Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Weathering the Storm with Rainbows

Published Fall 2003 in The Steward’s Review, quarterly magazine for the Diocese of Belleville, Ill.rainbow_clipart_5


Sitting at a small table in a school cafeteria, approximately 10 students gather to talk. One student expresses anger, another expresses disbelief, while a third says she is finally at peace. Though their feelings drift from one extreme to the next, all of these students have one thing in common – they have experienced a significant loss through divorce or death.

Recognizing the need for a program in the Belleville Diocese to help children heal from loss, Rainbows was formed at Holy Trinity with the support of an Annual Bishop’s Appeal Fund for Ministry grant. The program provides children with a confidential forum to express feelings, raise doubts and ask questions about the loss they have experienced and changes in their family environment, such as routine, responsibility and living arrangements.

For Shannon and Amy Hunt, the Rainbows program at Holy Trinity School in Fairview Heights has been a blessing, their mother, Shawn Hunt, said. The weekly meetings helped the girls cope with the loneliness and guilt they were experiencing following their parents’ divorce. “I thought it was really good that the girls had an opportunity to talk to other kids, to feel that they were not alone and know that there were other people they could trust with their feelings besides Al and myself,” Shawn Hunt said.

Al and Shawn Hunt divorced when Shannon and Amy were toddlers and have tried to maintain a working relationship for the sake of the children, but the pain and confusion that often accompanies divorce still affects the girls periodically – more recently when Al received military orders overseas. “Amy, especially, was very angry at the situation we were in and when their dad moved away, that just made it harder,” Shawn Hunt said. “One day when she was in Rainbows something just clicked for her and she realized that this was not her fault.”

According to Diane Britten, coordinator of the Rainbows program at Holy Trinity School, Amy and Shannon’s situation is more common than most people think. “There has been a lot of divorce in the past 10 years,” Britten said. “Children need to realize that they are not alone in their feelings – we are here to help and let them know that they have someone to trust.”

At the weekly meetings, each child is encouraged to express their feelings to the group through discussion, journaling and hands-on activities. “Our theme is ‘Weathering the Storm,’” Britten said. “You just have to wait for the Rainbow.”

 – Shannon Philpott


July 16, 2009 - Posted by | Magazine Writing | ,

1 Comment »

  1. touching hearts with words.

    Comment by randy malta | July 16, 2009 | Reply

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