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.
If you are a school professional or parent and would like to speak to a program staff member to learn more about how Gilda’s CLASS can bring support and education into your school, please contact us at 914-644-8844 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I began volunteering at Gilda’s Club to honor the memory of a loved one. I hadn’t anticipated how stimulating and fulfilling the few hours spent at the front desk would be. I now count the warm, friendly and welcoming employees of the club my friends and have made close connections with other volunteers as well. I feel my day was a success when I can help a new member relax, feel at home, and perhaps share a laugh with me”
“When I first became a member at Gilda’s Club in 2005, I enjoyed the smiling faces of the receptionists when I would attend meetings. She always made me feel so welcome during a difficult time in my life. Fast forward to 2019. Now that I am retired, I knew one of the first things I’d want to do was volunteer at Gilda’s. I always look forward to sitting at the reception desk, answering the phones and welcoming the members. It’s great to feel like you are able to help someone during their difficult time”
“I’ve worked as a receptionist for seven years at Gilda’s club. During my shifts, I’m filled with tremendous gratitude to be part of such a giving and accomplished group of individuals. My time here has also been a reminder of the many positive emotional and social benefits of helping others. It’s wonderful to witness the strength of the brave, beautiful people who walk through our doors seeking support”
“It is a gift and a blessing to be able to contribute, even in a small way, to an organization that gives so much to so many people”
“Volunteering a the reception desk is the best way to see how amazing and supportive the programs are. You get to see the programs work and how grateful the members are for the reason they walked thru the red door”
“I’m proud to be a volunteer at Gilda’s Club Westchester. The appreciation of the staff and the connection with the members make it all worthwhile. It’s a great feeling evening having just a small role in an organization that strives to make a big difference in people’s lives”
“I benefit at Gilda’s Club by helping other people who have cancer get information, support and understanding as a cancer survivor myself!”
“I walked into Gilda’s Club Westchester and immediately felt at ease, enveloped in a space of integrity, honesty and warmth, where people were open to sharing thoughts expressing worries and exploring ways of healing. I had gone to the cancer Symposium to discover additional ways to support my student who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this school year and the rest of my class, and I left that afternoon empowered with ideas for activities and discussions that are meaningful and lasting, and support our entire school community. Gilda’s Club Westchester has a way of addressing difficult situations with such heartfelt honesty that the stories became shared expressions of hope and healing”
“This was my favorite health class.”
“I personally believe that this program should be in every school district so that school professionals, parents and students can learn about cancer and understand the importance of emotional and social support.”