Connecting Champions is a nonprofit organization that asks kids & young adults with cancer,
and connects them with a mentor for the cancer journey.
Whatever our kids & young adults want to be when they grow up, we find someone who shares their passion, who can give a behind-the-scenes look into the field, and who will be there every step of the way.
We give kids & young adults the agency to explore professions, envision life beyond cancer, and reclaim their identity.
Through our in-person and virtual friendship programs, we’ve paired 3- to 26-year-olds with mentors from 50+ career paths, such as fashion design, robotics, and zoology. Our mentors visit on a weekly to monthly basis through every transition of the cancer journey. Our evidence-based, outcomes-driven approach helps children and young adults better survive the cancer journey — developmentally, psychosocially, and physically.
The moment a young adult or child hears the words “you have cancer,” their life and dreams instantly freeze.
84% of children and adolescents survive cancer, but research shows they can survive with significant social and developmental side effects as a result of intense social isolation.
Kids are being pulled from school, no longer able to achieve essential developmental milestones. Young adults are struggling to envision their post-cancer plan or develop a greater-than-cancer identity. Families are facing unmanageable levels of distress in and out of the hospital, creating a major barrier to coping with the illness. A 2015 scientific literature review on outcomes for children and young adults with cancer identified personalized social interaction as an essential intervention for combating these psychosocial crises.
We have two programs: an AYA (adolescent & young adult) program and a Kids program
Once a young adult or family fills out a form to learn more, we’ll hop on a quick videochat to learn more about the young adult or child and what they’re passionate about.
That very day, we begin the search for a local mentor.
Our mentors give a behind-the-scenes & hands-on look at the profession through regular video hangouts, customized internships, and passion project activity kits.
A few examples of passion projects:
– Parts to build and program a robot
– Professional cosmetics to learn makeup design
– Equipment to hunt ghosts
Our visits average 55 minutes and our friendships last an average of 73 weeks.
Our innovative approach has helped hundreds of children and young adults better survive the cancer journey in the following outcome areas:
(1) Managing Family Distress
(2) Promoting Child Development
(3) Fostering an Identity Beyond Cancer
(4) Developing an Actionable Post-Cancer Plan
98% of adolescents and parents have reported we make the child healthier mentally, socially, or physically.
Kids say we help them manage physical pain and summon positive thoughts at their lowest points. Parents say we help stall the progression of the disease and counteract issues like separation anxiety or depression.
In the words of one of our teens, Katie, “In my personal opinion, Connecting Champions saved my life. Without their presence in my life during treatment I don’t think I would have had the will to keep going. I credit them with being a big part of who I have become as a person.”
As a low-cost, deep-impact nonprofit, our investment in outcomes allows us to drive impact competitive with much larger organizations.
Or contact Friendship@ConnectingChampions.org / 412.376.3755