A young mother with pink hair reads a book to her daughter on a couch in the atrium of the Hospice Wellness Centre with stained glass windows behind them.The Hospice is dedicated to providing an oasis of peace for those who access our services. Our children's programs address this goal in a crucial way for children and families affected by life-altering diagnoses. We provide a safe space for children to explore illness, grief and bereavement in an age-appropriate manner, furthering their understanding of what is occurring, and facilitating family communication. We believe that whether a child is affected directly by a diagnosis, or indirectly through a sibling, parent or family member, their place in the heart of the family makes providing support crucial to the continued stability of the family unit and their community as they journey through a diagnosis.

All of our children's programs are offered free of charge and are designed to help bring some normalcy and stability back into the lives of children affected by life-altering diagnoses. The Hospice currently employs the only certified play therapist south of London, and offers a variety of groups and individual therapies, including the programs listed below.

Bricks4Kidz Workshops

The Bricks4Kidz organization will be hosting workshops for children ages 5-14 at Hospice. This new program will give children the opportunity to work together on robotics, mosaics and character, as they build new friendships with other children affected by a life-altering illness.

Children’s Self Care Support Group

Monique will be running this new group for children ages 6-14. Once a month this group will discuss self care, coping strategies and self esteem in a fun way!

Children’s Sibling Support Group 

Brianne will be running this new play-based group. The goal of this group is to work on sibling relationships and reintegration when one sibling is affected by a life-altering diagnosis. Children will be invited to participate in relationship-building games and activities.

Fun Time for Kids

Often, when there is a diagnosis in the family, outings become focused around medical appointments. It is important for children to still have the normalcy of fun events with other children. Each month, we create a special activity for children to come together for friendship and a whole lot of fun. These activities allow kids who are facing a life-altering diagnosis or who have a family member affected by such a diagnosis to enjoy some quality FUN time.

Kids Kicking Cancer

The Hospice is pleased to partner with Transition to Betterness to bring this special program to all Hospice kids. The children begin with stretching and breathing exercises to calm themselves through challenging situations. Participants are taught traditional karate moves without sparring or body-to-body contact. This program is for children ages 5 and older. Please note: a child with a diagnosis will be required to have a physician complete a consent form which must be submitted prior to attending the first class.

Lego Club

Lego Club is the newest addition to our Wellness Centre programming for children. When a family member is diagnosed with a life-altering condition it’s important for the family to work together as a team to support each other. Lego Club will build on the importance of working as a team. Each month, children will be given the opportunity to come together and build a Lego creation. The group’s goals are to increase the child’s support circle, demonstrate the importance of working together as a team and to provide the children with a fun activity with a therapeutic element.

Pottery & Palettes

This is an artistic program that focuses on the fun of pottery painting for the whole family. It allows participants to create a beautiful family treasure– a legacy piece to be passed on to future generations. All supplies are provided.

Scouting with Hospice

This Hospice summer camp program is a FREE four day, three night camping experience for children ages 6 to 14 and is held the third week of August at Camp Cedarwin. The camp is designed for any child who has a parent or family member living with a life-altering diagnosis. The focus of the camp is FUN, FUN, FUN and is offered in partnership with Scouts Canada. This is a popular program, so early registration is encouraged since space is limited. 

Children’s Bereavement and Grief Support Group

Hosted by Hospice social workers and agency chaplains, the group meets every other Thursday in the main Wellness Centre to provide support, care and education, for the most vulnerable of our family members ... our kids. Realizing that many children may not have the tools to understand - let alone process - the feelings they are experiencing at a time of loss, our team is continually developing the best model of care. Our goal is to provide children with the opportunity and ability to mourn and survive emotionally.

Teens Supporting Teens

This is a support group for teenagers who either have a diagnosis or who have a loved one with a life-altering diagnosis. The group is a place for honest conversation about how family roles change and how teens can cope.

Family Movie Nights

Once a month at Hospice we have Family Movie Nights in our Conservatory on site. We play children’s movies and serve popcorn in a clean, peaceful environment. Family Movie Night is a great way for families to have fun together and get to know others who are going through similar situations.

Guitars For Teens

Geared as a support group for teens who are living with, or have a family member living with, a life-altering diagnosis. It is a 10-week program which provides each participant with a guitar. Space is limited, so registration is required.

Brianne Thompson, MSW, RSW
Child Specialist