New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
I Am, I Can, I Have, I Will, I Believe

In Spring 2019, Partners in Prevention (PIP) hosted a Rainbow Days training for local school personnel at the North Bergen Library. We presented this training to ensure North Bergen youth and their families have a support system in place in response to trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The Rainbow Days Curriculum-Based Support Group (CBSG) program is a multicultural and evidence-based preventive intervention. The program is designed for youth ages 4-17, whose situations, attitudes and behaviors place them at elevated risk for future behavioral and health problems including substance abuse, delinquency and violence.

By increasing resiliency and providing support and protective factors to our community, we are reducing the traumatic impact of adverse childhood experiences.

Alongside the North Bergen High School Director of Counseling Theresa Rabelo and the Trans4m Center, which serves as the training division of the Rainbow Days’ organization, we coordinated this event. In addition to PIP prevention educators, 15 guidance counselors from the North Bergen school district participated.

The curriculum-based support group training (CBSG) – also known as Rainbow Days- was conducted by Kathy Daley, a Consulting Trainer for The Trans4m Center, the training division of Rainbow Days, Inc. It included: theoretical foundations of the program, risk and protective factors assessed by the CBSG; how to implement the program in our community, the role of the CBSG program facilitator and opportunities to practice facilitator skills. The purpose of this training was to prepare prevention professionals and school counselors to fully implement Rainbow Days with fidelity, and to ensure the North Bergen youth and their families have a support system in place in response to trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Learn more on the Rainbow Days CBSG program web site.

“By increasing resiliency and providing support and protective factors to our community, we are reducing the traumatic impact of adverse childhood experiences,” said Ms. Rabelo.

Program Purpose/Mission
The mission of Rainbow Days is to help children and youth in adversity build coping skills, resilience to create a positive future, and to stay free of drugs, violence and crime. Rainbow Days’ participants learn the effects of childhood trauma are psychological, physical and cannot be underestimated. Early trauma can alter brain development, which increases the risk for chronic disease later in life, depression, premature birth, and decrease overall life expectancy by almost 20 years – compared those who do not suffer from childhood trauma.

North Bergen Population
We chose to bring the Rainbow Days CBSG to the North Bergen due to rising external and internal stressors faced by our community.  North Bergen is predominantly a Hispanic community dealing with the effects of conversations and policy regarding immigration. A school counselor at the training said one of her main concerns is how to help students dealing with loss of a family member through deportation. Deportation has numerous detrimental impacts on families and communities—children can demonstrate numerous emotional and behavioral challenges, such as eating and sleeping changes, anxiety, sadness, anger, and withdrawal. A life experience such as the loss of a close relative due to death or separation, can produce the same neurological effects in the brain as do combat, rape, or abuse.

“It’s important for communities to have programs in place that champion families’ specific needs – a place where they feel safe to come forward with their issues,” said Ms. Rabelo. Through this new program, we aim to touch the lives of those most affected and provide support and stability.

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Project
Author
Yaisa Coronado
Organization
Partners in Prevention