We welcome 2023 in with some major announcements, Linda Hardy, our Executive Program Director, will be retiring as of February 10, 2023 after over 30 years of service to our children, families and volunteers. Join me in thanking Linda for her incredible work with Tu Nidito and wishing her the very best in retirement. I am happy to announce that Brigid Frasquillo will assume all program director duties, Serena Sahajian has been promoted to Bereavement Programs Manager, and Kristin Harrison has been promoted to Lead Support Specialist. These three dynamic individuals are ready to lead our programs into the future with steadfast commitment to our mission to create a community of acceptance and understanding for those who grieve. We are also welcoming Alanna Castro to the Tu Nidito family as our Office Manager and Lynda Stites as our Coordinator of Volunteer Services.
Richard Thompson has become Board Chair as we thank Aditi Gupta for serving as Board Chair for the last 5 years and through the many changes of the pandemic. Aditi has been a great partner in leadership and will continue as the Immediate Past Chair in 2023. We say goodbye to Board members, Miguel Cruz and Lisa Owens- Sredzinski and thank them for their service and support.
On the horizon for 2023 is a return of in-person events for our families and volunteers. We are looking forward to special teen nights, family gatherings, and volunteer workshops and social activities. We know building connections outside of the support group setting will add depth to the special bonds that are forged at Tu Nidito.
Speaking of getting back to in-person gatherings, we will host several fun special events this year alongside our sponsors and donors. Mamma Mia the Remarkable Celebration is set for Saturday May 13, 2023, under the stars at Tucson Country Club, honoring five incredible women while dancing the night away to the songs of AbbaFab. Dueling Pianos returns on Friday September 8, 2023 at the beautiful Arts Express Theater in Park Place. In October the amazing Flores family of El Charro and Don Guerra of Barrio Bread will host Day of the Bread in Celebration of Dias de los Muertos and Ambassadors will once again Ride for a Child in El Tour de Tucson 2023. These are just a few of the events we have planned to raise critical funds for Tu Nidito programs.
2023 will bring children and families together to receive the support they need as they grieve a serious medical diagnosis or death. We are grateful that each of you will walk this journey with us as we lift up those who are grieving.
Liz McCusker, ED
Learn about what to expect on your first visit by Bilingual Support Specialist Amerika McDaniel
Meet our Remarkable Moms!
Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider
Tu Nidito Children and Family Services is proud to announce the 2023 Remarkable Moms who will be honored on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at our signature event, The Remarkable Celebration. A Remarkable Mom is the heart of our community. Remarkable Moms exemplify qualities of compassion, kindness and resilience, as they share themselves with not only their families but with our entire community. Often times overcoming hardships of their own.
Laura Baker- Laura is mom to 20-year-old Jordan. Laura served over 20 years in the fire service carrying the message of women’s proficiency and ability amongst largely male ranks. Retiring as the first woman to serve as Assistant Chief, she led with her strength of physical and moral character having fought fires, nursed babies and saved lives through courage and kindness. Laura and her dear friend and colleague, Chief Cheryl Horvath, founded Camp Fury, the immersion program for girls with an interest in public service. Laura was married to the love her life, Jacki deHaro, who was also a firefighter and succumbed to occupational lung cancer in 2020. Laura, herself a breast cancer survivor, and daughter Jordan, were by Jacki’s side as she battled the disease.
Linda Hardy- Linda is mom to Sierra, grandmother to Colton, wife to Skyler, and mentor to many. Linda has dedicated her life for over 30 years to the mission of supporting grieving children and families. Her nominators all champion her for changing their lives as she created programs that gave them space to grieve. Experiencing the death of her mother to breast cancer at the age of 15 gave Linda her depth of compassion and empathy for those who grieve. In 2005, when Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, she showed grace and resilience throughout her treatment and maintained her sense of humor and optimism. Linda is exuberant, she feels with her whole heart, and she radiates joy. Linda will retire from Tu Nidito in February and is long deserving of this honor.
Ann Lovell – “Ann raised six children, two she birthed and four she inherited in a divorce. Ann treated all 6 children equally without any differentiation.” said her partner Tom Warne. Ann was there for every one of her children, never missing an event or an opportunity teach them a new skill. Her daughter shared, “she taught us how to be good humans”. Along with raising her children, Ann is an accomplished business woman and philanthropist. She is the chair of the Lovell Foundation which has provided over $9,000,000 in support of Pima County and statewide approaches to acknowledging, preparing for, understanding, and supporting families and community organizations as they engage with serious illness, end of life, and associated grief.
Sylvia Quigley – Sylvia is mom to Christopher and the widow of marine, Thomas Quigley. Sylvia and Christopher attended Tu Nidito for 2.5 years. As a single mom, Sylvia held down a variety of jobs while serving as an inspiration to Christopher. Christopher credits his mom for the man he is today. Sylvia became a Tu Nidito volunteer 6 years ago and continues to support Tu Nidito families to this day. She is a role model to all of her co-facilitators and the adults she serves in support groups. She readily shares how Tu Nidito shaped her experiences as a single grieving mother. Sylvia’s warmth, resilience and commitment in action define her. As her co-facilitator shares, “she gets it all – death and grief, life and hope.” Sylvia has maintained contact with her Marine Corps family and was selected as the Marine Corps League Chaplain. She also is active in church ministries and is always ready to jump in to serve and support those in need.
Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider – Laurie’s husband Larry shared, “Laurie is a wonderful step mother to daughter Elan and has spent her life supporting thousands of other children”. Laurie leads by example as a donor, a volunteer fundraiser and advocate for the causes she believes in. Laurie has served in leadership roles in dozens of organizations, always ready to share her wisdom and guidance, as she works to create better conditions for youth. Laurie has built strong relationships with the youth she has been involved with over the years and she is devoted to their success. Laurie’s commitment to service extends to our community’s foundational organizations like Tucson Medical Center and United Way of Southern Arizona. In more recent years, Laurie has become an advocate for honoring End of Life Care wishes after the somewhat sudden death of her father through her work with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and Hospice Giving Foundation of Monterey County.
It is difficult to share brief biographies of these Remarkable Women. Each one of these Moms has given of their time, treasures and talent to make our community better for children. We hope that you will join us at the Remarkable Celebration on Saturday, May 13th, 2023, to fully experience their lives as we celebrate them with their families and friends. Through honoring these women, you honor and support our community’s grieving children.
Did you know?
Death has an intergenerational impact. Among adults who lost a parent when they were growing up, 79% said that when they became a parent, they missed having the guidance of the parent who died. 80% said the experience was the hardest thing they ever had to face. Learn more here.