Programs and Services
Heart on Wheels Transportation
Jacob’s Heart’s Heart on Wheels Transportation Program provides pre-paid gas cards and rides to treatment in safety and comfort, from hospital to home.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, very often one parent needs to quit a job in order to manage care. Children in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and South Santa Clara Counties must travel great distances for their specialty care – there are no pediatric oncology facilities in our local community.
Jacob’s Heart’s transportation program is part of our family-centered care philosophy. Our drivers know our families well, some are volunteers which include a registered nurse, retired teacher, family counselor and other bilingual volunteers who accompany children to treatment, provide translation when needed, and visit other families while waiting to drive a family home after a procedure.
We also provide pre-paid gas cards to help families who own their own vehicles and have exhausted all other gas card resources. Because driving back and forth to treatment gets expensive, Jacob’s Heart is here to help with the journey either through gas cards, referral to another ride program, or providing a ride ourselves, ensuring families get to treatment safely and on time.
This service is available to families of children with cancer living in the Jacob’s Heart service area. Jacob’s Heart is a contracted transportation provider through the Central California Alliance for Health in partnership with Hearts & Hands Medical Transportation of California, LLC.
We provide more than just a ride — we provide counseling, support, interpretation and a shared experience on the journey.
Direct Financial Assistance
The Direct Financial Assistance Program addresses the financial stresses associated with pediatric cancer, offering direct financial and practical assistance to families experiencing hardships due to the child’s illness.
Full Hearts Groceries
The Full Hearts Grocery Program delivers nutritious, delicious groceries and meals every other week to the homes or hospital rooms of families during treatment and for up to six months after treatment ends. This volunteer-driven program helps siblings left at home while a brother or sister is in the hospital and moms and dads are busy dealing with doctors appointments, treatment schedules and exhaustion.
This program provides families with biweekly food deliveries, including fresh produce, nutritious food staples, grocery gift cards, cookbooks, and bi-cultural nutrition education.
All services are provided at no cost and are available in Spanish and English.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The Case Management Program provides a complete assessment of family needs and assistance in locating resources to meet those needs. The Jacob’s Heart team takes special care to work with other community agencies to connect families to additional services, such as in-home medical care and transportation services. Working with each family member to address his or her individual needs, the Jacob’s Heart team is present to celebrate successful treatment, as well as to celebrate, honor, and mourn the children whose lives are lost to cancer or other circumstances. Jacob’s Heart is available before/after diagnosis, during treatment, and beyond, with the goal of continuing to maintain quality of life, no matter what a family’s circumstances.
Home and Hospital Visits
The Family Support Services team visits children at home and in the hospital (Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and UCSF), bringing a feeling of safety and security with them. A typical visit brings the family of a child or teen with cancer a compassionate support specialist with care packages, parent and child counseling, celebrations of milestones (end of treatment, birthdays, etc.), and healing therapies.
LOVE AND BELONGING
Every family at Jacob’s Heart is part of our family of families.
Peer mentorship is woven throughout our programs, providing families with opportunities to talk freely with others who just know, about issues they too have likely faced. Families gather at Jacob’s Heart to support one another, to celebrate milestones and perhaps most importantly, to have fun.
Every Family has Unique Needs
The Counseling and Case Management Program provides a complete assessment of family needs and assistance in locating resources to meet those needs. The Family Support team takes special care to work with other community agencies to connect them with additional services, such as in-home medical care and transportation services
Peer to Peer Support
Connecting parent to parent, and teen to teen
The Peer to Peer Support Program Jacob’s Heart provides creates a family of families and offers connections to other families dealing with similar challenges of a life-threatening cancer diagnosis or the loss of a child to cancer or other circumstances. Parents meet to talk, share challenges, triumphs and tears. As one parent put it, “I learned more from talking with other parents than I did from my doctors.”
Jacob’s Heart is training and supporting a team of parents who have the experience and expertise to act as Parent Guides to other VIPs – Very Important Parents.
Art from the Heart
Families gather to create art, play and support each other
Art from the Heart is a quarterly celebration where Jacob’s Heart families gather to create love from the heart. Art tables are placed throughout the Teen Room and include multiple thematic art projects. Healthy snacks are served in the kitchen, games are played, and families enjoy each other’s company.
The Adopt-a-Family Program of Jacob’s Heart
During the holiday season Jacob’s Heart’s Holiday Hearts Program pairs community families and businesses with Jacob’s Heart families. Each Jacob’s Heart family member provides a wish list, and the adopted family shops for and provides gifts for each adopted family member. We collect gas cards, gifts and toys throughout the community at Jacob’s Heart events as well as at various sponsored locations throughout the four counties we service.
Camp Heart + Hands
Camp Heart + Hands is a life-changing weekend camp where families of children with cancer can forget about their disease and create bonds with other families enduring pediatric cancer. Camp Heart + Hands is staffed by pediatric intensive care nurses and oncologists from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Camp highlights include campfires, support groups, kids’ movie night, climbing wall, skateboard park, family carnival, music, dancing, healthy food, art, swimming, games, magic, pony rides and more.
Social and emotional well-being starts with feeling safe, secure and valued, our Emotional Well-Being Program is built on this foundation.
Through individual counseling sessions and thematic support groups, families are able to communicate their needs, learn to identify and express their feelings and gain coping skills and understanding by interacting with others. Our expressive arts program provides opportunities to work through grief and express feelings in a way that transcends words.
The moment a parent hears the words, “Your child has cancer,” life is forever altered. Grief for the loss of a healthy child begins at the time of diagnosis. Fear, concern for other family members, and daily management of life’s challenges continue throughout the course of treatment, which can last for several years. Jacob’s Heart works with each family member of children with cancer and certain other life-threatening conditions to assess and address specific needs through the individual and family emotional support services.
Support groups for families in treatment
Art therapy and sand tray therapy in the home, hospital or group setting
Hospital and home visits to offer support and comfort
Life-skills training for adolescents
Through the arts, people can communicate ideas and feelings that may be difficult to put into words. The use of the expressive arts in a therapeutic setting multiplies the avenues by which a person may seek meaning, clarity, and healing. Activities such as drawing, journaling, drumming, drama, creative movement, music and play permit individuals of all ages to express their thoughts and feelings in a manner that transcends verbal communication. These therapies provide an outlet to work through grief and help express feelings in a healthy way.
Our peer mentorship program provides a supportive environment for teens with cancer and their siblings, to enable them to better cope and learn to thrive in school and life despite the challenges inherent to a cancer diagnosis in adolescence.
When you’re starting high school and chemotherapy at the same time, or your friends are going to the prom when you’re getting to radiation, you need support from other teens who know what you’re going through. That’s where the Jacob’s Heart teen group comes in. Studies show that social support is the #1 factor in helping teens experience growth after trauma. At the Jacob’s Heart teen group, teens with cancer discover what it means to use difficulties to build resilience. Committed to one another, the teens connect through fun activities, raucous laughter and meaningful projects, all while sharing their sorrows and triumphs.
“When you’re a kid going through treatment, you worry a lot about your parents. All of us do. We worry about our whole family. Jacob’s Heart has helped my family and that helps me.”
Grief Support for Loss of Child
A Family of Families, Sorrow Shared
For 20 years, Jacob’s Heart has been present with loving hearts and open arms to families who have lost a child to cancer or other circumstances. Our family counselors, interns and parent mentors are trained to accompany all family members through the journey of life without their child.
Thematic support groups and individual counseling sessions provide emotional support, a safe space to share feelings, tools to process grief, and healthy ways to cope with loss.
Bereavement programs and services include, but are not limited to the following:
Financial assistance to help with funeral or memorial expenses
Practical support to help with daily challenges
Help and support with planning remembrances, memorial services, legacy traditions and celebrations of life
Eight-week thematic support groups in both Spanish and English in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties
Forever Loved Bereavement Retreat
Monthly drop-in groups, you don’t need to sign up, just show up
Bereaved teen support – outings, groups and connections
Art and play therapy for grieving children
Peer mentorship – matching parents, grandparents and siblings with others who have been there
Referrals to additional resources
Bilingual support is available to all families who have lost a child to cancer or other diseases or conditions in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and South Santa Clara Counties
Forever Loved Retreat
The Forever Loved Retreat is a truly special weekend created to give families who’ve lost a beloved child an opportunity to come together as a community. The retreat is held in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains surrounded by redwoods, right before the challenges of the “holiday” season. Highlights include a ropes course, parent groups, massages, sibling mindfulness class, drumming, hiking, and a visit from furry friends!
“I thought I was the only one with this terrible pain. Now I see that I’m not alone.”