Breast cancer survivor, Sharon Frances has launched a mobile app for families impacted by cancer, aimed at breaking stigmas about cancer and emotions with kids.
Online PR News – 17-November-2020 – Fullerton, California – Leading up to a celebration of World Children’s Day (November 20), award-winning author, breast cancer survivor and educator, Sharon Frances, PhD has launched a mobile creativity app for families impacted by cancer, aimed at breaking stigmas about cancer and emotions with children. In the My Story Quilt app, families engage in challenging conversations about cancer and emotions, make art, and create playful memories. They can build a virtual quilt from their creations and connect with loved ones in treatment on the in-app social feed. Frances ensures creative experiences and resources are accessible to children regardless of ability to pay, an exemplar of the advocacy efforts that World Children’s Day aims to accomplish.
Almost half of US children (nearly 35 million) have experienced one or more types of childhood trauma (National Survey of Health, 2012). In particular over 5 million children (3% of US families) are impacted by their parents’ cancer annually (18% of all cancer cases). Children have so many questions and feelings about diagnosis and treatment; recurring, progressive and terminal illness; and loss of their loved ones to cancer. Yet, according to the American Psychological Association, many children and youth do not receive adequate treatment or support to build resilience, identify and heal trauma early, and enhance social and emotional development over time.
During her breast cancer treatment in 2018, Frances created The Little Green Monster Project, starting with her original book, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! In its first year, the project supported over 2,000 families with book donations and free creative arts workshops. In the second year, requests poured in for workshops with schools for teachers, PK-8th grade and conference talks to nurse navigators and social workers. Frances teamed up with co-founder Matthew Rodriguez to start Well Beings Studio, a non-profit to support emotional well-being through creativity not only with children, teens and families impacted by cancer but also those experiencing other traumas such as grief and loss. Well Beings Studio was born, ready to read, feel, create, heal.
Since then, Frances and Rodriguez dreamed about how to reach more families and bring the joy of creativity and wellness into homes, when cancer treatment or other hardships might prevent families from attending workshops in person or online. Inspired by the Little Green Monster book, they designed the My Story Quilt app.
With immediate, free access to the app, families have creativity at their fingertips. They will engage in challenging conversations about cancer and emotions, make art, and create playful memories. They can design a virtual quilt from their creations and connect with loved ones on the in-app social feed. They can join a world of stories, by submitting their cancer journey story to the in-app library. My Story Quilt’s social emotional goals include identifying emotions, managing stress, appreciating diversity, offering empathy, reflecting on problems, practicing mindfulness, and building community. Outcomes include contributing to the wellness of participating families, breaking silences and stigmas with families around talking about cancer and emotions, and providing a set of creative coping skills that families can practice in their daily lives.
Frances and Rodriguez have partnered with 1GEN, an India-based company whose mission is to make the world sustainable in one generation by using technology and storytelling in support of mission driven organizations. Says 1GEN Founder and President, Paul Singh, “Team 1GEN is honored to be part of Well Beings Studio’s vision of bringing this mobile app to life. We believe My Story Quilt will help raise awareness about cancer and emotions that families experience during hardships, and amplify the efforts to create a positive shift across the nation.”
World Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20 each year to amplify the rights and voices of children and create a path to universal education, health and well-being. The United Nations began this day in 1954 to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.
Sharon Frances, PhD is a breast cancer survivor, author, and parent. She is the founder of The Little Green Monster Project and co-founder of Well Beings Studio. Sharon has been an arts integration educator for over twenty years, including in her current position as a professor at California State University Fullerton.
Matthew Rodriguez is a passionate volunteer, well-being advocate and philanthropist for those in need, who has lost multiple close family members to cancer. He is an IT engineer by trade and an artist at heart.
They have both found their purpose with Well Beings Studio.
Well Beings Studio is based in Fullerton, California. http://www.wellbeings.studio
Mission: Engage the creative arts to open communication and support emotional well-being of families impacted by cancer, other traumas and difficult times. Together, we develop coping skills, empower creativity, and build community through free creative arts resources and workshops for children, teens and families.
Contact: Sharon Frances