At Gilda’s Club Madison, we recognize that cancer impacts the whole family. Our youth programs are designed to offer them a place to connect, talk about their experiences, and most importantly, know they are not alone.

Support Groups

Our weekly youth support groups are now online! There are three different groups for kids and teens who have a parent or loved-one with cancer:

  • Ages 4-8 (Mondays, 4-5 pm)
  • Ages 9-12 (Wednesdays, 3-4 pm)
  • Ages 13-18 (Mondays, 6:30-7:30 pm)

All groups are facilitated by licensed mental health professionals who utilize engaging activities, art, and games to get participants interacting with each other and processing their internal world. Cancer education and coping skills such as mindfulness are also incorporated. Kids and teens will experience the valuable connection to peers who understand what they’re going through, which is more important now than ever in our physically-distanced world.

How to Participate:

  • Kids and teens will need access to a computer/tablet/smartphone connected to the internet in order to join the group via Zoom. They will also need headphones and a private space in order to maintain as much privacy as possible for all participants.   
  • Each week will have a theme and designated materials, most of which can be found around the home. Facilitators will always make adjustments and be flexible to accommodate the “stuck at home” environment in which we’re living.
  • You’ll need to be a member of Gilda’s Club (NO COST, just a simple process) and reside in the state of Wisconsin due to clinical licensure requirements. There will also be a form to complete specific to the Kid Support/Teen Time support group and a short check-in with staff on the phone or via Zoom to orient your family to the group.
  • Contact Program Manager Carissa Hodgson to get started at carissa@gildasclubmadison.org or 608.828.8875

Grief Busters

Children that have lost a sibling, parent, guardian, grandparent, or other loved one to cancer can participate in this special professionally-facilitated grief and loss support program designed for children. Grief Busters is a six session program and is run at different times throughout the year.

For more information about when the next Grief Busters session will take place, please call 608-828-8880 or e-mail program@gildasclubmadison.org.


Workshops

Kids and teens cope with cancer in many different ways. Finding activities that foster creativity and movement give them new ways to express themselves. Check the online calendar for youth-specific workshops that might include arts and crafts, movement (such as yoga, karate or dance), healthy cooking, and stress reduction.


Socials

Child holding craft project

Kids and teens benefit from the sense of normalcy and belonging that is created by seeing other families like theirs. This is especially important right now when they are more isolated. You’ll find virtual socials on the calendar such as online games, karaoke/dance parties, and our annual Noogiefest Halloween party. You’ll also find social gatherings geared towards the whole family on our calendar—All of these are great opportunities to connect with other families affected by cancer.

Do you have a talent or expertise you’d like to share with our kids and teens? Please contact our Program Director, Kirsten Norslien at 828-8873 or email kirsten@gildasclubmadison.org.


Family Support and Short-Term Counseling

A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family. You might have questions or concerns about how to talk to your kids, what resources to use, and how to best support children through a cancer diagnosis. Our Program Staff are experienced at supporting you and your family through this.

For more information or to set up a free family counseling session, please call 608-828-8880 or e-mail program@gildasclubmadison.org.