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Chai Lifeline’s Annual Report Summarizes What We Do Every Day

Our 2017 Annual Report is more than a summary of numbers. In language and design, the Report clearly and succinctly describes the impact that our programs and services have on more than 5,400 children and families around the world.

Read it here.

Project CHAI Retreat Gives Families, Volunteers Strength to Go On

bereavement retreatAmid the peace and tranquility of a spring weekend at Camp Simcha, 20 families came together to mourn beloved children and find strength for the days ahead during the Donald Alan Harris Healing Hearts Bereavement Retreat. read full story

Camp Simcha Prepares for Its Largest Season Ever

Camp Simcha gets ready for its biggest season ever.

Camp Simcha gets ready for its biggest season ever.

In the words of a well-known politician, “It’s going to be HUGE!”

That’s the advance word on this summer at Camp Simcha/Camp Simcha Special, the overnight summer camp designed to meet the medical and social needs of children and teens with a wide variety of serious illnesses. read full story

For Parents of Teens with Medical Challenges, Early Planning Key to Effective Transition to Adulthood

Parents of teens with chronic medical or physical challenges can help ease the shift to young adulthood through careful and early planning, according to educational and financial consultants who specialize in helping families through this transition. read full story

Chai Lifeline Brings Chanukah to 10,000 Across the Globe

There were latkes and sufganiyot, desserts and delightful gifts at every Chai Lifeline Chanukah event this year. But what people came for – and found in abundance – were the distinctive Chai Lifeline friendship, camaraderie and support that will help them cope with the crises and challenges of living with illness or loss in their homes.

“Chanukah is a joyful season that we all look forward to,” explained Rabbi Simcha Scholar, the organization’s international executive vice president. “Unfortunately, there are myriad situations that affect the joy that families expect to experience. Some children will be in the hospital, which means that their siblings will be forced to celebrate without them. Others will be ill, but at home. Some will be saddened by the illness or loss of a sibling or parent.  Our mission this time of year is to make sure that no child is forgotten, and every child’s celebration is enhanced.”

The organization goes all out this time of year. Chai Lifeline offices around the globe put their distinctive spin on the holiday. read full story

Camp Simcha Works Its Magic for 440 Campers

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

It’s always enchanting to watch the buses pull in to Camp Simcha. Four times a summer, children alight into the waiting arms of counselors, go through a purple arch and emerge into a world where illness recedes and fun awaits. read full story

“Just Keep Trying” Adaptive Athlete Tells Camp Simcha Special Girls

Adaptive athlete Lindsay Hilton had a clear message for the girls of Camp Simcha Special: "Just try."

Adaptive athlete Lindsay Hilton had a clear message for the girls of Camp Simcha Special: “Just try.”

Lindsay Hilton was born without lower limbs on her legs or arms, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a CrossFit sensation, company spokesperson, and award-winning adaptive athlete. This summer, she added motivational speaker to her long list of accomplishments when she broke numerous barriers for the girls of Camp Simcha Special. read full story

Camp Simcha Girls Repeat the March of Hope

Camp Simcha's March of Hope gave 400 campers and staff a chance to celebrate life and survivorship.

Camp Simcha’s March of Hope gave 400 campers and staff a chance to celebrate life and survivorship.

A new generation of girls fighting cancer marched over the Brooklyn Bridge in a celebration of life, joy, and hope.

read full story

Paws of Love Helps Children Emerge From Their Shells

Interacting with pets has physical and emotional benefits for children with illnesses.

Interacting with pets has physical and emotional benefits for children with illnesses.*
*Photo used for illustrative purposes only.

In the spring of 2016, Eli was diagnosed with a serious chronic disorder. As the realities of his new life, one where he would be more restricted in his movement, sunk in, he became more withdrawn. Concerned, they confided their worries to their Chai Lifeline West Coast case manager. read full story

Speaking To Your Children About the Midwood Fire

7 Ways to Help Children Traumatized by the Midwood Fire

Note: The professionals at Project CHAI, Chai Lifeline’s crisis intervention and bereavement division are available to answer questions and provide personalized assistance to parents, educators, and community leaders following this weekend’s tragic fire in Midwood, Brooklyn. Please call 855-3-CRISIS or email CRISIS@CHAILIFELINE.ORG. Rabbi Sruli Fried, MSW, has prepared this video presentation: Speaking To Your Children About the Midwood Fire

The Jewish community of Midwood, Brooklyn, one of New York’s five boroughs and home to one of the largest Jewish communities outside Israel, was rocked by the devastating fire that killed seven siblings, ages 5 to 16, and left a mother and surviving daughter in critical condition.

Within minutes after the Sabbath ended, Chai Lifeline’s  crisis hotline lit up with phone calls from concerned parents who needed assistance talking to their children about the tragedy. Project CHAI’S professionals, all therapists with training and experience in responding to traumatic situations, offer the following suggestions for parents, educators, and community leaders:
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  • Be attentive to your child’s behaviors that may signal distress. An event like the recent fire can trigger reactions in the immediate aftermath and for the next several weeks.  These behaviors are normal after a traumatic event, and are the child’s way of coping with the trauma. Some children will be able to verbalize their fears right away. Others may experience nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, a reluctance to separate from parents, or a terror of ordinary fire, among other responses.

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  • Be aware of your own reactions to the event. Children work out how to react to a situation by watching the significant adults around them, particularly parents and teachers. Try, if at all possible, to behave in a calm and controlled manner.

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  • Be prepared to speak about the event with your child. Your child may want to speak about the event at great length, or may prefer not to talk about it at all.  Feel free to ask questions, but do not force your child to speak if he or she does not want to. If the child wants to talk about feelings, be supportive and encouraging. Show your understanding and acceptance of these feelings by explaining that feelings such as fear, anger and guilt are all normal reactions to such an “abnormal” event.

 

  •  Encourage alternatives to talkingDrawing, writing, drama and music are all wonderful creative outlets that can be introduced to help children share their experiences.

 

  • Try to maintain a normal routine, and provide children with reassuring and realistic messages about their safety. Talk about what steps you have implemented in the home to ensure safety, and to prevent fires in the future. This will strengthen the children’s sense of safety and control.

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  • The single most important resource for children after exposure is the network of adults in their lives. Most children will recover from exposure to trauma with the aid of those close to them, including parents and teachers.

 

  • Don’t hesitate to call a professional if your child’s behavior or feelings seem extreme or if they persist after a month. The Project CHAI hotline, 855-3-CRISIS, is staffed by therapists who are trained in helping families cope with the aftermath of traumatic events. Emails to CRISIS@CHAILIFELINE.ORG receive immediate responses.

 

 

 

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