Published September 21, 2006
Those who have received a child’s drawing or collage know that children enjoy expressing themselves artistically and not always through words in the best of times.
So one can imagine how frustrating it is for them to be asked to articulate their feelings about their parents’ divorce or about a parent who is incarcerated or who recently died.
When children experience such changes, it’s important to help them effectively recognize and share their thoughts and emotions. Rainbows is a program that provides an outlet for elementary schoolers who are going through extraordinarily difficult times to interact with peers who are going through the same unfamiliar experiences.
A 13-week session will begin in October at the Cathedral of Christ the King.
“When we begin a weekly session, we ask the kids to share what’s new since we last met. Right then they connect over either changes in their daily routines or similar uncomfortable feelings,” said Catherine Gammon, a Rainbows facilitator.
What’s more, while the children are together, their parents are participating in Prism peer counseling sessions. Through the exchanges in Rainbows and Prism sessions, led by Junior League of Atlanta volunteers, children at risk and their parents provide support for one another.
The children in Rainbows, who are commonly referred to the program by their school counselor or church, welcome the opportunity to freely share about their anger and confusion. Under Rainbows’ “confidentiality agreement,” the children know what goes on in the room stays in the room. Over the 13-week program, they come to understand that they are not alone, that they can turn to others for strength, and that they will adjust to their new lives.
The Junior League of Atlanta members will lead one-hour weekly Rainbows sessions for children in kindergarten through fifth grade at the Cathedral of Christ the King, 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta. Volunteers are trained and work from a curriculum.
The program is free and open to any family in metro Atlanta. A parent information meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Cathedral. The program begins on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. and ends promptly each Tuesday night at 8 p.m.
Families can register by contacting Shannon Georgecink at email@example.com or by contacting Anne Boschinski at the Cathedral of Christ the King at (404) 267-3694 or firstname.lastname@example.org.