Restoring Resilience in Teens: Spotlight on Shadow’s Edge

Restoring Resilience in Teens Spotlight on Shadow's Edge

Guest Blogger, Garth Sundem from Digging Deep


Shadow’s Edge is the first FREE game designed to build resilience in teens with serious health conditions. In the game, teens 13+ are transported to the city of Shadow’s Edge where they have an opportunity to revive a city left dark and disrupted by a storm. It’s the players’ quest to find and write on journal pages and to express themselves by making graffiti. Through their self-expression, players bring vibrancy back to the city. Along the way, they have help — the Guardians of Disruption, Disillusionment and Discovery, who send players on missions to look inside themselves for answers to tough questions and discover wisdoms hidden in the city. As players heal the city, they heal themselves. And through in-game community, players can share their words and art with others, building camaraderie and understanding that they are not alone in their struggles. Reviving the city alone, teens can explore the issues surrounding their illness. Together, they can spread what they learn. At the end, they can look back to see how truly far they have come. That is Shadow’s Edge.

Learn more about the game at Digging Deep and Shadow’s Edge sites!

Related Articles:

Empowering Adolescents Through Journaling: Spotlight on Digging Deep 

Creative Expression in the Tech World


As Child Life Specialists we are always looking for creative ways to help our patients and families express themselves. Living in such a tech-savvy world, we can use smartphones, tablets, and music as a tool to help facilitate their thoughts and feelings.

There have been many creative videos done from the perspective of the patient. Talia Castellano made a huge impact on the world through her video blogs on dealing with cancer and her love for fashion and makeup. She was able to express her artistic side and feel a sense of normalcy in being a teenager. Her legacy continues on after she lost her battle to neuroblastoma on July 16, 2013.

Another great video that sticks out in my mind is Kelly Clarkson’s song, Stronger created at Seattle Children’s Hospital. It shows an incredible amount of resiliency that the children have as they battle through treatment.

A recent one that I came across was the cup song from Pitch Perfect. The patient, Carmen changed the lyrics to the fight and defeat of her cancer.

Families, friends, and loved ones can also express their feelings of coping with someone’s illness. It allows them to show their support in the virtual world in a private or public message. Think about how amazing the person receiving the message would feel.

So as crazy as I am, I created my own video with my two young boys today. It is dedicated to a dear friend of mine Deb Vilas, who is a leader in the child life field and battling breast cancer. She is always staying optimistic and uses humor as a great way to release her anger with her illness.

The creativity that can come from the tech world is endless. So what are you going to create with your patients, kids or just yourself? Have fun!

Benefits of Book Making with Kids

Creating a book is a wonderful way to help a person express themselves and process an experience. When I worked in the hospital, I helped the pediatric patients create books about their hospitalization. It was amazing to see the child’s story through their eyes. They would add pictures, art work and words to their book. Parents and caregivers also participated in this, as they also had a story to tell.

When a child was discharged, they could bring their book home and continue to process what they went through. It was incredibly empowering. They also had control over who they would share their book with.  Some even continued working on it at home.

Topics for a Book

  • New Sibling  
  • Achievement/Goal Met                                  
  • Marriage/Divorce
  • New Home/Moving
  • Death
  • Hospitalization
  • Traumatic Experience
  • Natural Disaster

It is really easy to make a book. Using scrapbook materials, construction paper, markers and crayons. You can also create it on the computer in a Word document or through an online photo company.

Here is an example of a book I made with my older son.IMG_0301

I’m a New Big Brother