While growing up, Suzy dreamed of being a good wife and mother. She never considered the possibility of divorce, and was devastated when her marriage ended. Suzy hurt so much, she was relieved when friends told her there was no need to worry about her kids. "They're resilient. They'll bounce back," she was told.
But soon, Suzy realized her sons were hurting as much as she was. She tried to locate a support group for them -- similar to the adult group she had joined -- but found nothing. Working with other concerned single parents, Suzy began organizing weekend retreats for children in single-parent and step-family homes. In three years, more than 800 youth benefited from the retreats. Suzy knew more had to be done. She began working on a formal curriculum -- the foundation of RAINBOWS -- for children who had experienced family loss. The curriculum was designed to provide grieving children of elementary school age with an understanding of their new family unit, to help build a sense of self esteem and to aid them in accepting the changes in their families.
In 1983, three Chicago area private schools piloted the Rainbows curriculum. Since then, RAINBOWS has served nearly one million youth throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and other foreign countries. Now the nation's largest not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to helping families cope with loss, RAINBOWS offers specialized curricula for children (Rainbows), adolescents (Spectrum), single and stepparents (Prism) and young adults (Kaleidoscope). Recently RAINBOWS also launched the Corporate Service Program for businesses seeking to help employees and their families impacted by loss.
Today, remarried and a stepmother, Suzy continues her work on behalf of grieving children and adults. Through television and radio, newspaper articles and public appearances across the country, she speaks to parents, educators and organizations about grief and the experiences of family members during crisis, offering guidance, insight and hope. For her efforts, Suzy has been honored by the media and distinguished national service organizations.
Suzy Yehl Marta and RAINBOWS have been featured in articles in numerous magazines and newspapers including: Ladies Home Journal, Catholic Digest, Chicago Parent Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Newark Star Ledger, Atlanta Journal/Constitution and Chicago Sun Times. Copies of the articles are available upon request.
Revised January 2003
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