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Millions Unseen: Caregiving Youth Crisis Takes Center Stage on TODAY Show with Maria Shriver

Boca Raton, FL, July 9, 2024 – Millions of middle and high school youth across the U.S. are providing care for family members facing health challenges. However, unlike adult caregivers, they often lack recognition and support. The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) and Kesem are teaming up to raise awareness on this critical issue through their upcoming joint appearance on the TODAY Show on NBC, scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at 8:12 am nationwide. This special segment will shed light on the experiences of over 5.4 million Caregiving Youth in the United States – young individuals who provide significant care for family members with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental health conditions, or age-related needs.

TODAY Show on NBC Segment Highlights:

  • Jacob (Florida): An eighth-grader juggling school, caregiving, and extracurricular activities. Supported by AACY’s Caregiving Youth Project, Jacob exemplifies the dedication of young caregivers nationwide. He cares for his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and his grandmother, with dementia and other ongoing health issues. Despite these challenges, Jacob prioritizes his family’s well-being.

  • Rocco (California): A 17-year-old who has been a pillar of strength for his family through his mom’s cancer diagnosis. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Rocco was eight years old and his younger brother, Cosmo, was five years old. He has cared for his family, helping with household tasks and being by his mom’s side whenever needed. Rocco and Cosmo have attended the free summer program, Camp Kesem, and received a continuum of support from Kesem during their mom’s cancer experience.

“Caregiving Youth are juggling schoolwork and daily life while providing crucial healthcare support behind closed doors,” We are thankful that Maria Shriver has had the vision to bring this growing and yet invisible population in the U.S. to the Today Show audience,” says Dr. Connie Siskowski, President and Founder of AACY. We need national awareness to ensure these Caregiving Youth no longer feel alone and have the resources they need to succeed in school and thrive in life.”

“Kesem is dedicated to supporting children through and beyond a parent’s cancer. We know that children in this circumstance have an increased likelihood of taking on adult roles at home, which often includes serving as caregivers to their parents during treatment. Yet, they are often overlooked and lack appropriate health and educational support”, said Alicia Kabir, CEO of Kesem. “By featuring Rocco’s story, we hope to highlight the resilience of Caregiving Youth and the importance of providing them with the necessary resources and support to foster positive emotional, mental, and social well-being.”

Tune in to the TODAY Show on July 10, 2024, to learn more about Caregiving Youth and how you can help!

About American Association of Caregiving Youth:

American Association of Caregiving Youth® (AACY), a 501(c)(3) non-profit headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, champions the needs of over 5.4 million young American caregivers aged 18 or younger who provide essential care for chronically ill, injured, elderly, and/or disabled family members. As the leading national voice for Caregiving Youth, AACY raises awareness about this hidden population and is a trusted resource for families, policymakers, educators, and healthcare professionals on the issues Caregiving Youth face, regardless of the care recipient’s diagnosis.

AACY offers a comprehensive approach combining direct support and national advocacy. Locally, they provide direct assistance to middle and high school students through the Caregiving Youth Project. Nationally, its Caregiving Youth Institute (CYI) spearheads C.A.R.E. initiatives focused on Connection, Advocacy, Research, and Education. AACY’s impact extends further through national partnerships and affiliates.

For more information, visit aacy.org

About Kesem:

Kesem supports children ages 6-18 through and beyond their parent’s cancer with free, fun-filled, creative programs and a lasting community. Kesem is the leading national organization dedicated to this unique population of over 5 million children.

Kesem is comprised of more than 4,000 volunteer college student leaders at over 120 college chapters nationwide. Kesem serves 7,500-10,000 children yearly through free year-round programming, including our flagship summer program, Camp Kesem, the national virtual offering, Club Kesem, and day programs. Kesem also provides care packages, personalized greetings, birthday cards, local gatherings, and leadership groups for youth and adolescents and their families.

For more information, visit kesem.org

Media Contacts:

American Association of Caregiving Youth
Dr. Connie Siskowski, Founder and President
561-391-7401 | connie@aacy.org
Washington, D.C. | Sara Poole | poole.sara@gmail.com

Domonique Hollins, Chief Brand Officer
646-320-0793 | domonique.hollins@kesem.org

*5.4 Million Caregiving Youth Data Source: Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 – AARP Research Report – National Alliance for Caregiving (National Alliance for Caregiving) and AARP.