Summer 2017 Newsletter
** IMPORTANT Reminders**

Offering a Group This Fall?
Don't Forget Pre- and Post-Test Assessments!
As a reminder, all Rainbows facilitators are now required to submit Pre- and Post-Test Assessments for a minimum of one group each calendar year. There are required Pre- and Post-Tests for participants and facilitators, and an optional one for parents. Once you have completed your Rainbows training and received your certification, you will have full access to the Facilitator Dashboard ( ). 

After completing the profile on the My Sites page, you will be able to click on your site under My Groups and add the information for each participant in your group(s) to that page. Once you have done so, you will see the links to the Assessments under each participant.
All assessments must be entered electronically via the Facilitator Dashboard system. However, if you prefer to complete a paper version initially and enter the data later, you can find downloadable/printable pdf's of each of the assessments on the Resources page of the Dashboard. Also, if you choose to administer the assessments to parents, they can be emailed a link to complete the survey online OR you can print the pdf form and give it to them to complete manually (you will need to then enter that data electronically later via the Dashboard).
All Pre-Tests should be completed by the SECOND meeting of your Rainbows group.  All Post-Tests should be completed by the LAST meeting of your Rainbows group (generally this will be somewhere around 12-14 weeks after the start date).
Questions? Concerns? Please contact Zach Hamilton-Cotter at or 847-952-1770, Ext. 315.

Complete your Site Profile TODAY!

On Friday, September 15, we will be removing ALL sites off the Rainbows website under the search mechanism, "Find a Group," and replacing them with the sites who have completed their Site Profile on the Facilitator Dashboard ( ).
This will allow site contact information to be auto-generated from the information facilitators enter on their dashboards. The new system will also ensure that the contact information for sites includes specifics such as whether the site is open to the community or only for enrolled students, what grades/ages the site serves (where applicable), and more. The information under "Find a Group" will remain current as long as sites are updating their information in the Dashboard regularly.

If your site has not completed the Site Profile in the Facilitator Dashboard, please be sure to do so prior to September 15th or your site will not be found by people searching for a group in your area! This can drastically affect the enrollment numbers for your site.

Here is how to access and complete your Site Profile:

The Facilitator Dashboard can be found at . Your username will always be your email address and you should have established a password. If you have not received this information, lost it, have trouble logging on, or need assistance, please contact Zach Hamilton-Cotter at 847-952-1770, Ext. 315 or . You may also be able to do the "forgot password" feature. 
Once you log in, you will be asked to complete your Profile if you have not already done so. The Profile page looks like this:

If you have completed the Rainbows training and received your Rainbows Facilitator Certification, you will be able to access the full Dashboard and should complete your Site information immediately, if you have not already done so. 

If there is more than one facilitator at a Site, the lead facilitator (or facilitator coordinator) will need to complete the Site information and add each of the other facilitators before they will be able to access the full site. To do so, click on the red button "+ New Site" and complete the requested information. 

Once the Site information has been added by the lead facilitator, and the other facilitators have been added, any facilitator can add information to the other pages by clicking "Join Existing Site" if need be.
The Site page looks like this:
Thank you for your compliance. Please let us know if we can help in any way!
Spotlight on Some Fantastic Facilitators 
from Georgia This Quarter
Rod Metcalf with Dede Manzella and Donna Ratliff (right)
May: Rod Metcalf
For 21 years, Rod Metcalf has served the Woodstock, Georgia community by creating one of the largest Rainbows programs in the country. What began at Woodstock Middle School in 1996 has tripled to more than a hundred participants in 21 groups. Rod is adamant that Woodstock's success is the result of a strong team effort. Rod worked alongside Donna Ratliff, Dede Manzella, and others to help build the program into what it is today. Now, the teachers and other staff continue to fund the program and give their time as facilitators.
Rod believes that time and patience is key to making a site this successful and large. The hardest part is the logistics: getting the groups, materials and participants together. However, he believes that putting in that extra effort is worth all the small rewards. His participants seem to agree as some of his former Rainbows participants, who are now adults, are sending their children now and continue to tell him about the program's lasting impact on their lives. 

June: Marthe Souza

Marthe Souza became a part of Rainbows while working with the Junior League of Atlanta in 2004. She saw a flier, and so her journey with Rainbows began.

The Junior League works with over 30 organizations in Atlanta, supporting them with money and other needed resources. Rainbows has been one of those organizations for 20 years now.

Marthe began as a facilitator and after a few years started working as the site coordinator. Rainbows has expanded in Atlanta through networking and making personal connections with others. Often people are referred to Marthe by word of mouth, but she also relies on the referrals of school counselors.

Then, in 2010, Marthe and her own family needed Rainbows. She and her husband were getting divorced, so Marthe signed up her then four-year old twins, William and Katelyn, into a Sunbeams group. Later, her younger child, Walker, joined as well.

"Rainbows is so ingrained in my family and I believe so much in what the program does, I keep going back to it." Marthe's children have been in Rainbows for six years now. They re-join each school year so they can continue to process their feelings and offer support to their grieving peers.
Marthe loves working with Rainbows because she can see the impact on others. Her favorite moments are when a child who has been quiet for multiple sessions finally opens up and shares his or her feelings, or when parents come back and tell her that their child is happier and talks to them more.

Her advice for other facilitators and site coordinators is to create a sense of community. For example, one highly successful thing Marthe has done is provide free dinner to those who show up 45 minutes early before a group session. This has helped build relationships among the group members and form lasting bonds between children and parents, and it has provided an incentive for them to attend the meetings.

"You just need the will and the heart to give to these children," Marthe advises. 

July: Elizabeth Nelson 

Attending a grief-sharing group after a personal loss led Elizabeth Nelson, our Featured Facilitator for July, to Rainbows For All Children.

Ten years ago, Elizabeth began going to a grief-sharing group after her parents and only sibling died within a nine-month period of each other. In that group, she met Gail Wilkins, the Rainbows Coordinator in Bartow County, Georgia, who works with the non-profit organization, Advocates for Children.
Advocates for Children began in 1983 as a grassroots effort to create a community children's shelter in Bartow County. Since then, it has grown to include a variety of programs and resources to help children who have experienced abuse or trauma.

In 1999, Rainbows began partnering with Advocates to bring peer support groups to Bartow country. Advocates promotes Rainbows to local schools by approaching guidance counselors who can find children who will benefit from the support. Advocates then covers any financial costs, including the training fee for facilitators and any necessary materials they may need.

Karen White, Advocates for Children's CEO and President, believes, "It's important to offer Rainbows at schools during school hours to ensure children have access to the program. Children who would otherwise not be able to attend group sessions because of a lack of transportation or other barriers are thus able to receive the support they need."

Elizabeth has been working as a Rainbows facilitator for four years now. She has worked with a total of six groups: three comprised of middle school students and three with high school-aged.

Having attending a grief-sharing group herself, Elizabeth knows how important it is for children to meet with peers and explore their feelings. "It can be hard to walk this journey," Elizabeth said. She remembers to take time for herself to process her own feelings. But sharing her own journey with grief has helped those in her groups as well.

Elizabeth wants others to know that just listening to a child can help them. "I'm thankful that I've been placed in this position. I hope to help as many people as possible, that they don't have to go through it by themselves."
New Developments

There are a lot of new, exciting developments in the works at Rainbows' headquarters! This summer we have been fortunate to have six incredible summer interns from Marquette University, DePaul University and Northwestern University working with us pro bono. They have been helping us to adapt the Rainbows curriculum to be used with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory disorders, families in domestic violence shelters, and counselors at a camp for children experiencing a parent or sibling with cancer. The interns have also been creating live, electronic maps of all of our sites across the nation, adding more alternate activities to the Resources page of the online training, developing the Resources page of our website for families needing information, and creating activities for a Rainbows App that is currently in the works. We are so grateful for these creative, hardworking, intelligent, young people who are helping expand Rainbows to serve an even greater number of children worldwide.


We are proud to announce our partnership with She Is Code, a non-profit organization based in Evanston, IL that teaches young girls and women computer coding. High school and college students from She Is Code are creating a Rainbows App that will be launched in the next 6-9 months. The App features will include information about Rainbows, the ability to search for groups in your area, a donation page, a resources page for families, various places for Rainbows participants to add journal entries or send a message to their Rainbows facilitator, and helpful activities and thoughtful reminders for children and teens who are grieving to get them through those tough times in between their Rainbows' meetings. We are so excited that children and teens are creating an app to serve their peers! We will be able to launch the Rainbows App as soon as we secure the funding necessary to complete the project (cost = $6000).


We are still seeking funding for the update of the parent program, Prism, we hope to restore sometime this year (cost = $9000). We would also like to update the workbooks (aka journals) for the children (cost = $25,000) and are actively seeking funds for that as well. We recently added a new item to the Rainbows online store: a recordable Rainbows bear that can be ordered from BEARegards, an organization that provides the bears for military families. And we have plans to expand our curriculum to include more information on addressing grief caused by trauma in addition to loss. Plus much, much more!
Get Ready to Promote Your Site!
Promoting your site widely in your community is essential to keep enrollment up. You may need to promote the group(s) continuously until they grow to sufficient size. In the Resources section of both the Facilitator Dashboard and the training, you will find a Promotional Toolkit to assist you. This contains flyers, blurbs for newsletters/bulletins, e-blasts, social media posts, sample press releases, Rainbows logos, and parent letters. If you need something more specific, please let us know! We are always happy to assist. There is also useful information on promoting support groups on this page of the Community Toolbox site,  under the section "Tips on Keeping a Support Group Going."
New Rainbows' Partnership with BEARegards
Beginning this summer, Rainbows for All Children is working with community partner BEARegards to bring comfort to grieving children though their Recordable Rainbow Animals. 
BEARegards was started in 2004 by Garry Beauregard, a retired USAF Colonel with 28 years of service. During his career, Garry was deployed numerous times, leaving his three children and wife behind. Because of his experience, Garry created BEARegards to offer recordable talking teddy bears and animals to the children of our deployed military, allowing a recordable message to be heard with every hug.
These soft, stuffed animals come in an assortment of colors, including rainbow colors, with a durable 10-second recorder so a loved one can record their personal message for a child. This furry friend can comfort a child of any age whose parent is deployed, suffering from a life-threatening illness, is incarcerated, or is separated/divorced. The Recordable Rainbow Animals can also be used by a child to record their own voice to help them express their feelings if they have trouble doing so.
There is a 8" stuffed bear, a 15" stuffed bear, and a 16" stuffed unicorn available in rainbow colors. Other types of animals are also available, as are additional materials such as 30-second recorders and clothing for the stuffed animals for an additional cost.

These unique animals are offered through Prices range from $19.99 to $26.95.  You can order them through their website using the specia l Rainbows discount code "rainbow" for a 15% discount.
If you are part of a corporation that would like to give back to the community, consider making your corporation a sponsor of BEARegards and Rainbows. These Recordable Rainbow Animals could be given to a Rainbows site, a school, or even to a number of military families. The possibilities are endless to help grieving children!
Rainbows Bereavement Support Great Britain
This year, Rainbows Bereavement Support Great Britain is celebrating twenty-five years of dedication to helping children through the grief process. The organization now operates in over 1,260 schools throughout Great Britain and continues to expand. Because of the organization's hard work, over 100,000 children and young people have access to the support of Rainbows. Hundreds of head teachers, and their staff, have also developed bereavement policies and procedures with help from Rainbows GB in order to give their students assistance during their time of grief.  
Sue McDermott, the voluntary Non-Executive Director of Rainbows GB, was even awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours List. The OBE honor awards someone who has had a major role in an activity that has made them nationally known in their field. Sue was awarded the OBE for her lifetime of service to education, particularly for her outstanding impact in supporting young people grieving a significant and often devastating loss in their lives.
For 25 years, Sue has supported grieving children in a range of roles such as a bereavement support facilitator, co-ordinator, regional development worker, National Director and now voluntary Non-Executive Director and Trustee of Rainbows Bereavement Support GB. Sue has provided her practical experience and expertise as a retired head teacher. She has increased the number of regional structures, revised training programs, overseen the development of new programs and resources, and forged new relationships with many different agencies and organizations.
"Every grieving child and young person needs to be understood and supported appropriately," says Sue. "Not to do so may well have a negative impact on their mental health and general well-being. That's why I'm so delighted to accept the honour-Rainbows matters!"
Sue's tireless work has allowed Rainbows GB to grow and flourish into the successful organization it is today. Rainbows For All Children is grateful that Sue is such a dedicated member of the Rainbows community. Congratulations to Sue and Rainbows GB!
The New CBS Show
Fifty by 52 to Feature Rainbows' Participants
Fifty by 52 is an upcoming show that follows the Kjar family--two parents and three children--on their journey to all 50 states in one year. In each state, they'll meet children going through unique experiences and learn to see the world through their eyes. See the synopsis here .

The show has asked to include Rainbows for All Children participants in one of their episodes. The Kjar's realize and respect Rainbows' strict confidentiality policy and understand the importance of protecting the children involved in support groups. Unless there are children or teens who desire to share their stories, the main intent is to showcase the peer support program of Rainbows for All Children.

If your Rainbows Site is interested in being part of this TV show, please contact Laura Lindroth, Director of Programming and Community Engagement, at or (847) 952-1770, Ext. 312. Please note, there is no guarantee your site will be chosen, and even some that are filmed may eventually be edited out. That is just the nature of showbiz!
Patricia Heath and Princesses on a Mission
Patricia Heath (top right) with her grandchildren
When Patricia Heath's daughter, Elizabeth, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and her grandchildren came to stay with her, Patricia knew she wanted to help children dealing with loss.
In 2014, Patricia created Princesses on a Mission , a nonprofit that serves children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. What first started as a party planning business in 2008 shifted when Patricia saw a need in eastern North Carolina. In an area where many residents rely on Medicaid, and the schools have few resources, not many programs exist to help children going through difficult times.
Princesses on a Mission works to give children and their families joy while going through a difficult time.  The organization gives children parties featuring their favorite princesses and other characters, like Mickey Mouse or Curious George. Princesses on a Mission provides the costumes and china to create a fun tea party for everyone. Like Rainbows, Princesses on a Mission relies on volunteers who are dedicated to working with children.
Patricia remembers one child, Chloe, who had an organ transplant at six months old and needed routine medical attention. Watching Chloe be so excited to see Belle, and color on the floor with other princesses, inspired Patricia to found a nonprofit to serve children from all economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
Today, Patricia is working with schools and churches in her area to form a Rainbows For All Children site as well. Motivated by her Christian faith, she wants to not only create a joyful event in a child's life but also help facilitate the grieving process. In fact, Patricia recently even hosted an information table on Rainbows at a mental health expo in Greenville, NC.
Patricia believes Rainbows can serve eastern North Carolina because children there need support groups. Patricia has heard people say children are resilient and will bounce back from hard times, but she believes that children can and want to help each other through their shared experiences. Because of the multitude of military bases in the state, many children also experience the deployment of a family member just as Patricia's grandchildren did.
Patricia sees Princesses on a Mission and Rainbows for All Children as a good fit for one another because both organizations are passionate about helping children through difficult times. "You've got to have the heart for it, the desire for it. You need to find creative ways to help."
Articles We Love This Quarter
This quarter we are featuring two articles that focus on the lifelong health effects and outcomes that can result from trauma in childhood:

Addiction doc says: It's not the drugs. It's the ACE's - Adverse Childhood Experiences

The Invisible Backpack of Childhood Trauma.

Click here for Article 1 and here Article 2
Thanks to All Who Helped 
Support Satellite Flight!

This is a special project with a GREAT purpose! The initial donation campaign has ended and the project was able to raise $8,030 (51% of the necessary funding). Thank you to everyone who donated!
Satellite Flight is a science fiction fantasy drama about an eight year old boy haunted by the loss of his father. Based in magical realism, James sets out on a mission to leave Earth and find his father by building an intergalactic spaceship. With the help of a spunky, smart, charismatic girl named Nova, they set out on a mission beyond their wildest dreams.
The film is meant to raise awareness of childhood grief, to tell the story of one child's experience with death, and to promote Rainbows for All Children  and our efforts to help youth dealing with loss. We are thankful for all of the support Rainbows has received from our community over the years and are grateful to see the enthusiasm brought to this project.
Thank you for all your support. We will be sure to let you know when the film premiers. It's not too late to make a contribution. If you would like to donate to this film, please do so here and indicate that this is a "tribute gift" for Satellite Flight.
In lieu of our annual golf tournament fundraiser, this year we held a Meet and Greet to introduce the new Rainbows Executive Director, Stephanie Garrity. It was a wonderful summer evening at the beautiful Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove, IL where various supporters of Rainbows enjoyed cocktails, appetizers, great conversation and excellent presentations by Advisory Board Chair and long-time Rainbows supporter, Breck Hanson, Executive Board Chair, Anjum Abbasi-Voight, and Stephanie. Best of all,  thanks to many generous donations we raised over $30,000 which will help support our operations this upcoming year.

Rainbows facilitator, Amy Allen, school counselor at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, IL, and Rainbows Director of Programming and Community Engagement, Laura Lindroth, will be co-presenting at a conference for the Illinois Association of School Social Workers on October 20, 2017 in Lisle, IL. They will be discussing the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (such as divorce, incarceration, and abandonment) and poor health outcomes in adulthood, and how programs such as Rainbows can prevent or lessen those negative consequences from occurring. The title of the workshop is "Surviving the Storms."

Please help us welcome the four new sites that have joined the Rainbows family since May!
  • Wauconda School District 118- Wauconda, IL 
  • LEEP Forward- Chicago, IL
  • Church of Saint Rose- Belmar, NJ
  • Communities in Schools of Chicago- Chicago, IL 
Rainbows for All Children | 855-952-1770 | |