CoachArt Expands to Serve San Diego Families Impacted by Childhood Chronic Illness

 In News, San Diego

Free arts and athletics are available for kids impacted by chronic illness as CoachArt expands to serve San Diego families.

Chronically ill kids in San Diego have access to free mentoring in arts and athletics now that CoachArt, a non-profit organization, has begun offering services to California’s second-largest city. Families impacted by childhood chronic illness residing in the San Diego area are invited to register for CoachArt programs.

CoachArt matches volunteer coaches with chronically ill children and their siblings, ages 5 to 18, for free one-on-one or group lessons. The organization, founded in 2001 by Leah Bernthal and SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie, also serves families in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.


“Thanks to a great partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital, we’ve been meeting a lot of San Diego families who could benefit from our services,” said CoachArt senior program manager Emily Coldiron, who oversees the organization’s San Diego programs. “We’ve had great participation in our Family Day, bowling night, cooking club, yoga workshop, and book reading, with much more to come.”

CoachArt providing mask-making craft room at Rady Children's Hospital's annual "Art from the Heart" event.

CoachArt providing a mask-making craft room at Rady Children’s Hospital’s annual “Art from the Heart” event.

In families served by CoachArt, at least one child has a chronic, physical illness or condition that requires ongoing treatment, such as arthritis, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, kidney failure, Spina Bifida, craniofacial anomalies and various orthopedic disabilities, among other conditions.

Since 2001, CoachArt has successfully matched more than 10,000 students in private and group lessons. All materials for the lessons are provided by CoachArt and there is never a cost to the family or the volunteer.

In 2018, the organization launched CoachArt Connect, an online platform that enables volunteers to find compatible families near them. Coordinating such matches used to require hours of staff time, but thanks to CoachArt Connect, this matching process requires very little staff time. The increased efficiency of the matching process gives CoachArt the opportunity to scale its services to reach more families; San Diego is the first new city in that expansion.

“Launching our services in San Diego is helping us to create a model for expansion to other cities,” said CoachArt Executive Director Greg Harrell-Edge. “We intend to expand to a total of 10 cities over three years, and San Diego is our first.”

The local professional community has a key role in the expansion. CoachArt is recruiting accomplished individuals to join its San Diego Advisory Council & Ambassadors. Members join a LinkedIn group that advises CoachArt on strategic issues, and use their networks to raise awareness and funding. Interested parties are invited to apply at

For more information about CoachArt’s services in San Diego, visit or call 619-378-7269.

CoachArt In Home Lessons for Kids and Teens Impacted by Chronic Illness in California.


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