JUST RELEASED

Commemorating 50 Years of Empowering Children & Families

Rainbows: 50 years of empowering children and families documents the history of the agency from the very beginning. Linda Weir Enegren shares her memories alongside many board members, staff, families and volunteers. It’s a book you will want to read cover to cover.

50 Year Celebration

We’re celebrating Rainbows’
50th Birthday

There’s something special about a birthday, especially for children. The party, the candles, the cake, and getting to share all of that with those who are special to you: that’s why we’re celebrating Rainbows’ 50th Birthday all year long in 2022. It’s our chance to celebrate with our employees, the children and families we serve, our Board of Directors and the communities we provide services to each and every day.

Celebrating 50 years has been so much fun!

#50YEARs50days

Social Media Campaign

In honor of Rainbows’ 50th Birthday, we’re sharing past photos, family stories, memories, and more over 50 days on our social media channels. You might even see someone you know!

Highlight: Day 1

Day 1: Who wants to celebrate? In honor of Rainbows’ 50th Birthday, we’re sharing past photos, family stories, memories, and more over the next 50 days.
“If there is no beginning, there can be no hope.”
-Linda Weir Enegren, Founder Rainbows United, Inc. 1972

Highlight: Day 4

Day 4: Linda Weir was 23 years-old when she founded Rainbows United, in 1972. Her belief that children with special needs could learn, grow and thrive within their own families still motivates our passionate, dedicated employees and volunteers today. #50years50days #RainbowsUnited #TBT

Highlight: Day 13

Day 13: Don Hall was the radio voice of Rainbows that year, as he had been since 1974 when he started at KEYN radio. Donating his time and talents as a member of the Blarney Breakfast planning committee, Don could make a Rainbows’ elevator speech at the drop of a hat, and he dropped one often.
“When you think about the Blarney Breakfast, you automatically think of Don Hall. His warm heart, creative spirit, and passion for kids helped shape the Blarney Breakfast into what it is today,” said Margaret Shook in her role as Chi Epsilon member and Chair of the Blarney Breakfast for many years.
In a great loss to the world, Don was tragically killed on April 27, 2020 when a driver crashed into his car at the intersection of Kellogg and Rock. Rest in Peace Don Hall, Rainbows will never forget you.

Highlight: Day 17

Day 17:The Ritchie family have been Rainbows’ supporters since our beginning. “Mr. Ritchie helped the school when it needed him the most. Over the years, the Ritchie family did many nice things for Rainbows, even when they were going through tough times themselves. They helped create bright, fun, and safe spaces for kids,” said a Rainbows child. You can read all about Proctor Ritchie and his remarkable life in a book about him entitled “I Didn’t Want to be A Bother.” A new forward by his nephew Hale Ritchie has been added in honor of Rainbows 50th Birthday. #50years50days #RainbowsUnited

Download your FREE copy of the “I DIDN’T WANT TO BE A BOTHER, The Incredible Story of Proctor Ritchie” 
Want to read a hard copy? Visit Wichita Public Library and check out a copy.

To view all #50years50days social media posts click here
50th Birthday stories may be viewed here.
To view all videos shared with the #50years50days social media campaign click here.

50 year seal

We were honored to partner with local design agency Gardner Design and have a fun new 50th Birthday seal to use along with our logo this year. You’ll find this milestone mark already in use on our website, our stationery and many of our materials. If you look closely you’ll also note that our tagline for the year reads “50 years of empowering children and families.” We believe this tagline embodies the last 50 years and provides inspiration for the next 50 years.

Commemorative book

Our Board of Directors initiated the creation of a commemorative book documenting Rainbows’ history.  A local writer is interviewed donors, staff, and friends of Rainbows, both past and present, to craft a beautifully written and designed keepsake in honor of Rainbows’ humble beginnings and continued dedication to children with special needs and their families. We are excited to have the book the beginning of November. You can order you copy here.

Community celebration

The community, families, employees, and Board members celebrated Friday, June 24 at one of Wichita’s newest gathering spaces: Wind Surge Stadium. This event provided fun for everyone touched by Rainbows throughout the years. Families had opportunities to share success stories of their children throughout the years, employees reconnected and most of all thank you to donors and the community for their support.

Limited edition apparel

Our online store features new apparel items sporting the milestone logo and tagline, now available through our website. We’re excited to offer a unique range of items to commemorate this birthday milestone year. You’ll find everything from polos to onesies and bags to hats available for purchase here.

Visual historical timeline

With so many milestones, we wanted to highlight them in a visual format. Here’s a look at our historical timeline. It’s wonderful to look back and see how Rainbows has grown through serving 5 children with multiple disabilities in the basement of Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church to 98% of services delivered in the community or family homes to more than 4,230 children birth through age 21 annually. That means nearly 62,000 children received services in the last 50 years.

On this visual timeline, you’ll see when services were added, how numbers of staff and children served grew, as well as several locations Rainbows has been in over the years. It’s a trip down memory lane for many and an historical account of an amazing evolution for others. A solid, strong foundation for what is to come.

Share your Rainbows’ story
Do you have a Rainbows’ story to tell? We’d love to hear how Rainbows’ services impacted your child’s life and your family, or funny stories you tell over and over again about your time working at Rainbows or serving as a volunteer. We want to hear them all. Reach out to us on social media, by email Meastman@rui.org or phone 316.258.9014 to Michelle Eastman, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

You can read Megan’s story here.

You can read Sophia’s story here.

You can read Zane’s story here.

You can read Laura and Leo’s story here.

You can read Peter’s story here.

You can read Sam’s story here.

You can read Brayden’s story here.

You can read Brandon’s story here.

Ways to give

Honor Rainbows 50th birthday by donating here. No amount is to small to help make a difference in a child’s life!

We’ll be sharing photos from the past on Facebook and Instagram all year long with stories of children who have received services throughout the years. It’s quite a celebration and we’re so happy you can join us!