Children, Teens and Families Program (CTF)

Cancer affects the entire family. Gilda’s Club Westchester 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.
For more information, contact Jaime Aker, LMSW, Children, Teens and Families Manager at jaker@gildasclubwestchester.org or call (914) 644-8844 (x104)

Children (Ages 5-12)

Short-Term Counseling

Short-term individual and family counseling are available for children and families impacted by cancer. Counseling is provided by a licensed mental health professional who is an expert in addressing issues commonly experienced by children affected by cancer, such as anxiety, loss, isolation, and uncertainty.
 

Group Support

Open-ended 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 mental health professional and provides a fun, safe, and welcoming environment for kids to share their experiences, receive social support, and learn coping skills.
Kids Cancer Connection (ages 5-12)– open to children who have a loved one living with cancer.

Kids Living with Loss (ages 5-12)– open to children who are bereaved.

Kids Living with Cancer (ages 6-9)– a virtual group open to children who are living with cancer, undergoing treatment, and/or post-treatment.

Tweens Living with Cancer (10-12)– a virtual group open to tweens who are living with cancer, undergoing treatment, and/or post-treatment.
 

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. Some activities include:

  • Building Blocks Yoga with Kim (beginner kids’ yoga)
  • Woofs & Wags (pet therapy)
  • Camp Maple (summer day camp)

Teens (Ages 13-17)

Short-Term Counseling

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

Group Support

Open-ended and time-limited group support is provided based on how the teen 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 mental health professional and provides an engaging, safe, and supportive environment for teens to discuss their experiences, receive social support, and learn coping skills.
Teens Cancer Connection (ages 13-17)– open to teens who have a loved one with cancer.

Teens Living with Loss (ages 13-17)-open to teens who have lost a loved one to cancer.

Teens Living with Cancer (ages 13-17)– a virtual group teens who are living with cancer, undergoing treatment, and/or post-treatment.
 

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.

Teen Cancer Story Contest

This annual multimedia contest is open to teens in the Westchester, Rockland, and Fairfield County areas who are impacted by cancer and want to share their story. Submission types include: essay, poetry, artwork, and video.

Youth Committee

Made up of volunteer high school students, Youth Committee is an opportunity for teens to raise awareness about Gilda’s Club Westchester and the importance of psychosocial support. Youth Committee Members assist in fundraising efforts, outreach events, and volunteer events (i.e. counselors for Camp Maple).

 

To join, please email Jaime Aker at jaker@gildasclubwestchester.org.

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, and healthy sleep and eating habits for children with cancer.
  • Talking with Children about Cancer– this workshop offered the 2nd Wednesday of each month, is open to both the public and Gilda’s Club members. Facilitated by a licensed mental health professional, parents/guardians learn about children’s developmental understanding of cancer, common questions and behaviors, and ways to approach the conversation about 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

Gilda’s CLASS

School is an important part of the lives of children. We work closely with schools to support the child (in the school setting), as well as teachers, social workers, guidance counselors and other school personnel. Gilda’s CLASS offers:
  • Consultations
  • Presentations, workshops, and lectures for students and/or school professionals
  • Annual Cancer in the Classroom Symposium
  • One-on-one support for students, parents, and faculty
  • Cancer related resources

Watch videos about our work with teens and children