the program, the user-friendly facilitator manuals, the accessibility to the program within the schools and the training and ongoing support provided by the Rainbows Registered Directors.  This exemplary program has made the lives of students brighter and that is a significant accomplishment.

Mr. Martyn Beckett, Director of Education, DDSB
Durham, Ontario

Reflections from a Rainbows Registered Director in Nanaimo, BC

I have been involved in Rainbows here in beautiful Nanaimo, BC since 1995. Our church has been hosting the program for 24 years and I can tell you that it has been a most interesting journey! When it started some families would not enter the building, because it was a church. The first 15 years we did a lot of fundraising to be able to support the program and bring awareness. Credibility and respect was finally earned, I still remember when the change happened. Donations just started to come in.(at least enough to keep us going)
Our church actually produced 3 Directors over the years, serving Central Vancouver Island.

The church is Nanaimo’s community site, which has about 60 children and 25 parents participating every year. This is quite the challenge as we get families requesting Rainbows all the time! I haven’t advertised the program for at least 7 years!!  I just put out the word about registration and families come. Word of mouth mostly, but all the schools and agencies around here like us and recommend Rainbows to everyone. From Hospice to Family Justice centres, counselling services etc. 6 Years ago we finally got into the secular school system here, thanks to another Director who works there. It’s quite an honour for a ‘non-professional agency/program’ to be allowed in the schools. The counsellors and Child & Youth care workers love using the program.
This past year 14 Elementary schools used Rainbows, I’m so excited because there is so much need and Rainbows is the only support there is for kids grief of ALL kinds (we do have a wonderful Hospice here). One of these schools with only 126 students is doing Celebrate Me with 40 kids! Another Elementary school has mentioned 79% of the students are dealing with grief. A teacher has mentioned 98% of the kids in her classroom need Rainbows, “so please don’t give up this much needed program!!” Another Elementary school lost 2 students in a fire last December, I had 3 phone calls the next day, and Rainbows was started at the school. I love what Rainbows does for families and volunteers alike! What a great tool we can put in peoples hands. It’s all about a community taking care of each other during difficult times. And all of us need someone to listen and care when times are tough, it obviously works!
Once in a while I enjoy putting on my nametag that I got at the Director’s training while I go shopping or when meeting people in a public place. The guy at the till in Costco recognizes the logo, and remembers what the program does. When I sit in a large meeting with all kinds of agencies that serve the Youth, I get at least 4 or 5 people coming up to me, telling their personal experiences regarding Rainbows. “My sister and her kids loved your program when she went through her divorce”. Or they tell me that they recommend the program to their clients etc. I was at a town hall meeting where a panel offered their expertise about poverty, needs for housing etc, after which one of the panellists looked for me and told me how much Rainbows had done for his kids 20 years ago. He got divorced and landed on the streets. He is a great speaker and a very much respected coordinator of programs for street people.
Everywhere I go, I meet people who recommend the program, have participated or have heard great stories. I just sit back and enjoy. What can I say - I just LOVE my nametag!


Isabel VanGrootheest, RD
Nanaimo, BC

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