Yesterday I was having a bad day.

I woke up to a car that wouldn’t start for the second time in a month and learned that my broken TiVo indeed needed to be replaced (sadly deleting all my saved shows and movies). While both problems were rather trivial, they nonetheless triggered a bad day and caused me to be a grump.

So when I headed out of the office to lead Therapeutic Art at Rainbow House, I was still holding on to my bad attitude.

Upon arrival I was greeted by friendly clients in the lobby and excited staff members in the kid’s room, ready for our special activity. A few minutes later, six adorable kids timidly entered the room, not sure what to make of these new strangers in their group session. Encouraged by the social workers and interns at Rainbow House, the children slowly created colorful name tags and shared what their “special name” was; I shared that we did this when I was in elementary school and I was always known as “Emily Elephant”. Smiles spread across everyone’s faces and I couldn’t help but be excited to start the activity.

While watching the volunteers, Rainbow House staff, and students read City Green and create colorful flower pots, my bad attitude faded away.

I remembered that the children at Rainbow House were affected by domestic violence and came to group sessions to learn coping mechanisms and techniques to help stop the cycle of violence. I thought about how difficult and possibly dangerous it must have been for their moms to reach out to Rainbow House for help, making a change in their lives and providing a better environment for their children to grow up. I reflected on how incredibly dedicated the staff at Rainbow House are, working hard to provide meaningful services to youth, teen, and adult clients facing difficult situations. And I realized how honored I should be that the staff of Rainbow House welcome Chicago Cares volunteers each month into their group sessions, embracing the volunteers and appreciating the new character building activities we facilitate with the children.

On my way home that night, while singing to Paul McCartney in my mom’s car, I thought about how grateful I am for the opportunities life has given me.

I smiled thinking about how much fun I had leading at Rainbow House and I knew that my change in attitude was the direct result of an hour of volunteering. Was I a little sad that I didn’t get to watch The Bachelor when I got home that night? Maybe.

But thinking about the amazing clients and staff at Rainbow House gave me a bit more perspective on what is really important.

Today’s post is from Education Coordinator, Emily Collins.
Therapeutic Art at Rainbow House meets on some Tuesdays and Thursdays and is in need of great volunteers and volunteer leaders to continue to support the program.