By Tiffany Beaudine | Chief Executive Officer, Rainbow Days
Now that we are finally passing through the COVID storm and into the summertime, don’t you want to celebrate? Freedom! Finally! Going out to eat with friends. Sending your tween or teen off to summer camp or their first job. Preparing your family for a much-needed vacation. Even if your work schedule remains the same, the summer season brings joy and fun activities for you and your family. It’s all rainbows and roses. Or is it?
As I begin to prepare my own three kids for summer camps, first jobs, dance recitals and other activities, I continue to think about the children and youth in our community who do not have the same opportunities. As I think about how my own family has struggled over the past year academically, socially and emotionally, it’s hard not to think about those families who do not have the same resources we do or who are unable to access much-needed services.
The North Texas community is filled with affluence, opportunity and advantages, which makes for a good life for many of us. However, it is also filled with hardship, poverty and challenges for many other families.
Did you know before the pandemic occurred, one out of six kids in Dallas was living at or below the poverty line?
According to the Children’s Health Beyond ABC Report from 2019, one of the most pressing issues facing children and youth in our community is mental health. Again, this data was before the pandemic. I can only imagine what next year’s report will contain, as national experts continue to report that anxiety and stress are at an all-time high for today’s adolescents.
How has stress affected you and your family this year? Do you plan to put it on the shelf until the school year begins again, or do you have a solid strategy for how to navigate and work through things differently this summer?
And then what about those who are under-resourced? What can we do to bridge this gap for families who are underserved? How can we make sure that all children and youth in our community have access to the same opportunities and resources we would like for our own children?
One solution to this problem is through organizations like Rainbow Days.
Rainbow Days is a local nonprofit organization that, for 39 years, has been providing evidence-based social-emotional learning programs for children and youth experiencing adversity in the Dallas community.
By delivering support groups, presentations, mentored programs, summer camps and tangible services directly to at-risk students in schools, shelters and other community-based sites, Rainbow Days creates meaningful connections with children and youth. By eliminating barriers to service and delivering high-quality programs led by trained staff facilitators, Rainbow Days is making mental, emotional and behavioral health services accessible to all.
Rainbow Days’ core service, The Curriculum-Based Support Group (CBSG®) Program, teaches five major messages that focus on self-awareness, social competence, relationship skills, responsible decision-making skills and instilling in children and youth a sense of purpose and hope for the future. When students learn these skills, they are better able to cope with stress, manage anger, show empathy for others, maintain healthy friendships and set goals for a positive future.
This summer, Rainbow Days will serve over 600 at-risk students in South Dallas through social-emotional learning programs and over 600 homeless children through unique summer camp programs and a huge back-to-school event to wrap up the summer. Through these services, children and youth will build positive relationships with caring adult mentors, discover new gifts and talents, and develop skills that will help them be successful, all while creating lasting, fun summer memories.
If you are looking for ways to improve your family’s social-emotional health and connect in meaningful ways with your tween or teen this summer, visit our website and social media channels, including our podcast, for free resources. There are also ways to serve together this summer through upcoming volunteer and donation opportunities listed on the website.
Last, but not least, get encouragement. If you would like to be inspired by a well-known speaker and author, Josh Shipp, on how you can “Talk to Your Teenage Human” (his book available on Amazon), then I encourage you to check out our Pot of Gold Luncheon. Rainbow Days’ 24th annual Pot of Gold Luncheon & Auction will be an in-person and livestreamed event on Friday, June 25, at the Omni Dallas and will feature keynote speaker Josh Shipp, who will share his personal story of growing up in the foster care system. In-person tickets are $200 and livestream tickets are $100. The outstanding Silent Auction is all online with bidding already open and all proceeds benefiting Rainbow Days. It’s a great opportunity to inspire yourself this summer as a parent and support an extremely worthwhile cause.
As you and your family continue to enjoy your summer, instead of stopping to smell the roses, I want to encourage you to stop and see the rainbows. As you know, rainbows only occur after the rain. It takes both the storm and the sun to produce a rainbow. All of us have been through a host of storms this past year, but where have you seen silver linings? Where have you seen the promise of hope? How have the storms allowed you to have an opportunity to build meaningful connections with your child?
Look for the rainbows this summer. Point them out to your tween or teen. Enjoy them together. Brighter days are ahead.
Editor’s Note: If you are looking for ways to improve your family’s social-emotional health and connect in meaningful ways with your tween or teen this summer, or to volunteer or get tickets to the upcoming Pot of Gold Luncheon THIS FRIDAY, JUNE 25, visit www.RainbowDays.org.
Good Life Family is a proud Media Sponsor of Rainbow Days.