Rainbow of God’s Mercy Touches Children
By Sister Maria Rosario G.
Every Wednesday afternoon when the dismissal bell rings, 12 students from kindergarten to 8th grade proceed to their small groups to meet with their teacher facilitators. They are our typical students, except that they are hurting inside because of the loss of a parent due to death, divorce, custody battles or deployment overseas.
This special program, Rainbows for All Children, fosters healing among children grieving a loss from a life-altering crisis. It was introduced to our school, Santa Barbara Catholic School, in Dededo, Guam a few years ago. We have a growing number of students who are in need of healing and support. Our trained teacher facilitators work with the children in a safe, caring environment to help them navigate the painful issues they face.
As an educator, I realize that it is important to reach out to our students who are dealing with trauma and grief at a young age. These children are vulnerable and are at a higher risk of becoming distracted in their studies, socially withdrawn and engaging in aggressive behaviors. I am so happy to see these students becoming more sociable and focused on their studies and they look forward excitedly to their weekly sessions. Parents have also expressed their own gratitude for the program. One parent shared that she didn’t know how to help her children with their emotional needs because she was also grieving due to a painful divorce.
As a Sister of Mercy, I see the connection with our charism of reaching out to the vulnerable in our society, especially women and children, as our founder Catherine McAuley did. Above all, we try to share God’s unconditional love and compassion and bring the sunshine back into the children’s lives after going through a storm of hurt, fear, and grief.
When the dismissal bell rings every Wednesday afternoon and I see these students head toward their afterschool session, I smile and whisper a prayer for all our students and their caring facilitators. At Santa Barbara Catholic School, the rainbow of God’s Mercy is making a positive impact and a difference in the lives of God’s precious children.
Caption: Using puppets to connect with students in Santa Barbara Catholic School’s Rainbows program.