Social Connection in a Time of Isolation – Thanks to Nike

Check out our new Kids Kicking Cancer anthem, “We Are One,” produced by our very own Heroes Circle members.

There is no denying that COVID-19 has had an immense impact on the mental health of children and adolescents across the globe. With schools closed, activities cancelled, and hospital and medical facilities isolated, children lost nearly a year of social interaction and socialization.

For children and adolescents, social connectedness is rooted in feelings of belonging, love and common interests. Every person we interact with is forever part of our journey and each has a lasting impact on our physical and mental health – often resulting in lower levels of stress, increased motivation and a stronger immune system.

Creating a Space for Teens and Young Adults

At Kids Kicking Cancer, we work with and support pediatric patients (and their families) as young as three years old and continue with teens and young adults. Our Heroes Circle members have been diagnosed with serious illness such as cancer, sickle cell and hemophilia.

Because of Nike’s generous community impact fund grant, we were able expand our teen and young adult offerings in Detroit – providing a unique space for them to socialize in age-appropriate programing that revolves around our therapeutic martial arts, while enhancing their experience with additional activities that fit their interests. And, through the metaphor of sport—in this case martial arts—we encouraged each participant to connect virtually in a time of social isolation. Some of the expanded offerings included weekly martial arts classes, therapeutic cooking classes, art therapy, town hall gatherings and movie nights.

Behind the Scenes of “We Are One”

One of the program highlights was giving our teens an opportunity to collaborate with local Detroit artist Brian Ross (aka B.Sean) in writing and recording an original track called “We Are One.”

Over 9-months, participants were led through a series of sessions to express what Kids Kicking Cancer’s Heroes Circle means to them. Words such as family and community, strength and love were verbalized by the teens. Overcoming feelings of fear, pain & anger were spoken of. With B. Sean’s support, these words and expressions were created into lyrics.

Our participants were involved in every step. From writing of lyrics, to singing the chorus, and even learning the dance moves and submitting their videos for incorporation into the final music video. Everyone played a key role in its production and we are so proud of the Kids Kicking Cancer Heroes Circle participants for taking ownership and helping to create our program anthem.

As a result of this grant, KKC applied the learnings from this unique programming to serve as the basis for our new Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) program pilot launching summer 2021.

Thank you again to the Nike Community Impact Fund for their support of Kids Kicking Cancer.
**If you are a parent or caregiver interested in enrolling your child in our virtual programming, please click here.**

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Power. Peace. Purpose.

Despite the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic, we are committed to empowering one million children to reduce their pain and stress with the help of our evidence-based martial arts therapy.