Statistics show that 3 out of 4 families in Westchester are impacted by cancer.

Since 2007, the Gilda’s Club Westchester School-Based Program has worked with schools across the county, and more than 90% of the students we’ve seen report that they know someone who has or had cancer. Despite this, many students feel alone in their cancer experiences and have many unanswered questions.

Cancer • Learning • And • Social/Emotional • Support

Gilda’s Goes to School

The last thing a child wants is to be seen as “different” among his or her peers. Yet cancer has the ability to re-define a child’s identity in the eyes of others and to create feelings of isolation. From difficulties concentrating on schoolwork to struggling with peer relationships, the pressures of dealing with cancer can have a lasting impact into adulthood.

Because Gilda’s Club Westchester knows that children impacted by cancer have specific needs, we created this program in 2007 to bring specialized cancer education and support into schools. Geared towards elementary, middle and high schools throughout Westchester, Rockland and lower Fairfield counties, Gilda’s CLASS enables our trained professionals to work closely with school districts to tailor unique cancer support and educational programs.

Gilda’s CLASS is a comprehensive resource designed to bring support and education beyond our clubhouse into your school, free of charge.

Gilda’s CLASS provides students, families, and faculty with education and support through interactive classroom presentations, consultations, lectures and workshops, and an annual symposium designed to reduce anxiety and dispel misconceptions about cancer. Licensed mental health professionals at Gilda’s Club can provide school professionals with direct social and emotional support when a student or coworker is impacted by cancer in their school or district. Our staff is also available to speak to parents whose children are impacted by cancer, addressing concerns from how to talk to their children about cancer to how children at different developmental stages understand cancer.

For more information, contact our Children, Teens and Families Manager:

Jaime Aker, LMSW

jaker@gildasclubwestchester.org

914-644-8844 (x104)

What Gilda's CLASS Offers

Annual Cancer in the Classroom Symposium

The 10th Annual Cancer in the Classroom Symposium will be held on Wednesday February 2, 2022. The half day symposium will be offered via ZOOM and is open to any school professional and is free of charge. The day will focus on supporting children, teens and school communities impacted by cancer. 

Educational Programs, Trainings and Consultations

Specialized workshops, trainings, and consultations are offered to schools virtually or in-person, at no cost. Workshops can cover cancer-related topics and education for health and science classes, Back to School night, staff development, and extracurricular clubs. Consultations are available to school staff and teams when a child or family is impacted by cancer. 

Gilda’s CLASS Support Group Training and Guide

A handbook and training provided to middle and high school professionals so that schools have the necessary tools to implement support for students in their community. Within this guide, school professionals have access to a six-week support group for middle and high school students who have a family member living with cancer, as well as a six-week support group for middle and high school students who have experienced the death of a family member from cancer. The training will provide school professionals with the necessary knowledge and tools to implement a support group in their school community.

Resource Guide for School Professionals

This booklet is designed to provide straight-forward, accessible information on how to support children and teens impacted by cancer. It addresses a child’s cognitive understanding of cancer based on his or her age, common behaviors or reactions that school professionals may observe, how to talk to children about cancer, and helpful ways a school can respond when a child is diagnosed with cancer. An extensive list of resources is available to further support the school. To download your own copy of the Resource Guide, please see the button to the left.