April is volunteer appreciation month and we at Tu Nidito have so many amazing volunteers to celebrate. Our Board of Directors, who guide the strategy of the organization and provide oversight, bring their expertise to their service at Tu Nidito, helping to craft policies, raise funds and govern. We welcome Charlie Bowles back to the Board. Charlie has served Tu Nidito in a variety of Board positions over the years and we are grateful that he is returning to continue his service to grieving children, teens, young adults and caregivers. Charlie’s connections in our community are vast and he readily shares our work with colleagues and friends.
Our support group volunteers and facilitators are dedicated, empathetic and compassionate. They give of their time and their heart space to ensure that no child grieves alone. I often hear them say, “Coming to volunteer with these children is the most rewarding experience I have ever had.” I know that our children and their caregivers thrive at Tu Nidito because of our committed volunteers. It is a joy to see the connections volunteers make with our kiddos. They are always ready to listen deeply, reflect our client’s words and help them integrate their grief into their lives through facilitation of thoughtful program activities and meaningful free time.
Tu Nidito can not provide support to grieving children and families without these inspiring volunteers. And… we need more of you to help. For the first time in our history we have a waiting list for our Bereavement support groups. We have some innovative ideas to address those waiting but we can’t implement new programs without the support of volunteers. Please help spread the need throughout the community. We have a volunteer training scheduled for April 29th and we would love to have a full house.
As I close, I want to lift up two incredibly dedicated and loving volunteers, Tuesday Tom Messmore and Maria Schuchardt, who give of their time and talent weekly as Tu Nidito office volunteers, Tom fixes everything and Maria minds the library.
I am grateful for each and everyone of you and wish for many more volunteers just like you!
Liz McCusker, ED
What Tu Nidito Families Are Doing in April
April is the month for tackling big and complicated questions in Tu Nidito support groups. Participants are reflecting on questions about death and the words that are left unsaid. Every age group is working through the same theme.
Our Middles and Teens are writing their questions down and putting them in a can. One by one the questions are pulled from the can and discussed with the group, everyone shares their thoughts, there are no right or wrong answers. It is beautiful to watch answers unfold as the group members realize their shared experiences.
At the end of the month, families will be invited to connect with their special person with the Telephone of the Wind. The Telephone of the Wind allows one to hold a one-way conversation with their special person, using a disconnected telephone. While families wait to use the phone, they can paint river rocks with acrylic pens. They are welcome to write their special person’s name on the rock and share words of hope and encouragement. These rocks will become part of Tu Nidito’s inspirational collection decorating the property.
To close the month, our wonderful volunteer Bruce will create songs about each families’ message to their loved one. Bruce Phillips has volunteered countless hours in creating beautiful melodies that touch the heart of grieving families.
It is so special that April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, and we get to harmonize with Tu Nidito’s volunteers and make it a truly special experience for our families.
The Medical Executive Committee (MEC) at Oro Valley hospital surprised us by naming Tu Nidito as the beneficiary of their Doctor’s Day gift. The MEC, led by Dr Sally Vetter, decided to use funds, that would have provided Doctor’s Day gifts, to support local charities. Dr. Vetter shared, “The Medical Executive Committee of OVH chose Tu Nidito as our charity of choice this year because several of us have volunteered there over the years and have witnessed firsthand the amazing work they do to help our community heal, especially the children. There are 15 members on the MEC and we represent all of the physicians at Oro Valley Hospital in each medical specialty that provides care. I lead the physician staff as Chief.”
“We were so surprised and honored by this unexpected gift from the Oro Valley Medical Executive Committee” said Debbie Rich, Director of Philanthropy and Communications. “It was touching to learn that many in this community of physicians had volunteered with Tu Nidito over the years”. Cameron Lewis, Chief Administrative Officer, praised the work that Tu Nidito does for those who are grieving and shared how Tu Nidito has impacted Oro Valley hospital’s patients and staff.
Tu Nidito Support Specialists and Banner Diamond Children’s Social Workers team up for seriously ill children and their families.
As you know, hospitals were closed to anyone other than patients during the pandemic. This included our Tu Nidito team of support specialists who would have been visiting with their clients regularly throughout their hospital stays. Our team works with the children, their siblings and provided respite and comfort to caregivers during what could be long arduous hospital stays. During the pandemic the team scheduled Zoom visits with clients and families, but nothing compares to our in person one to one support for children with a serious medical condition.
We missed seeing our clients in person and our partners at Banner felt the void of not having our support for their patients.
I had a chance to talk with Jamie Sanchez, LMSW, one of the Oncology Social Workers at Banner, about our renewed post pandemic connection to their team and patients. Jamie has such a tough yet rewarding job. She shared that there is so much that is unknown for the children in her care. Oftentimes she builds long term relationships with her children and families other times her patients decline quickly and die while in the hospital. Every case is different, but for Jamie, the one thing she wants for all of her patients and their families is that they be connected to Tu Nidito. It was difficult for caregivers to reach out to Tu Nidito during the pandemic. Jamie shared that they just didn’t have the energy to set up one more appointment or make one more phone call.
Jamie was relieved when the hospital started opening up again. She could refer families to Tu Nidito and our support team would once again be able to visit during the hospital stay. This makes the connection seamless and the families quickly learn the resources for comfort, hope and support they have through Tu Nidito. Jamie believes there are also great benefits for children to attend support sessions at Tu Nidito, she shared the value of the Art room, the Imagination room and of course the Volcano room.
Jamie lifted up the importance of Tu Nidito’s support for her families, sharing that our team can spend more time with her patients and be there for them when they are not in the hospital. She would like to see the Tu Nidito team facilitating group activities during clinic time and one day resuming the Family Ties support group for children with a serious medical condition and their families. For now, she is grateful that we all can connect in-person, again.
Sneak Peek- The Remarkable Celebration!
The Remarkable Celebration honoring five inspirational women, Ann Lovell, Linda Hardy, Laura Baker, Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider and Sylvia Quigley, is coming soon! We are all very excited to honor these Moms, as we raise critical funds for Tu Nidito programs. Remarkable Celebration is our largest fundraising event accounting for more than 25% of our annual budget.
If you can not join us on May 13, 2023 at Tucson Country Club for Mamma Mia, you can still join in the fun by participating in the Remarkable Celebration Silent Auction – online. The auction goes live (insert link) on Thursday May 4th, 2023 at 5pm. Everyone is welcome to partake. In fact, we encourage to sign up early and bid often!
Thanks to our generous community businesses and partners we have some amazing prizes again this year.
Imagine: Your Winning Bid
Private Dinner and Beverage Pairings for Ten by Janos Wilder
Janos Wilder is a true Tucson culinary treasure. A pioneer of the local foods movement, Chef Janos has passionately explored and utilized local and regional ingredients since his earliest days in 1983. Now you and 9 friends can gain some of Janos' culinary knowledge and eat his incredible food. Dinner will be held in his new, private jewel box in downtown Tucson. Janos will personally prepare your 7-meal, with beverage pairings, right in front of you and your guests. Janos was a 2000 recipient of the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest, as well as many other accolades. This is a priceless opportunity, don't miss out!
Tee off in Monterey and a 3-Night Stay
Situated along the Big Sur coastline, the Monterey Peninsula is one of California's most iconic destinations. The Monterey Peninsula is also a world renowned golf destination. Picture yourself and one guest as you prepare to tee off with a round of golf, including golf cart rental, at both The Pebble Beach Links at Spanish Bay and Del Montel Golf Courses. Your Monterey adventure includes a 3-night stay in a golf course view room (King or Double) at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, minutes from the Regional Airport and a short drive to such world-famous attractions as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, Pebble Beach, 17-mile Scenic Drive and Carmel-by-the Sea.
Taste of Inde Overnight Experience
Inde Motorsports Ranch is a members only private raceway and motorsports resort located in Wilcox. Discover what it's like to be a member! This exhilarating experience allows for unprecedented access to the most exclusive motorsports club in North America. You will have access to the 2.75 mile road course. Seat time in one of its exotic sports cars. Personal high-performance driving instruction. In-car video footage. Concierge services with catered lunch and dinner. One night stay in a Luxury Trackside Casita and access to all other amenities.