‘Cool’ program celebrates second anniversary with in-person return
HUNTERSVILLE – After canceling all in-person events during the height of the winter COVID surge, “Twos-Day” was the perfect day to celebrate the second anniversary of Huntersville’s Cool Kids Clubhouse in Honor of Dan Jansen.
The clubhouse, part of the Cool Kids Campaign Foundation, opened its doors in January 2020 to serve pediatric oncology patients, survivors and their families in North Carolina. The nonprofit quickly had to pivot its approach to support vulnerable children during an unprecedented international health crisis.
Survivors, supporters, volunteers and distinguished community members gathered Feb. 22 at the Holly Point Drive suite to toast the successes of the previous two years and look forward to expansions in programming.
Clubhouse programs were designed to give children with cancer, their siblings and their parents a place to have fun and find some normalcy. It offers enjoyable programs like movie nights, festivals and trips to vacation condos, and essential support services like tutoring, mentoring and mental health counseling. All activities are free to the Cool Kids families, who become members for life.
Managing Director Melissa Scott said one of the biggest successes during the pandemic was the expansion of the Smile Boxes program. The clubhouse sends care packages to pediatric cancer patients both in and out of the hospital. Because they were unable to host birthday parties in the clubhouse, volunteers and staff started packing up the decorations, the birthday cake, balloons and the gifts so families could celebrate in the safety of their homes.
Scott said mental health counseling was also essential during this time – but is always a huge need.
“A high percentage of our kids are bullied in school – over 30 percent,” she said. “The statistics are astounding.”
At the Cool Kids Clubhouse, children and teens are able to support one another. Scott said teen nights, meant for both cancer patients and their teen siblings, return to the clubhouse March 4.
The future goal of the Cool Kids Clubhouse is to have its own free-standing building in 2024, which would have dedicated rooms for children, teens and parents so they can offer multiple programs at the same time. The building would also have a multi-purpose room for events and a fenced outdoor space with room to run and an accessible play structure.
The clubhouse has two major fundraising events planned for the coming weeks: Sham-Rock, Roll, and Cornhole on March 19 at D9 Brewing in Cornelius, and Bonding with Bourbon on April 9 at Lake Norman Patio and Game Rooms in Mooresville.