Rainbow House Receives Funding Grant

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COLUMBIA - A local teen shelter said it has received a large funding grant to help it protect the city's at-risk and homeless youth.

The grant will pay about $180,000 per year for the next five years to help Rainbow House fund its house for teens and young adults.

"The funding will allow us to provide transitional living services for up to 18 months for youth ages 16 to 21," employee Claire Slama said.

The funding may enable Rainbow House to start looking for a bigger location, she said. The current house holds up to six people at a time.

Slama said she believes the house gives the at-risk youth of the city a second chance to make their lives better.

"When we allow youth to come into the program, and learn skills, finish school, get a job, and start maybe start working through some of the issues of their childhood," Slama said. "It really sets them up for success."

Slama said Rainbow House works its residents on "life skills like creating a budget or developing effective communication to use in the workplace." Once they move out of the house, she said, they can be self-sufficient and productive.

The house provides individual rooms for each person, as well as a kitchen where Rainbow House employees can teach residents to make healthy, simple meals when they live on their own. The house also has a large collection of books and a television for the youth to relax and spend their free time. All the items in the house come from donations.

Because the house operates as a shelter for kids who might come from a bad situation, the location is kept a secret.

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