Peer Support for Loss (Rainbows Program)

The Rainbows program is a peer support program for students dealing with issues related to loss in their lives. Our Board is proud to provide this program to students and families for the past 25 years. During this time, we have:

  • Supported nearly 6000 students; and
  • Trained over 1200 volunteer school staff to lead and support students on their journey.

Benefits to students

The Rainbows Program supports students coping with loss for various reasons including:

  • Divorce;
  • Separation; or
  • Death in their family.

The peer support program allows elementary and secondary students to normalize their loss through healthy discussions in a confidential and non-judgmental environment. The program offers students an opportunity to share their feelings in an accepting environment with their peers while supported by trained and compassionate adults.

How often does the program run?

The Rainbows Program meets once a week for 12 weeks during the school year. If you are interested in learning more about the program email Rainbows or speak to your principal.


Support provided through the Rainbows Program is made available through our partnerships with:

  • Durham Catholic School Councils;
  • Parishes;
  • Administration and dedicated school staff at the Durham Catholic District School Board; and
  • Rainbows National Office.


Our students, families and staff all rave about the benefits of Rainbows peer support. Below are comments from individuals who have been helped by the program.

  • "The Rainbows program is amazing! It has helped my daughter express her feelings and has helped her through this crisis.  It has made her a stronger, bright young girl.  I am truly blessed that this program was available to help her."  -  A grateful mom
  • "I used to be afraid to share, but Rainbows helped me and now I feel better inside."  -  8 year-old girl
  • "It really helped to have people listen and to have a special place to talk about my feelings." - 14 year-old girl 
  • "The first time I facilitated a meeting, a girl came up to me after the meeting, threw her arms around me and sobbed.  She told me, "Thank You!  No one has ever asked me how I'm doing or what I think."  I feel like Rainbows gives a voice to all of the children."  - Staff Facilitator
  • "I could talk about things that I couldn't before Rainbows.  I got my bad feelings out." - 9 year-old boy

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