Rainbows Programme - StOPS

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Rainbows Programme

Meet the Parents > Useful Information for Parents


Peer support for children who grieve among us and so often unnoticed.


Rainbows is a peer support programme designed initially to help children who had lost a parent through death or separation.  However it has been found to be very effective also with those mourning the death of a sibling or grandparent.


Much is written about adult grief.  Stages of grieving are well established and recognised in bereavement counselling.  What was not so recognised until recently is that children go through the very same stages of grief.  However, the adults who have lost a partner through death or separation are generally so caught up in their own pain that they are unable to reach out and help their own children who are hurting as well.

The Rainbows Programme is a way of providing emotional stability which the children need to verbalise their feelings.  Trained adult facilitators, with caring hearts, provide the guidance and nurturing and a secure place to grieve so that healing and acceptance may take place.

The purpose of the Rainbows Programme is:-

* To help children meet new friends, who have shared similar experiences to themselves.

* To have trained caring adult facilitators present for the children while they sort through and understand their grief.
* To help children come to a healthy acceptance of what has happened in their family.
* to develop some coping skills to help them deal with the changes in their lives

Rainbows, Malahide.

The Rainbows Support Programme was set up in St. Oliver Plunkett School in September 1996.   The programme lasts for 12 weeks with one session of 40-45 minutes each Tuesday, directly after school.  A trained adult facilitator is attached to each group, whose job it is to provide guidance and nurturing in a safe place and to facilitate the children to come to healing and acceptance of the loss they have suffered.  The real gift of the programme comes from the sharing which takes place among the children themselves.  Each session has a theme, an activity, a discussion, a prayer and a blessing.   Working through the programme it is hoped that children will be helped to verbalise their feelings, build a stronger sense of self-esteem, dispel their guilt and anger and rise above the changes in their family, so that they will come to know that they are no longer alone, because they have now met with other children who are facing the same situation as themselves.

The Rainbow Programme is founded on the belief that children are a most precious gift from God.  Children who have experienced loss in their young lives, need love, guidance and understanding, in order to help them come through this most difficult time.  With the right kind of help it is possible for children from one-parent families to grow into healthy, responsible and emotionally stable adults.

How to find out more

The Malahide Rainbows Support Group which is community based is a voluntary organisation co-ordinated by Ms. Una Keating.  If you would like more information the office can put you in touch with Una.







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