As its catchy name suggests, the Cool Kids Clubhouse in Huntersville is open to the most incredible kids around. It’s a mission honoring kids who are fighting cancer in the very bravest way!
Events and outreach coordinator, Rachel Armstrong, shares how the Clubhouse smooths the road traveled by these children, in a loving, fun, relaxed environment. The goal is to also serve them emotionally, socially, and academically – including free online tutoring for those who have missed school due to treatments.
“We currently serve over 200 families in North Carolina,” explains Rachel. “We know children require support during and after a cancer diagnosis, so they don’t need to be currently undergoing treatment to be a Cool Kid. We ask that children only have proof of a diagnosis, whether it be past or present, from a provider or a social worker.”
What makes Cook Kids so exceptional?
“We continue to serve our children throughout their entire cancer journey.” says Rachel. “We serve them during and after their diagnosis and treatment, which sets us apart. Most organizations don’t continue to support pediatric oncology patients once they are deemed cancer-free. People don’t realize the lingering side effects that come with a cancer diagnosis, even for the family.”
There’s no age limit for their programs, so “Once a Cool Kid, always a Cool Kid!”
Originally founded in Maryland in 2006 by Chris Federico in honor of his mother, the Cool Kids Clubhouse opened in North Carolina in 2020, in honor of Olympic gold medalist and now Board Member, Dan Jansen. Jansen lost his sister Jane to leukemia in 1990, and founded his own Foundation in her honor.
One favorite tradition at the Clubhouse is Smile Celebrations, led by Smile Coordinator Terry Flowers, owner of Flowers Flooring in Cornelius. A “Smile Celebration” might commemorate a birthday, graduation, or end-of-chemo celebration, and drop-off days are scheduled periodically to give Cool Kids parents a much-deserved day off.
“We know a cancer diagnosis doesn’t just affect the child, but the whole family, including siblings,” explains Rachel. “Our monthly movie nights can really range from playing board games to making crafts, depending on what mood the kids are in!”
For a wonderful way to support these amazing kids, consider donating to their “Smile Boxes.” These are care packages the group uses for Smile Celebrations, and also sends to children in local hospitals. Kids have the opportunity to share their favorite color, movie, TV show, sport, gaming system or other favorite toy, so each Smile Box is personalized for a specific child. Donate through the website at coolkidscampaign.org/north-carolina-clubhouse or through their Amazon Wish List, via the Cool Kids website. Drop-off donations are accepted at the Clubhouse in Huntersville.
You can also complete a volunteer interest form on the website. The group hosts dozens of events throughout the year, ranging from those Smile Celebrations, to community awareness and fundraising events, and none are possible without the community’s support! Volunteers must be 16 years or older, but younger volunteers are permitted if a parent or guardian above the age of 18 is also present.
The Cool Kids Clubhouse is located at 9601 Holly Point Drive, Suite 102, in
Huntersville, NC, 704-997-5701.
“Thank you so much to you and the entire Cool Kids Crew for making Humza’s birthday so special! He was surprised to see all the décor and gifts. –Muniza L.
“For over 12 months, Abby has watched her friends go back to school, go on vacation, play, and be kids, from a distance. Because of the amenities you afforded us, Abby was finally able to be a kid again this past weekend. The Clubhouse experience was rejuvenating, and I want you to know how much that means to all of us. She clutched the little doll you gave her during the long drive home and asked “when can we go back?!” –The Caruso Family
“Thank you again for inviting us out today! And thank you for being so patient, selfless, and caring. We see it and feel it when we are there, and I appreciate all your support! Please let me know if I can ever do anything to give back.” –Ashley D.
“The care packages always put smiles on the kids’ faces, filling them with excitement and hours of fun. It warms our hearts to see our kids happy and playing together. We are so grateful for your support during this grueling battle.” –Bobby