Rainbows is a Programme developed to help where there has been a death or divorce or any other event in a family.

lt is available to children, young people and adults of all ages and religious denominations.

Rainbows is not counselling or therapy. The programmes are designed to provide support and healing.

The aims of the programmes are to:

Help participants understand their new family unit.

Build a stronger sense of self-esteem.

Understand and accept the feelings they have.

The programme consists of twelve weekly meetings, divided into six-week parts. Each peer group is made up of three to five children. They participate in activities and discussions that focus on particular topics relevant to the changes that happen in families. The meetings deal with the normal feelings that are associated with a stressful event or loss. Each meeting has a structure, a theme, an activity, a discussion and a reflection.

The meeting ranges from thirty to sixty minutes depending on the age of the child.

Confidentiality is stressed as an important part of the group success. Each participant is asked to keep the confidentiality of the group. This means that group members may share only what they said or did, not what anyone else said or did. At the beginning of every meeting, the facilitators promise the participants that their confidence will be kept.

The small support group of children is facilitated by a qualified caring adult, maybe a parent, parish worker, teacher or administrator.

They are specifically trained and provided with the materials needed to effectively carry out

the aim of Rainbows. Athenry Rainbows currently have twelve trained facilitators available at their branch.

The following programmes are available depending on demand in Athenry.

Rainbows Level 1 for children age 4-6 years.

Rainbows Level 2 for children age 7-8 years.

Rainbows Level 3 for children age 9-11 Years

Spectrum Level 1 for teenagers 12-14 years.

Spectrum Level 2 for teenagers 15-16 years.

Spectrum Level 3 for teenagers 17-18 years.

Two groups are commencing after the school midterm in February. One group catering for the under 7s, the other for the under 11s.

Rainbows is a non-profit organization. Families in transition may not be able to afford the additional financial strain such as grief support services. Consequently, there is no charge to the youths participating in the programme.

Money for the programme is provided by the parish, by fundraising and by voluntary organisations.