When Matteo was four and a half years old, he started to go through a series of physical and emotional changes that his mother Jennifer knew were not normal.
Friends Having Fun!
When the realization came that the pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon, it became clear that there were brand new challenges that Friends of Karen families were facing. Children were scared and even more isolated than before, with longer stretches of separation and strict policies prohibiting visitors at the hospitals. Parents were overwhelmed and stressed. We wanted to help and we needed to offer new support for these new challenges.
With the guidance and support of the Family Support Team at Friends of Karen, Friends Having Fun was born. This weekly virtual group for Friends of Karen children engages participants in creative art, movement, games, storytime and our signature finale, Freeze Dance. It’s a light, fun way to connect during an isolating and uncertain time.
Recognizing the great importance of play, our goal was to both create a space for them to simply feel like kids and to offer a small respite for parents who may have needed a break from the around-the-clock caregiving that a tandem of a pandemic and caring for an ill child brings.
Friends Having Fun debuted in June 2020 and the group is still going strong, having celebrated the first ‘birthday’ this past summer with a virtual party, creating party hats and, of course, an epic round of Freeze Dance. Zoom has now become second nature and the group has evolved in some ways, but what we are most proud of are the bonds of friendship that have formed during this otherwise very lonely time. As always, the resilience of these children inspires us. They are truly experts in making lemonade out of an unprecedented amount of lemons.
Please read below what our most loyal attendees have to say about the group.