RAINBOWS ESTABLISHES PEER SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE GRIEVING FAMILY LOSSES AS A RESULT OF DIVORCE, SEPARATION, ABANDONMENT OR DEATH.
The purpose of the peer support groups is to provide an opportunity for children to share their feelings in a safe and accepting environment, supported by compassionate adults who are trained as group facilitators. The aim of the age-directed Rainbows materials is to furnish the participants with:
• An understanding of their new family unit.
• To assist in building a stronger sense of self-esteem.
• To direct them towards a healthy resolution of the changes that have taken place in their personal lives.
HOW DOES RAINBOWS WORK?
When there is a profound family loss, even the most caring parents can be immersed in their own pain. There is a real need for caring adults to be present for the children in these families. Rainbows facilitators are there to help them work through their grief, provide a safe place for them to meet new friends who have shared similar experiences, and to identify and appropriately express their feelings.
Here’s what happens in the Rainbows program:
- Listening: through listening to one another, children learn that other families also experience change.
- Sharing: through sharing with one another, children learn that there is help and comfort available and that healing can occur.
- Helping: Through helping one another, children affirm their own abilities and goodness and enhance their own sense of self-esteem. Children come to understand that each change in life can be an opportunity for a new beginning and for growth.
WHO CAN JOIN RAINBOWS AND WHAT DOES IT COST?
Rainbows is offered to all area children ages 4 through eighth grade. There is no fee for the Rainbows program, which is fully sponsored by the Ridgewood YMCA. Participants receive free YMCA Program memberships.
HOW IS RAINBOWS RUN?
Rainbows is a 13-week session program. Children meet on Thursdays evenings from 6:00PM-7:00pm in small groups with children their own age. At the end of the session, there is a special “Celebrate Me Days.” The group facilitator follows the Rainbows curriculum and uses Rainbows materials such as journals, storybooks and group activities.
The children participate in arts & crafts activities, play games and learn about one another and themselves. Activities are designed to initiate sharing of experiences and feelings, understanding and defining of terms, recognizing and making choices of coping strategies and positive response to change.
The format for Rainbows meetings includes:
- Gathering: The first meeting allows facilitators and children to get to know each other. Children then begin subsequent meetings by sharing something that happened during the past week. Gathering is a time to reacquaint, share what’s currently happening and bring up special issues.
- Focus: To focus on each meeting’s topic, children are asked to read aloud or to themselves from their individual journals.
- Connecting: Each topic has either a personal/group activity or a personal/group project associated with it. This allows the children to “connect” their feelings with their loss. It is during the activity or game playing that the “real discussion” takes place.
- Reflection: Time to summarize the meeting’s topic and bring everyone to closure.
For more information please contact Megan Heller at 201.444.5600 ext 375 or email [email protected]