Hearts of Gold Youth Program

Paper hearts on strings

Do you have a child with heart disease that is between 13 and 18 years old? If so, would they like to join one of our two Hearts of Gold youth groups that meet once per month for fun activities? We have one group that meets in the Lower Mainland, and another that meets on Vancouver Island, in and around the Victoria area.

Hosted and facilitated by a certified child life specialist, these events are a great opportunity for teens to meet other teens that may be experiencing similar challenges of growing up with heart disease. No one understands better how you may be feeling than someone who is walking in similar shoes!

Some of the fun activities the Hearts of Gold teens do are:

  • Skating and dinner
  • PNE Halloween Fright Nights
  • Swimming and pizza
  • Vancouver Canucks and Giants hockey games
  • WildPlay adventure courses
  • Ceramic painting
  • Playland
  • Christmas boat cruise
  • Whale-watching

…and, of course, camp! The highlight of the year is a four-day, three-night camp at Zajac Ranch in Mission. Our Hearts of Gold youth come from all over the province to get together once a year to have fun and connect with other teens living with congenital heart disease.

If you would like more information, or if you would like to sign up to get emails about events, please contact:

Lower Mainland: Kristi Coldwell at chnheartsofgold@gmail.com

Vancouver Island: Megan Madsen at viheartsofgold@gmail.com

Hearts of Gold Youth Program

A group photo at the Hearts of Gold camp

Hearts of Gold gives opportunities for youth ages 13 to 19 to meet, learn, and have fun with other youth who have experienced growing up with heart disease.

There are two Hearts of Gold groups, one in the Lower Mainland and one in Victoria. Emily Deimling is our Hearts of Gold coordinator for the Lower Mainland, and Megan Madsen is our Hearts of Gold coordinator for Vancouver Island. They plan and supervise all events and help youth who are new to the group connect with new friends and become comfortable to ensure everyone has a great time.

If your child is between the ages of 13 and 19, contact us for more information and to add your name to our email list to receive information about monthly events.

"I have some great friends, and they really support me. But it’s different to have a friend who really knows what it’s like to grow up with a heart like mine. You don’t have to explain anything…they just know."
Hearts of Gold member

Fun Events

Some of the things Hearts of Gold have done recently include:

  • Going to the Extreme Air indoor trampoline park
  • Going kayaking
  • Going to the beach
  • Going bowling
  • Going to WildPlay Element Park
  • Spending an afternoon at circus school
  • Going skating at Robson Square
  • Spending an evening on a Christmas carol ship
  • Touring Electronic Arts
  • Attending Canucks and BC Lions games
  • Eating dinner out together
  • Going to theatre sports on Granville Island
  • Going to Playland
  • Spending a long weekend at summer camp
CHN Hearts of Gold group photo on the boat
Pudding fight at the Hearts of Gold camp

Educational Opportunities for Youth

Hearts of Gold youth also have opportunities to attend workshops on CPR and transitioning from pediatric to adult care.

Our biannual conference has a special education stream just for youth.

Volunteer Opportunities for Your Résumé

Hearts of Gold youth also have many opportunities to volunteer and build their résumé. These include:

  • Being a speaker for an education session or a conference presenter. Work with a team of youth to help educate hospital staff and parents about heart disease.
  • Being a peer helper. Link with other youth or younger kids who are preparing for surgery or who want to talk with experienced youth who have been there.
  • Becoming an email or Facebook friend to someone in BC who is stuck at home after surgery or someone who is unable to attend school because of their heart problem.
  • Attending conferences for very reduced fees. You may even meet a professional athlete or inspirational speaker.
  • Getting linked with educational or career opportunities, some of them free!

For more information and to join the groups please contact:

Lower Mainland – Emily Deimling: chnheartsofgold@gmail.com

Vancouver Island – Shae Mellors: viheartsofgold@gmail.com