Rachel Rainbolt had tried college and didn’t care for it. When she received the Coconino Community College class schedule in the mail, her husband asked if she wanted to try again.
“He said, ‘look for something that looks interesting,’ ” Rainbolt said. So in January 2002, she signed up for two courses: Psychology of Women and Child Development.
The CCC classes and instructors were the spark Rainbolt needed to feel passionate about school again.
“A lot of programs are just about sucking in data spitting it back out,” Rainbolt said. “The professors at CCC brought their real life experiences into the classroom and encouraged us to do the same. They encouraged us to allow ourselves to be changed by what we were learning. It was very different.”
A year and a half later, Rainbolt had an associate degree in psychology and was transferring to Northern Arizona University, where she later earned her bachelor’s degree in the same subject.
Today, Rainbolt runs a successful business called Ohana Wellness in San Diego. The company, which she founded in 2008 after earning a master’s degree in family therapy, provides parenting and baby classes designed to help parents lead healthy and happy lives.
“I was looking for something to do where I could mother my baby and contribute meaningful to society,” she said.
Rainbolt wrote the curriculum for a class called, Sensational Baby, which is used by the non-profit organization Infant Massage USA that educates parents educators on how to massage infants for example nurses in newborn intensive care units teach parents these techniques.
Eventually, her clients encouraged her to write a parenting book.
“Whenever parents would ask me questions, I would write up articles and some were getting published,” Rainbolt said.
Her book, Sage Parenting, focuses on helping parents build a secure, emotional foundation for their child, while at the same time, building effective parenting skills to deal with real world situations.
“I was looking for a way to combine how parents can focus on filling their child’s heart with love with the practical side of ‘I have to get to the grocery store and maintain my sanity.’ How to live a life to bring those two things together,” Rainbolt said.
She mentions CCC in the acknowledgment section: "Thank you Dr. Robin Rickli and Kathy Keayes of Coconino Community College. This gem in the pines reignited my love of learning with relevant and passionate instruction and guided discussion, teaching me to pull from established knowledge and the world around me to form my own voice."
For anyone considering returning to school after some time off, Rainbolt has nothing but supportive words.
“Dive in and do it,” Rainbolt said. “At CCC it was easy. I found a supportive group of people who are really smart. I did my AA in one and a half years. It was fun, enjoyable and worth it.”