Shining Stars Foundation

YOU can give the gift of hope to brave kids with cancer! Our donors allow us to provide 100% of our programs and services at no cost to the families we serve. Thank you!

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Aspen Winter Games

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Disabled
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
People/Families of People with Cancer
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities

Description

The Winter Games is an eight-day adaptive snowboard and ski recreation program held every year for over 250 participants, including children, their medical team, instructors, and volunteers. Children living with cancer are taken to the slopes in Aspen and given everything they need to ride, including lift tickets, gear, lodging, meals, transportation, and one-on-one adaptive lessons. Kids also enjoy dance parties, music lessons, swimming, campfires, snowmobiling, yoga, crafts, and more.

The emphasis of the week is on empowering each child and giving them a sense of hope, by pushing them to accomplish things on the mountain that they never thought possible. Activities also bond children with one another, giving them life-long relationships through which they gain strength and support for the journey ahead. Each child learns to focus on all that they can do, rather than their limitations.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Liam was disabled by his disease and had limited mobility and required a wheelchair. Over the past year, he has been doing physical therapy and is now walking and using the chair less and less. During the week he started out in a sit ski, and by the end of the week he was standing and skiing down the mountain! He is so proud of what he was able to do, and now he is ready to take on anything! It will be a time he will remember as a bright spot in his life that has had some very rough spots." - Parent of Participant

"When you have cancer your life becomes about surviving and not about living. But this week so many kids, including myself, got to feel alive for the first time in a long time." - Participant

Aspen Summer Adventure

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Disabled
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
People/Families of People with Cancer
People/Families with of People with Disabilities

Description

A dynamic, week-long program for children ages 8-14 living with cancer or another life threatening disease. The program is designed to foster new relationships between participants, while giving them challenging and unique experiences. Activities include outdoor education, rafting, theater, therapeutic arts, hiking, challenge courses, rock climbing, horseback riding, paddle boarding, team building exercises, and more!

Participants leave the program with a growing belief in themselves and their ability to accomplish great things despite their challenges. They also gain new, life-long friendships with kids who know exactly what they are going through.

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Evidence of Program's Success

"Being at camp made us all forget completely about our illness. I know that being there has made me a different person for the better." - Participant


Shining Stars Young Adult Program

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

People/Families of People with Cancer
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Unemployed, Underemployed
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

The Shining Stars Young Adult Program was developed to help young adult pediatric cancer survivors access the resources they need to thrive.There is currently a lack of age-appropriate services that help this population tackle the unique challenges they face. As a result of their illness and treatments, these patients are entering adulthood with a wide range of burdens, including: lack of education or access to higher education, severe financial difficulties, isolation from their peers, chronic health conditions, cognitive and learning challenges, and adjustment difficulties These young adults are 21-35 years old and have participated in other Shining Stars Foundation programs and events. This program includes:

-Young Adult Rocky Mountain Adventure: a three-day, four-night program for young adult pediatric cancer patients. The goal of the program is to provide participants with the tools and support to successfully transition into adulthood and thrive. The program provides adaptive skiing during the day and targeted group team-building activities and workshops during the evening.
-Young Adult Mentorship Program: This program matches young adult pediatric cancer survivors with mentors who are dedicated to helping them become successful and independent individuals.

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Evidence of Program's Success

"This is such a unique experience, because it's therapeutic without being therapy. Participants are really transformed by their interactions with each other, and transformed by taking chances and pushing themselves."-Dr. Karen, Licensed School Psychologist & Young Adult Program Leader

"This is bringing together people who experience many of the same things. We are finding that we are not alone - that there are other people who are going through the same everyday struggles." - Evan, Participant

Kids Helping Kids

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21

Description

These programs engage high school, middle school, and elementary students from throughout Colorado as volunteers with the Shining Stars Foundation in a variety of projects and leadership roles. The targeted volunteer activities give students the opportunity to learn the importance of philanthropy and make a difference in their communities.

In addition, presentations are given in local schools to promote an understanding and acceptance of children who have cancer or another life-threatening illness. Last year, over 1,169 kids were served throughout Colorado.

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Evidence of Program's Success

"Thank you you for coming and speaking to us about Shining Stars. I now know that kids with cancer do not want to be treated like victims. I better understand what they have to go through. I see that they just want to be normal, and have friends like everybody else. Your presentation was very informational and inspirational!"
- Bixby, Local Student

Grand County Family Adventure

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Disabled
Families
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
People/Families of People with Cancer
People/Families of People with Health Conditions

Description

A 5-day summertime adventure offered to the children we serve and their entire immediate family. The program forges strong bonds within families, while introducing them to a much needed network of other families who face similar challenges, creating lasting relationships.

Families are given the chance to escape their troubles and enjoy a week together in the beauty of the High Rockies region of Colorado. Activities include boating, hiking, rafting, horseback riding, fishing, a day at Winter Park Resort, zip lining, games, and much more. This program has become one of our largest, as we cater to 250+ children and family members from across the country.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Families report that this program greatly impacted their family as a result of new relationships, the chance to bond with their family, improved emotional health, and more. The program has doubled in the last three years, and for many families this is one of few, if not the only program made available to them, which provides support for the entire family unit through multi-day programming.

Pediatric Cancer Family Wellness Program

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Disabled
Families
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
People/Families of People with Cancer
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities

Description

Throughout the year, the Foundation hosts single day events which all Shining Stars and their families are invited to. Activities have included days at the zoo, professional sporting events, a holiday party, toy drive, concerts, theater productions, and more! Last year, over 60 different events were offered through this program. These events help to foster a support network among families, while also giving them a day out to have fun and enjoy one another away from the hospital.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Being able to meet other families who have weathered the same storm is invaluable. Alex and his siblings now have new friendships with kids who know exactly what they have been through. It makes a huge difference in all of our lives." - Participant

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.