Detroit-based Heroes Circle received Emmy Nomination

Groundbreaking video series teaching martial arts inspired self-regulation techniques includes standards-aligned school curriculum

DETROIT – The 45th Annual Michigan Regional Emmy Award nominations were recently announced and the video series, “Teens Helping Teens in a Stressful World” created by Kids Kicking Cancer’s Jamila Carrington Smith (Chief Innovation Officer) and Kelly Blankenship (Director, Heroes Circle Innovation), received a nomination in the “Children/Youth/Teens” category.

Smith and Blankenship are credited for designing, developing, producing, and directing the teen and early adolescent focused storyline. The video series features six remarkable young people facing ordinary and extraordinary stressors in their lives and how they process and cope with these situations. At the same time, the complementary lesson plans introduce students to the fact that there are many children and teens in hospitals around the world who are lonely and feel different from everyone else because of their illness or disease. When students use the unique Heroes Circle therapeutic techniques, they are provided with the opportunity to allow pediatric patients across the globe to thank their new friends. 

This groundbreaking series is part of the ongoing vision of Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg (“Rabbi G”) to amplify the valuable lessons taught by the children of Kids Kicking Cancer.

The Heroes Circle (dba Kids Kicking Cancer), is a Detroit-based global non-profit that offers evidence-based therapeutic martial arts programming for pediatric patients, as well as a resilience-building and empowerment curricula designed to equip students with the tools to self-regulate when they encounter academic stress, social pressures, or adversity at home.

“The Heroes Circle is the only program in the world that allows children in schools to learn martial arts therapeutic techniques while connecting and helping children dealing with the pain of cancer and other diseases,” says Founder and Global Director Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg. “The impact has been amazing!” 

What sets this series apart is how the protagonists come together and support one another using self-regulation techniques inspired by the children of Kids Kicking Cancer. By highlighting the power of friendship and resilience, “Teens Helping Teens in a Stressful World” offers valuable lessons on coping with challenges, in addition to teaching the importance of empathy and creating positive healthy connections.

“We are honored and humbled to have created the ‘Teens Helping Teens in a Stressful World’ video series,” says Smith. “Our goal was to empower young people with the tools they need to navigate life’s challenges, and seeing the impact it has had on students and educators has been truly gratifying. This series is a testament to the power of the children of Kids Kicking Cancer, to inspire positive change. My team and I are grateful for the recognition, but even more so for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people” 

The accompanying standards-aligned curriculum delivered by dedicated teachers and ongoing professional development has made a positive difference throughout a Michigan school district. The whole-school approach has fostered an environment of support and understanding, providing valuable tools for students and educators alike.

A sample of the video series can be viewed here:

The Emmy Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at the MotorCity Sound Board Theater. For a full list of nominees, visit the NATAS Michigan website

If you’d like to speak with someone from the organization, please contact Shelby Cook ( or Sara Broun (

About Heroes Circle/Kids Kicking Cancer
The Heroes Circle is a global healing and wellness initiative inspired by the children of Kids Kicking Cancer. Our non-contact, martial arts-based techniques are delivered in person and virtually throughout hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient centers, home visits and schools across the United States and globally. Backed by research, this unique therapeutic martial arts program gives kids the tools to self-regulate when they encounter stress or are experiencing a crisis. The program teaches meditative breathing, mindfulness and movement, engaging children’s imaginations while teaching them how to work through overwhelming emotions like pain, fear and anger. The Heroes Circle’s vision is to empower one million kids globally.

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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.