At South School in Timaru, children know that the “Rainbow Room” is a special
and safe place they can visit anytime to chat, work on art or creative projects, have
some quiet time or even have a go at playing an electric organ.
“We want everyone to walk out of the Rainbow Room with something positive,”
says Family Works SWiS worker Diane.
“When times are hard, the positive messages they receive here may just about be
the only ones they are getting.”
The Family Works Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) works alongside children
identified as at risk, or experiencing loss, grief, abuse, bullying, parental
separation, emotional or behavioural issues.
SWiS workers also work to support environments at school, like the Rainbow
Room, where projects, programmes and even time to simply “hang out” can make
an enormous difference to children experiencing challenging times.
In addition to the support children and families can receive from their SWiS
worker, other positive connections with lasting impacts have also grown from
the Rainbow Room, says Diane. A local professional woman was inspired to
complete respite carer training and now provides mentor support to a child she
first met in the Rainbow Room while visiting Diane. The pair enjoy “girl time” and
outings together, with a trip to “Disney on Ice” a much anticipated highlight.
Local artist Wayne Patrick volunteered coaching time to help pupils paint the
Rainbow Room mural. Wayne now provides free art classes to several children
who demonstrated a genuine interest in art.