1Voice Academy – Description

The 1Voice Academy is a grassroots non-profit project that will serve as the first school for children diagnosed with cancer in the United States. The academy will serve children from birth to eighteen years of age. In addition to academic support, the academy will offer programs and services for the entire family. The 1Voice Academy will be designed with the intent of creating a multi-purpose facility accommodating academic and recreational activities as well as psychosocial support. Our Philosophy is that the entire family is diagnosed, not just the child.

The school will provide a healthy, safe environment for children diagnosed with cancer and their families affected by the process of treatment. This space will provide interaction with others in their peer group and will be conducive to positive influences on their behavior, mood and their ability to cope with the affects of the disease.

The design of the property will provide a flexible, multi -purpose space that will serve the needs of the children in the Academy, as well as provide a permanent location for the 1Voice Foundation office and additional programs that we will provide including recreational therapy and support groups. We currently use the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Tampa in the evenings for our Family Support Programs and Bereavement Services.

Using design to create space where all ages will feel comfortable and welcome day and night. A space that may function as an elementary classroom in the day, might be used for music lessons in late afternoon and a small counseling session in the evening. Movable and adjustable components will be a key part of the design of the interior. Color and lightning will be critical, conveying the different use of color to affect academic performance and mood, to make the best selections for the students.

Another important factor in the design of space are the materials being used. They must be compliant with all health and safety codes, including the ability to sterilize all surfaces, as well as providing a non institutional feeling to the spaces. The goal of the design team is to give 1Voice Academy’s occupants the feeling of being at their home, while keeping the health of the users at the forefront.

The 1Voice Foundation has the support of the College of Education and the College of Medicine for our 1Voice Academy project on their campus. Ideally, USF students can participate in internships at our school to work one on one or in group settings. We would like to utilize students in the arts, music, education, nursing, social work and medical school to provide a full scope of services to our children while providing experience in the field for USF students.

Basic human functioning skills are compromised due to sensory deprivation from chemotherapy and radiation. The school would offer mental and physical stimuli in a non medical design. We feel that a healthy design will foster a healthy child. By interacting in this environment, designed to meet their needs, we believe there will be a positive influence in their mood and behavior.

Ideally, the students will interact with their environment, rather than conform to a traditional academic or medical setting. For example, bean bag chairs for children with bone pain as opposed to sitting in a traditional desk and chair, affects their behavior response. To have a setting where the design meets their needs and done in a fashion that doesn’t make them stand out is conducive to positive influences on their attitude and essentially academic performance. A wall with chalk board paint for graffiti and expressing feelings allows the students to actually react to their space and lead to psychological comfort.

Scope of care will include a day care area for preschoolers, an early education division, middle school and high school levels. The Academy will house a children’s cafeteria, coffee house for parents to gather, arts & craft area, music room, science lab, IT and computer center, rest area, play ground, a medical station and classroom areas for age appropriate academic study.

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