About Kids of Courage
Imagine for a moment that you are 14 years old and in a wheelchair, or have a feeding tube, or require oxygen, or possibly all three. How difficult would it be to travel to a place like Disney World, ski down the slopes of a snowy mountain or ride a rollercoaster or jet-ski?
Kids of Courage (K.O.C.) is an extraordinary, unique, non-profit organization that makes dreams come true for children and young adults who are living with serious, debilitating, painful, often life-threatening illnesses, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Volunteer driven, K.O.C.‘s mission and goal, from its inception in 2008, has been to empower children and young adults — most of whom would otherwise be restricted to hospitals or their homes — to have the glorious, joyful, exhilarating, companion-filled adventures children deserve and to enable them to see and experience a world of delights that would otherwise be unattainable.
Highlights of Kids of Courage’s Year-Round Programming
K.O.C.’s flagship event is a nine day journey across the United States each summer, giving the Couragers from all over the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel an opportunity to experience travel and adventure like an able-bodied child while under strict medical supervision. This trip is often the highlight of a child’s year. Additionally, each winter, with the help of AbilityPLUS, over 50 courageous children embark on a four-day adaptive skiing adventure on Mount Snow in Vermont.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters
Providing fun and friendship, K.O.C. Big Brothers and Big Sisters become “best buddies” with ill children, while ensuring that their siblings have the extra attention they need to help cope with the challenges of a medically-fragile brother or sister.
K.O.C. physicians, nurses and paramedics have logged over ten years of experience in arranging and executing very complex medical transportation. This logistical feat is made possible due to the excellent relationships formed with government agencies, airlines, airports, and Hatzolah paramedics.
Advocacy and the Government
K.O.C. fights for the rights of physically and medically challenged individuals, meeting with senators in Washington, D.C. about issues such as restrictions on medical oxygen on commercial flights. The organization helps theme parks and sports venues improve conditions for wheelchair bound guests. K.O.C. strives to make this world accessible to all.
When a child is hospitalized, the organization steps in to help care for the camper and give the parents a much-needed respite. This gives mothers and fathers the opportunity to focus on their other children who often take second place to the disabled child. Support includes transportation and hot meals, as well as games and celebrity visits. Each volunteer is carefully matched to a child’s background to help create a connection from the moment a volunteer arrives.
Medical Referrals and Hotline
Communities all around the country are opening their doors to K.O.C. for special experiences. Couragers are invited to spend the weekend in an atmosphere that showcases the bonds that can be established between the children, caretakers and hosts. For the hosts and their children, the weekends remove some of the mystery surrounding physical disabilities and demonstrate what it means to truly give of one’s self in order to help others.
The Kids of Courage hotline is always available to assist parents with referrals, second opinions, insurance questions, and other areas of support. When parents need time with a doctor outside of the hospital, K.O.C.’s team of physicians is on-hand to guide them. Comprised of some of the most distinguished practitioners across the country, the medical staff will go the extra mile to do what is best for the children and their families.
Celebrities and VIP Entertainment
Kids of Courage helps make our Couragers’ wildest dreams come true. From being VIP guests of teams including the Yankees, Rangers, Jets, and Heat, to recording songs with celebrities – no dream is too crazy. Did you know David Blaine once flew with us on a private Boeing 737, entertaining the campers with five hours of non-stop personal magic?