Local organization celebrates three decades of work

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COLUMBIA — Rainbow House, a Columbia non-profit organization, is commemorating 30 years of work with a celebration at their location on Towne Drive Wednesday.

The celebration will include cake, treats, tours of the facility, and a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Chamber of Commerce.

Rainbow House focuses on helping children who have been abused or neglected, and also helping families who are in crisis.

Rainbow House began in 1986 when found Kathy Hughes, who had been a foster parent for many years, decided to use an old farmhouse and create a safe, home-like environment where sibling groups would be kept together and children would continue in their home school.

By 1992, Rainbow House added a service called Crisis Care, where parents could find placement for their children without other agencies being involved. Crisis Care is meant to relieve parents of the added stress of parenting while going through a crisis like homelessness, unemployment, temporary mental instability, and other issue.

“What sets us apart, I think, is just, we have good roots. The work that Kathy Hughes, our founder, started, I don’t know that I can improve on it, but I certainty want to continue it,” Executive Director Janie Bakutes said.

Rainbow House’s also began the Homeless Youth Program in 2007, which offers a transitional living program for youth ages 16 to 21 and a teen emergency shelter for youth ages 16-18 who are homeless, or at risk for homelessness, due to unfavorable or abusive situations occurring in their current environment.

The non-profit also offers therapy services, parenting classes, support groups, and educational opportunities to learn more about the situations they deal with.

“I want to continue the work that was started 30 years ago. I’m so proud that we have not gone off our mission in 30 years, which is to provide protection for children in crisis,” Bakutes said.

To learn more about the organization, visit their website.