What We Do

While a child is undergoing medical treatment for cancer, Riprap will match the child with Riprap Friends. These Friends will travel to the child’s home and provide enrichment activities in the child’s area of interest.

Examples of these activities include creative, educational, and/or socially enriching pursuits, such as dance, visual art, knitting, photography, music, yoga, cooking, and martial arts. They may also include academic and vocational lessons, such as exercises in foreign languages, computer science, reading, mathematics, and educational games.

Brian C. Ante, Ph.D., a doctor in educational psychology and a special education instructor in the New York City Public Schools, wrote “Child Life/Therapeutic Recreation Services, which are generally available, upon doctors’ orders, to children receiving treatment for cancer in hospitals, may not sound like education, but they consist of activities like music, art, play, and dance, which children do in regular elementary classes.

In hospitals, they take on an added significance, providing opportunities for choice and self-expression, when there is so little in these children’s lives that they have any control over. When these children are in these sessions, whether at bedside or in a playroom, they can choose between whichever instruments, mediums, toys, or props they want to use. They have the opportunity to be actively engaged; to use their minds, express their emotions, be spontaneous, and discover what abilities and potentials they have, rather than just their limitations.” 1

While an increasing number of medical centers (e.g., hospitals and other treatment centers) facilitate Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation services, there is a large underserved population of children who are undergoing outpatient therapy and do not have regular access to such hospital-based services, but who are likewise too ill to participate in public activities such as those offered in their elementary, middle, or high schools. Riprap aims to reach that population.

1Ante, BC. Coping with Isolation: A Case Study of an Elementary Student with Cancer. Retrieved on September 24, 2015, from Pediatric Oncology Resource Center website; http://www.ped-onc.org/cfissues/backtoschool/BAntepaper.pdf.