Coleen Jennison, Board Member

Bringing the Rainbows' mission to life

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded.”  Though the world is pretty topsy-turvy these days, to say the least, there has been an opportunity to slow down and have the time to reflect on those things that we hold most significant.

During these unprecedented times, people have experienced great sadness, but also great joy. There have been some who have lost loved ones, and others who have welcomed new babies.  People who have had the time to teach their child to ride a bike and others that have worried about their children who have been unable to receive their much-needed services.  Not those served by Rainbows.  Rainbows staff won’t even let a pandemic stand in the way of serving their kiddos.  They’ve adapted, pivoted, done whatever it takes to deliver.  They are telecommuting, providing virtual therapies and greatly easing the minds of parents.

When I joined the board almost five years ago, it was because the mission resonated with me.  “Rainbows United enhances the lives of children with special needs and their families by bringing together community resources and providing customized services.”  For 48 years now, “Rainbows has brought potential to life by elevating the uniqueness of children and their families.”  Five years later, it’s about how I have witnessed that mission brought to life. 

Simply put, I think Rainbows brings hope to families who need it the most. I believe the services truly change the lives of children.   My fellow board members always have the mission top of mind and act accordingly.  The staff is so completely committed to their work – they always find a way, no matter what, to do the right thing for their clients.  Deb Voth calls that the “Rainbows Way.”  What a wonderful world it would be indeed if we all did things the Rainbows Way. 

So, if Ralph is at all right about the definition of success, the people of Rainbows are the most successful people I know.  To play even the smallest role in delivering that hope, is truly an honor.