“For the kids.”
When I started volunteering with Rainbows United as a member of the organization’s communications committee, that was my reason. It seemed obvious. Rainbows does so much to help improve the lives of children. Helping a child struggling with speech learn to communicate. Teaching a toddler with behavior issues the critical social skills they need to play and make friends. Providing a child with the therapy she needs to finally learn to walk. These are everyday breakthroughs at Rainbows.
As I became a more involved and informed volunteer, accepting an invitation to serve on the board of directors, I realized that there was something else that made Rainbows a special place. It’s not simply that they help children; they help families.
That’s an important distinction, because when a child has disabilities, developmental delays or mental health issues, the weight of the struggle is shared by their family. When parents see their children falling behind, when the words don’t come as expected or the fine motor skills aren’t developing, the worry, frustration and anxiety can quickly lead to feelings of hopelessness. And that is a scary place for every person in the family.
Rainbows structures their therapies to provide critical support to children and their families. It is that holistic approach the leads to amazing, sustainable outcomes. It unlocks the potential in a child and equips parents with the knowledge and skills to nurture them through the growing process.
This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because the people at Rainbows, from the leadership team to frontline therapists and administrative personnel are all contributing to a culture that puts families first. The organization is not comfortable with the status quo, but rather seeks to continually improve. This is evident in Rainbows’ recent strategic planning and technology improvement initiatives which are aimed at enhancing services and filling vital gaps so that all families in Sedgwick and Butler counties in need of services can get the best care available.
So, now when I’m asked why I support Rainbows United, I have a different answer informed by a deeper understanding of the comprehensive level of caring that characterizes every single program.
I answer, “For the families.”
-written by John DeCesaro, a Rainbows’ Board Member