Suzy Yehl Marta

Suzy Yehl Marta

Suzy Yehl Marta, a divorced mother of three sons, gave up the security of her three jobs to do something she knew in her heart had to be done for our youth who were grieving a life-changing loss. She established Rainbows, now the world’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to helping families cope with loss. While growing up, Suzy dreamed of being a good wife and mother. She never considered the possibility of divorce and was devastated when her marriage ended. She was relieved when family and friends told her there was no need to worry about her kids. “They’re resilient. They’ll bounce back,” she was told. But soon Suzy realized her sons were hurting as much as she was. She searched for the type of support that she was receiving as an adult. There was no place accessible for them to talk about what they were feeling. Certainly, there was therapy available, which she tried. At the end of the counseling session, she was advised not to return. The therapist said they were just fine adjusting to their loss. But he never told them how to do it. What Suzy learned later was that they were all grieving the death of their nuclear family. In addition, her sons needed to be with other children their age going through the same experiences so they could understand their feelings. Working with other concerned single parents, Suzy began organizing weekend retreats for children in single-parent and step-family homes. In three years, more than 800 youth benefited from the retreats. After hearing their stories, Suzy was compelled to do more. She began working on a formal curriculum- the foundation of Rainbows. Rainbows has served nearly 2 million youth throughout the U.S. and 16 countries. Now the nation’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to helping families cope with loss.

Articles:

Open to  hope

Why Grief is NOT a Mental Illness

Recently, it was announced that the American Psychiatric Association is currently revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a tool used by clinicians to diagnose patients. Shockingly, […]

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Open to  hope

Helping Children Cope with Grief during the Holiday Season

Holidays are normally a time of joy and celebration amongst families; however, they can heighten children’s sense of loss. Whether it is loss from a death or a divorce, a […]

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Open to  hope

Osama bin Laden’s Death: Tips for Talking with Your Child

The news this week of Osama bin Laden’s death evokes countless emotions.  As I look back on the tragic day of September 11, 2001, I shudder with the memories of […]

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Open to  hope

OTH Writer Challenges Time Magazine Article on Grief

Recently, TIME magazine published an article, “New Ways to Think About Grief,” by Ruth Davis Konigsberg and it listed several myths on grief.  Open to Hope contributing writer Suzy Yehl […]

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Open to  hope

Oldest Edwards Daughter May Have the Toughest Journey

Following are thoughts from Suzy Yehl Marta about the recent death of Elizabeth Edwards. Why do you think people around the country are so moved by her death? Most likely, […]

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Open to  hope

Children Without Grief Support May Turn to Bullying

News headlines are increasingly filled with tragic stories of youth becoming violent because they seemingly are lashing out to their peers as a way of expressing their anger, which I […]

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Open to  hope

Haiti’s Children Need Emotional Support after Quake

As the world pulls together to deliver physical necessities such as food, water and shelter, we must remember to respond to the emotional healing that is needed nationwide in Haiti […]

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Open to  hope

Seven Ways to Make Holidays Meaningful for Children After a Loss

The holiday season after my divorce found me overwhelmed and almost totally unprepared.  It was a traumatic time, especially for my three young sons. Their father was gone. I went […]

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Open to  hope

Youth Violence Often the Result of Traumatic Losses

By Suzy Yehl Marta — Josh was a quiet kid, a seventh grader in a mid-size, Midwest city whose parents’ divorce left him bereft. Fortunately, his school offered a peer-support group […]

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Open to  hope

Children React to a Divorce Much Like They Do to a Death

Note: After my husband and I divorced, I was so overwhelmed with my grief that I didn’t notice that my three boys were hurting too.  I learned that kids aren’t […]

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