Safety and Acceptance
Everyone needs a safe environment where he or she belongs and is accepted. In a world of healthy kids, many children with medical needs feel rejected and left out. Life-threatening illnesses bring a host of isolating circumstances that most of us never experience.
In HopeKids’ supportive peer community, no child is the only one wearing a mask or using a wheelchair. No one is stared at because she is bald, or because he has a feeding tube. At HopeKids, everyone belongs.
Many of our events are held privately providing a safe, healthy environment away from large public crowds. Public spaces are a problem for our immune-suppressed kids; minimizing exposure both protects them and reduces parental stress.
“HopeKids is like nothing else on earth. It brings together a community of love, compassion and support. No one judges us, we just get together for good times. It helps us forget about our problems for a few hours and always brings us smiles.”
Repeated studies have shown that acceptance and safety are basic needs. The faculty and staff at the University of Michigan Health System cite a study that said, “Children need to feel like they belong. Their peer relationships are an important arena for them to do this. Try to help your child find interests and activities that provide opportunities to connect with other kids with similar illnesses.” (1)
The National Association of School Psychologists encourages this as well. “Create a sense of belonging. Feeling connected and welcomed is essential to children’s positive adjustment, self-identification, and sense of trust in others and themselves.” (2)
1. 20 March 2013 http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/chronic.htm
2. 18 March 2013 http://www.nasponline.org/resources/mentalhealth/mhtips.aspx