Are you convinced that one person cannot make a difference, that it is not your responsibility, that there simply is not enough time in your day, or that you cannot benefit from volunteering? This five-part series of blog posts discusses five reasons you why you should volunteer and how you can benefit from it. Along the way, you will be introduced to five heartfelt local organizations and the stories behind their beginnings.
Riah’s Rainbow is one organization whose story tugs on the heartstrings of anyone who has been touched by the life of a child and gives us the strength and courage to overcome any obstacle.
The inspiration behind Riah’s Rainbow lies with Mariah Klein, a bubbly four-year-old who although is no longer with us, continues to touch lives.
On April 27, 2007, Mariah was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), one of the rarest and most devastating forms of pediatric tumors. Throughout her fight Mariah found solace in her artwork. Mariah’s parents, Mike and Micki Klein, started Riah’s Rainbow in honor of Mariah and her love for artwork.
“After she passed, we wanted every child to feel the comfort Mariah did while creating art even though she was very sick,” says Micki Klein. “We think when children are happy they heal faster.”
The mission of Riah’s Rainbow is to provide art supplies such as coloring books, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paints, craft items, etc., as well as alternatives such as puzzles or project bags to pediatric patients at local hospitals. Future goals for the organization include recognition in more hospitals, a grant writer to generate more funds, acquiring five more hospitals to serve in the next three years, and obtaining the staff/volunteers to handle the fundraising events.
Riah’s Rainbow has several fundraising events throughout the year, with about 15 consistent volunteers who are present at every event. Their largest event is the Annual Miles for Smiles Family Fun Event, which takes place on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at Meadowbrook Park. There is a 5K run, 2.5 mile walk, and a variety of fun and exciting activities for the family. Volunteers are a necessity to help events like this run smoothly.
Globe University-Green Bay students and faculty have volunteered for the Miles for Smiles Family Fun Event for the past several years and plan to volunteer again this year.
Micki Klein says, “Globe is absolutely amazing! The partnership we have had with Globe for the last three years has helped our organization tremendously. It’s gotten our name out to more communities and more people have been touched by Mariah. We are so very grateful for the students and for their unwavering commitment to our organization.”
For more information on Riah’s Rainbow, events, volunteering, hosting a drop box, or other ways you can contribute visit www.riahsrainbow.org or contact Micki at firstname.lastname@example.org, 920-362-2131, or PO Box 253, Suamico, WI 54173.
Written by Ashley Scott, Lead Global Citizenship Instructor, Globe University-Green Bay