Children, Teens and Families Program (CTF)

Cancer affects the entire family. Cancer Support Community Greater NY & CT at Gilda’s Club offers the area’s only ongoing support for children and teens who are living a life affected by cancer – their own diagnosis, that of loved one, or the loss of a loved one- through age-appropriate support groups, individual counseling sessions, social events, camps and workshops. The Children, Teens and Families Program (CTF) is designed to be a place for children and teens to learn, have fun, care and share, while being supported by our professional staff and trained volunteers.

Chat with a Child Life Specialist

What is a Child Life Specialist

 
A Child Life Specialist is trained to work with children and their families to help them cope psychosocially during a medical crisis. This entails age-appropriate, play-based activities to help the child navigate their feelings and learn healthy coping skills. A Child Life Specialist takes a family-centered approach to support the family as a whole.
Chat with a Child Life Specialist can help you, the caregiver, learn how to communicate with your child at an age-appropriate level about what is happening with your family. These time-limited sessions can take place at the Clubhouse or over Zoom and typically last 45-60 minutes.

Contact

Jennifer Ricca, CFT Manager, MS, CCLS
[email protected]
914-644-8844 x104

Wonders & Worries

What is Wonders Worries?

A program designed to help children reach their full potential, despite their loved one’s cancer diagnosis. Children ages 6-16 are eligible for the program and is facilitated by a certified Child Life Specialist. 

What happens during the sessions?

Over a 6-week period, children will gain an age-appropriate understanding of their loved one’s cancer diagnosis. They will learn coping skills as well as ways to communicate feelings such as stress, anger, sadness and fear. Individual sessions can take place in person at the Club house or over Zoom and range from 30-45 minutes. 

Contact

Jennifer Ricca, MS, CCLS, Certified Wonders and Worries Provider
[email protected]
914-644-8844 x104

Children and Teens (Ages 5-17)

Short-Term Counseling

Short-term individual and family counseling are available for children and families impacted by cancer. Counseling is provided by a licensed Child Life Specialist who is an expert in addressing issues at an age-appropriate manner commonly experienced by children affected by cancer, such as anxiety, loss, isolation, and uncertainty.
 

Group Support

Time-limited group support is provided based on how the child is impacted by cancer (their own diagnosis, a loved one’s diagnosis, or the death of someone to cancer). Each group is facilitated by a licensed Child Life Specialist and provides a fun, safe, and welcoming environment for kids to share their experiences, receive social support, and learn coping skills.
 

Healthy Lifestyle and Social Activities

Fun, age-appropriate classes, and workshops are offered throughout the year to provide kids with an opportunity to learn new skills and make meaningful connections with others. These activities are open to children in the CTF program and children of Gilda’s Club Westchester members. These activities can be found on the calendar throughout the year as well as via email.
 

Short-Term Counseling

Short-term individual and family counseling are available for teens and families impacted by cancer. Counseling is provided by a licensed Child Life Specialist who is an expert in addressing issues commonly experienced by teens affected by cancer, such as anxiety, loss, peer challenges, and self-esteem.
 

Healthy Lifestyle and Social Activities

Fun, age-appropriate classes, and workshops are offered throughout the year to provide teens with an opportunity to learn new skills and make meaningful connections with others. These activities are open to teens in the CTF program.

Families

Short-Term Counseling

Short-term individual and family counseling are available for children, teens and families impacted by cancer. Family Counseling is structured to support the whole family. It may mean family meetings, sessions with siblings, addressing communication within the family, or consulting with parents/guardians to discuss the best ways to engage in age-appropriate conversations about cancer.
 

Educational Workshops

Educational workshops on topics related to cancer and loss in the family offer parents/guardians a chance to acquire skills, tools, information, and techniques. These workshops may cover areas such as talking to your children about cancer, parenting after loss, talking with children about death, and healthy sleep and eating habits for children with cancer.

Family Events

Opportunities for children, teens and parents to come together to connect, socialize and have fun are offered throughout the year. These events are open to any child in the Children, Teens and Families program (and their family). Themes for the events vary include dinners, baking, cooking, flower planting, Pizza in the Park, and Noogiefest, our annual Halloween event which takes place in the fall.
 

School Support

Chronic Illness and Loss: Coping at School

How We Can Help You

We provide a 60-minute in-service for school faculty and administrators on how to best support students and the school community socially and emotionally when impacted by chronic illness or loss. 

Additional educational and emotional support workshops/in-services are also available.

Testimonial

"As a school counselor of 27 years, i have never been faced with a situation with which a student has cancer. This was so unfamiliar to me, and the overwhelming sense of wanting to handle this delicate situation was daunting. Your expertise and compassionate approach has made a significant difference in the lives of our students and staff memebers"

D.F., Rye Schools

Contact

Jennifer Ricca, MS,CCLS, Children, Teens and Family Manager

[email protected] | 914-644-8844

Watch to learn more about our Children, Teens and Families Program