Rainbows for all Children: A Life Changing Experience
Catherine Kent is a student at Loyola University Chicago and a Rainbows for All Children Contributor. Here is how Rainbows has made an impact in her life:
When I was three years old, my parents made the decision to get divorced. I didn’t understand and I was scared of how this would change things in my life. I found myself constantly asking questions like: Why did this happen? Is this my fault? I couldn’t find the answers to these questions and I felt as if I never would.
I started my first year of kindergarten at age five and I was still pondering these questions. My feelings of sadness and confusion quickly turned to jealousy, as I was the only one in my class who had divorced parents. I wanted to be just like everyone else and there was nothing I could do to change it, so I became angry. I struggled for all of kindergarten and I didn’t think that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I was right about there being no light, but there was Rainbows. I started participating in the Rainbows for all Children program. Every Wednesday, I ate lunch with my first grade teacher and three other children in the school who all had divorced parents too. I wasn’t alone and that made me optimistic, my teacher taught us a lot about how to have a positive outlook. I was still angry though and I wasn’t the only one who was, my teacher told us that we can use that anger to our advantage by channeling it in a healthy way. My solution was to use it while playing soccer and I wasn’t aware of how successful this would make me one day. After years of using these emotions to my advantage, I achieved my biggest dream: being a division one soccer player.
Over the years Rainbows was the stability in my life, a safe haven where I could express myself freely without feeling like the odd man out. I became close friends with everyone in my group and my teacher guided us to become aware of the fact that our parents did this because they were unhappy and happiness is the most important thing in life. By second grade I was finally able to wrap my head around why my parents got a divorce and I stopped blaming them and I stopped blaming myself. During second grade my friend’s parents got a divorce and joined our Rainbows group, I knew what she was going through and I tried my best to lend a helping hand. I told her that it wasn’t her fault, I knew that is what I needed to hear and I hoped that it would help her too. We went on to become best friends and we faced this challenge together, I am forever grateful for that.
Sometimes there were rough days because I couldn’t see both of my parents everyday, this taught me to appreciate the time I do have with both of them. I became aware of why I felt the emotions I did and I felt supported by my peers and my family. The progress that I made throughout elementary school is second to none and I excelled in the classroom and in all aspects of my life
Recently, I was asked what the hardest thing I have gone through in my life was and if I would have done anything differently while I struggled with it. The answer was simple, my parents divorce was the hardest period of my life and no I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t have experienced Rainbows for all Children if my parents stayed together and the program taught me that I am never alone and that often times there are other people going through similar experiences and by reaching out to them and talking about it you can find comfort. It also gave me ways to cope, how to stay optimistic when facing diversity, and it gave me key tools that lead to success and happiness. My parents getting a divorce made me who I am and I love who I am, thank you Rainbows for all Children.