September 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 81 of 99

GO+DO catalyst Watch NBC 15 News at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23 for more. Rhumba 4 Rainbow will take place Sept. 27, UW campus. Tickets $35-$100. (608) 255-7356 x310. "We really cannot solve these issues unless we face them." –sharyl kato, executive director THE RAINBOW PROJECT Helping area children cope with trauma BY LEIGH MILLS when sharyl kato started taking salsa dance lessons nine years ago, she never would have imagined her two passions would perfectly meld to create an event that raises thousands of dollars for area children and families in need. "I caught the bug! I just loved it so much," explains Kato, the executive director of The Rainbow Project. "Salsa dancing is so uplifting and positive I thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate the success of the clients who are working so hard, to thank our supporters, and really make sure that the community is aware of our mission." And so that same year Kato started dancing, she created Rhumba 4 Rainbow, a fundraiser now in its ninth year. The event features free salsa lessons, a silent auction, celebrity dance contest (yes, I am competing again this year!), awards presentation and attendee dance contest. It brings together the business community, dance community and human services community to celebrate a worthy mission. Since 1980, The Rainbow Project has specialized in trauma and abuse intervention for young children, serving 8,517 kids and 7,272 adult caregivers along the way. Their primary focus is infants through 10 year olds, who Kato says are at the highest risk for developing PTSD from their experiences. "Sometimes it's hard to hear," explains Kato."We really cannot solve these issues unless we face them." The children they serve have often faced issues such as sexual and abuse, neglect, domestic violence, community violence, grief, natural disasters, serious accidents or drug endangered home lives. "We're seeing an epidemic level of need for mental health for young kids who've experienced trauma, " Kato says describing the issue in Dane County."It comes at a time when poverty adds to that whole dynamic. Ironically there is limited funding to respond. That's why these events are so critical." Last year's Rhumba 4 Rainbow event raised $60,000 for The Rainbow Project. Not only did the money help support and serve current clients, it also helped the organization begin to address its long waiting list, which has existed since the day the doors opened. "The bad news is there are all of these needs," she explains. "But the good news is these kids do have the ability to turn things around. There is so much hope, and the earlier we can help them, the better." It must be rewarding work for Kato— she's been at the helm of the agency for all 33 years. And you'll find her on the dance floor doing the salsa or bachata to celebrate the successes of those children, who deserve nothing more than a brighter tomorrows. On a Mission: Lend a hand at area nonprofits The Rainbow Project Attend Rhumba 4 Rainbow or visit its online wish list and donate new or gently used items. Childcare and clerical volunteers are also always needed. 80 brava magazine | september 2013 REACH a Child Make a monetary donation to equip first responders with books that are used to sooth children in crisis. Big Brothers Big Sisters Make a difference in a child's life by volunteering to be a Big Brother or Sister. BBBS also accepts monetary donations or donated tickets to area events.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Brava - September 2013