Rainbow Girls: Community Service Shines Bright
Jun 28, 2018 05:14PM
There was no missing the girls—four young ladies in floating gowns, looking like fairy tale princesses waiting to be whisked to a ball. Sisters Sydney, Emma, and Kenna Warney, along with Ainseley Kay, had dressed up to talk about Rainbow Girls, a nonprofit service organization for young women ages 11-20. The formal attire is standard at many Rainbow events, including meetings, a requirement the girls say they like.
Rainbow—officially the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls—was founded in 1922 to foster self-confidence and leadership skills in girls via service to their community. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, actress Lily Tomlin, and former Senator Olympia Snowe have all been members.
The Folsom-based Natoma Assembly, to which the Warney sisters and Kay belong, is the largest chapter in California with 26 members. Though originally created for daughters of Masons, the organization now welcomes young women of all backgrounds and beliefs. “Service is the cornerstone of Rainbow,” says Katy Warney, who, along with Suzanne Kay, accompanied their daughters. “I love the service we provide. Kids nowadays don’t have enough avenues to serve.”
Rainbow Girls volunteer at both state and local levels. Each year, California Rainbow chooses one nonprofit that all assemblies fund-raise to support. Last year, which concluded in April, the members statewide contributed more than $60,000 to Families Forward, a Southern California organization that helps empower families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Locally, the Natoma Assembly performs an exhausting schedule of activities—a partial list that includes mulching at Folsom High School for Community Service Day; raising money and collecting toys for Shriners Hospitals for Children; marching in the Folsom Veterans Day Parade and cooking breakfast afterward at the local Masonic lodge; preparing monthly dinners at the lodge; helping clean creeks; filling hundreds of prize eggs at the Folsom Eggstravaganza; and running craft booths at local events.
Throughout their community service, Rainbow Girls are being trained in leadership and self-confidence. To that end, the girls run their meetings, progressing through officers with such titles as Faith, Hope, Charity, and—in place of president—Worthy Advisor. Each group also has a Mother Advisor and adult advisory board who mentors and coaches the girls, providing guidance and support as they plan and execute projects like membership events, charitable fund-raisers, and social activities.
Faith, hope, and charity are also among the list of values Rainbow teaches. Others include love, the beauty of nature, patriotism, fidelity, and service. To help build confidence and self-respect, the group offers public speaking opportunities, leadership training, and scholarships to its members. The girls eagerly added a few benefits of their own. “I would never have met one of my best friends if I didn’t have Rainbow,” Ainseley says, indicating Sydney, who added that she liked “the ability to serve our community and give back.” gocarainbow.org/assembly/natoma-90; facebook.com/folsomiorg
By Linda Holderness