Noogieland Expansion to Serve Children Impacted by Cancer (2016-2017)
Gilda's Club Desert Cities (GCDC) proposes to expand its "Noogieland" program that supports children coping with cancer. GCDC offers Nooglieland as a fun place with toys, art projects, games, and space to relax, where cancer is not a secret and any and all questions can be asked. It also provides two developmentally appropriate support groups at no charge to participating families: one for children ages 6 to 12 and another for youth ages 13 to 17. For younger children, much of the group "work" is through movement, music, roleplay, art, drama, and other expressive modalities. For older children, the most meaningful interactions may come from socializing with other teens who share their experiences. This in itself decreases isolation and allows for "cancer talk" to be out in the open. Noogieland support groups will be held at the same time and place as several adult support groups at GCDC's main Palm Desert location.
Prior to support group sessions, all participants are invited to enjoy sharing a meal with other families before sorting into their respective groups. Meal sharing provides a physical renewal of energy and encourages building peer connections and friendships. The concurrent support groups provide an opportunity for the family to be involved together, facilitates transportation, and validates that the whole family is affected by a diagnosis. Noogieland also addresses the well-documented and medically accepted role of nutrition in cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. Age-appropriate cooking demonstrations and nutrition education for different stages of the cancer journey will be provided. Throughout this combination of enriching group discussion and nourishing food, patients will feel supported and affirmed through their cancer journey.