It’s easy to think of rainbows as nothing more than a backdrop for our favorite fairy tales, but for a group of young women around the world, the rainbow is more than that - it’s a way of life.
In 1922, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls was launched as a service organization for the daughters of Masons. Open to girls from ages 11 through 20, it is now a global service group inspiring thousands of young women to pursue their passions and give back to their communities. With over 850 assemblies across the world, including in Aruba, the Philippines, and Romania, Rainbow is a wide-reaching organization that continues to foster positive growth and change daily.
A Tradition of Service
Rainbow Girls have numerous service projects ranging from small local projects to statewide Grand Service Projects. In the last ten years, the California Rainbow Girls have partnered with myriad organizations on Grand Service Projects, including Families Forward, A Place Called Home, and the Bay Area Crisis Nursery.
This year, we are honored to be contributing to a unique project that Bailey Schmidt, a California Rainbow Girl, has created for her local assembly.
Part of the Rainbow Girls’ mission is to “prepare girls for responsible and purposeful adulthood through character and leadership development.” Seventeen-year-old Bailey, a dedicated Rainbow Girl from the Santa Rosa, CA Assembly, is living proof of this mission.
During her six years as a Rainbow Girl and her preparatory year as a Pledge Girl before that, Bailey has learned how to plan projects and fundraisers, how to speak in front of a crowd, how to interview for a job, and even how to apply for college.
Additionally, Bailey and her Rainbow Girl sisters have participated in a multitude of service projects, including food drives, caroling for seniors, painting an elementary school, and working at a food bank. Through these experiences, Bailey and countless others have learned the true meaning of service and seen firsthand how much an act of kindness can brighten someone else’s life.
“Rainbow really inspired me to keep service in my life. Once I’m out of Rainbow, I hope to have more opportunities to serve my community, wherever that may be.” —Bailey Schmidt
As a Rainbow Girls leader, Bailey has had the chance to create her own service projects, and she continues to inspire those around her even despite unique challenges posed by the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Bailey’s Project - Bilingual Books for Kids in Hospitals
With the help of adult advisors, fellow Rainbow Girls, family, and friends, Bailey has spent the last two months improving the lives of patients at Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento, CA. The Shriners Hospital Book Drive, organized by the Santa Rosa Rainbow Assembly, has worked hard to collect new bilingual books from community members in order to donate them to the hospital’s on-campus library—one that Bailey remembers visiting when her older brother stayed at the hospital after surgery.
Bailey says that she always found the atmosphere at Shriners Hospital to be “homey” and welcoming, so when the opportunity arose for her to plan this term’s service project, she thought, “Why not do a book drive for the library?”
Because of COVID-19 guidelines, spending time outside of the hospital has been even more difficult than usual for Shriners patients. Bailey knew that in addition to being a fun and engaging activity, reading could also be a much-needed escape for Shriners patients, so she set a goal to donate at least 50 new books to the hospital library.
According to 2021 demographic data, over 200,000 Sacramento County residents over the age of five, as well as 30% of all California residents over the age of five, speak Spanish at home (Sacramento County Demographics).
Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that just over 20% of all U.S. residents over the age of five have grown up speaking a language other than English at home (U.S. Census Bureau).
With a mission to “provide the highest quality care to children” all across the state of California and beyond, Shriners Hospital is dedicated to welcoming patients of all linguistic backgrounds, which is why the Santa Rosa Assembly has decided to collect bilingual English/Spanish reading materials for the hospital library.
The work of the Rainbow Girls does not stop there, however, as Bailey wishes to expand the project to include other hospitals and reach more children across the nation: “I would love to donate to more Shriners Hospitals across our state or even out of state. The more books we donate, the better!”
Advice from the Rainbow Girls
During her time with Rainbow, Bailey has learned the value not only of community service but also of determination and leadership. As a young person, it can sometimes be hard to make your voice heard and to believe that your ideas are capable of making a difference. However, as Bailey has so aptly shown us this year, making the world a better place does not have a minimum age requirement, and there is no better time to serve the community than right now.
“If you think of an idea, go for it. Don’t let
anyone tell you not to do it or that you’re too young
to do it. You can do anything you want.” —Bailey Schmidt
How You Can Help
The Santa Rosa Assembly of the Rainbow Girls will be accepting financial and book donations for Shriners Children's Hospital through the first week of December, 2021. Any new Spanish, bilingual, or English books for ages 5 to 18 are welcome. Donations can be sent to Mary-Beth Dunlap at 509 San Juan Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95409.
If you would like to purchase books to contribute, please click here to view English, Spanish, and bilingual titles available from Platypus Media and Science Naturally. Email Caitlin at C.Chang@ScienceNaturally.com so we can offer you the Shriners Book Drive pricing ($4.00 for books under $9.99; $5.00 for books over $10.00). We will send you a gift receipt and make sure the book gets to Bailey.
Monetary donations are also being accepted and will help to fund the purchase of new books for the Shriners library. Checks should be made payable to “Santa Rosa Assembly #156.” For additional information, please contact Rosanne Gephart at Rosanne@Sonic.net or (707) 327-6911.
Platypus Media is working closely with Bailey on this project. By providing discount pricing, we are working towards our goal of getting books into the hands of children who need them most. If you, or anyone you know, would like to partner with us on a fundraiser or literacy campaign, contact our other Caitlin at Caitlin@ScienceNaturally.com. We can also produce custom books for your organization. Learn more about this on our customization page.