RAINBOWS is an internationally acclaimed peer-support program offered free of charge to children and families, to help them cope with grief due to divorce, separation, death or abandonment. RAINBOWS promotes emotional healing by giving participants the opportunity to share their feelings and grieve their loss within a safe, caring setting, with peers who are experiencing a similar transition. The program, started by Suzy Yehl-Marta in 1983, has helped millions of children in 18 countries.

Starfish Family Resources (SFR) and RAINBOWS

Starfish Family Resources supports RAINBOWS in northern and Central Alberta, by partnering with 70 sites in 30 communities. SFR helps new Rainbows sites to start up, as well as provides ongoing support, which includes training coordinators and facilitators. Our partners provide RAINBOWS to over 1,000 children every year, in schools, churches and other agencies. Please call us for program availability or details, or if you would like to bring RAINBOWS to your community; we will be glad to help you set it up.

The RAINBOWS Programs

When a change takes place in the family, whether it is death, divorce, separation or abandonment, it has a profound effect on all its members. Grief is both an expression of love, and a normal human reaction to a significant loss. If it isn’t healed at the appropriate time, its impact can be destructive.

The aim of RAINBOWS is to assist these grieving children, adolescents and adults to develop a belief in their own goodness and the value of their family. It teaches that each change in life is an occasion for a new beginning. The goal of the support group, which is led by trained volunteers, is to assist participants in expressing and understanding their feelings, accepting what has happened, and experiencing a sense of belonging and love.

Evaluations received from Rainbow participants and parents have shown a 53% increase in the children’s self-esteem, a positive correlation with academic achievement and a 75% decrease in absenteeism from school.

RAINBOWS includes several programs, to meet the needs of various age groups. The four currently offered in Alberta are:

  • Rainbows – 13 week or 10 week program for elementary-age children
  • Spectrum – 13 week or 10 week program for adolescents
  • Prism – 13 week or 10 week program for single parents and step-parents (it is recommended that parents and children take RAINBOWS and PRISM concurrently when available)
  • SunBeams – 13 week or 10 week program for pre-schoolers

For further information about RAINBOWS, go to http://www.rainbows.ca/index.php or www.rainbows.org

RAINBOWS Programs are sequentially based across age groups, covering twelve core topics:

  • Self
  • Feelings
  • Divorce/Death/Loss/Grief
  • Transitions and Changes
  • Angers and Hurts
  • Fears and Worries
  • Family
  • Belonging
  • Step-family
  • Acceptance
  • Coping Tools
  • Reaching Out