2021 Remarkable Volunteer: Anthony Cicchino

Anthony Cicchino

2021 Remarkable Volunteer

Anthony is a dedicated and passionate Tu Nidito volunteer. He facilitates support groups with great care, while also furthering Tu Nidito’s mission in other personal and professional spheres. As 1 of over 115 Tu Nidito volunteers, he was selected by peers and staff to receive this honor. Read more about Anthony and watch the recording from his award presentation at Tu Nidito below!
Anthony Cicchino was born in New Jersey but has called Arizona home for the past twenty years. He works in the field of education as a curriculum developer, and enjoys working with and learning from different groups of stakeholders. He also appreciates being the Youth Task Force Leader for Help and Hope for YOUth, presenting on mental health and self-care for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), writing poetry, and pursuing his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction.
 
Regarding his time at Tu Nidito, he says,
“I became a volunteer at Tu Nidito after they presented at my workplace. The passion, dedication, and energy they give the community of Tucson emanated from the presentation and drew me in. I started with one group, Middles, and was quickly drawn in by the welcoming staff, the wonderful families, and the inspiring youth. The Middles amazed me in their ability to be so articulate with difficult emotions. I soon after became involved with a Teen group and the Young Adult Group. My time at Tu Nidito has provided me with some of the best and most genuine memories of my life, and I feel grateful to be able to participate in a local organization that is truly making a lifelong difference in the lives of so many. I know what I do is valuable because of the energy I feel from families and children each night; it’s almost tangible.” 
 
In July of 2020, Anthony wrote an article about his experience volunteering at Tu Nidito. It was featured on Channel Kindness, a digital platform created by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Read his article here:
 
Thank you, Anthony, for providing excellent support to Tu Nidito’s children, teens and young adults, and for carrying Tu Nidito’s mission with you wherever you go!
 
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Tu Nidito, click here

Meet Tu Nidito’s 2020-2021 Remarkable Moms!

Meet the Moms

Tu Nidito’s 2020 – 2021 Class of Remarkable Moms!

What is a Remarkable Mom?

A Tu Nidito Remarkable Mom is someone whose life and community contributions speak to the heart of Tu Nidito’s mission. Each year, a select group of mothers are celebrated among friends and family at Tu Nidito’s signature fundraising gala, The Remarkable Celebration, which raises essential funds to help ensure that no child grieves alone. As our community navigates unprecedented grief, Tu Nidito is able to serve and support Southern Arizona’s grieving children and families, thanks to the generosity of our REMARKABLE community. 


After the cancellation of this annual gala in 2020, we are looking forward to coming together on May 8, 2021, with even more to celebrate at The Remarkable Celebration: A Night Under the Stars! 

Learn more about the upcoming hybrid (in-person/virtual) event here. Virtual attendees will enjoy live raffle prize drawings, special tributes, guest appearances, and of course, the highlight, a live honoring of our Remarkable Moms. 

See our full list of event sponsors here

Without further ado, meet this year's Remarkable Mom Honorees!

Donna Crawford

A Legacy of Giving

Donna Crawford is a Tucson transplant originating from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. However, this hasn’t stopped her from being fiercely devoted to our community since she and her husband Mike made Tucson their home in 2004. From an early age, Donna’s mother inspired her to do as much as she can to help others with her time, gifts and talents. And now, as a mother to her three wonderful children, Emily, Jack and Molly, Donna is proud to see her mother’s legacy transcending time, as this tradition of giving is emulated in her own children. Donna glows with pride to see her children thrive and succeed not only professionally and academically, but in their character as they become amazing and generous young adults. Tu Nidito was fortunate enough to have Donna’s vision and leadership for the Remarkable Celebration, serving as chair of the silent auction for seven years and three years as the event chair. She has served Tu Nidito in many other capacities as well, including as an executive board member. But, her work in the non-profit world doesn’t end there. Donna has helped improve the lives of children in our community through her dedicated volunteer work with the Tucson Ladies Council, The Christina Taylor Green Memorial Foundation, First Tee of Tucson, and Angel Charity for Children, to name a few. Above all else, Donna serves her family, friends and community with a spirit of gratitude – seeing each and every day as remarkable in itself.

Make a donation to Tu Nidito in celebration of Donna here.

Serena Jain Scott

“Head Up and Hair Free”

Serena Jain Scott approaches her roles as mother, physician, educator, leader, and now after being diagnosed with breast cancer, patient, with the highest levels of dedication. Serena serves at Banner-University Medical Center where she practices as an Internist. She holds a faculty position as Assistant Professor of Medicine as well as a number of leadership and educational roles. Serena is well-respected in her field but her greatest joys are the roles of mom to her son Remy, age 3, and wife to her husband, Aaron. As a new mom Serena faced the unthinkable when she felt a lump and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer before Remy was even 2 years old. Serena’s life seemed to spin in an unplanned direction, yet she persevered with an infectiously positive attitude, always remembering that her diagnosis is just a chapter in her life, not the whole story. Throughout her treatment journey and after losing all her hair to chemotherapy, Serena’s motto has been “Head Up and Hair Free.” She continues serving as a mentor to medical students and residents, always challenging them to be not only better physicians, but better human beings. All the while, she remains enthralled with the “artistry” of motherhood; her role in shaping Remy into the young man he will become. She successfully models life as a working mom, while openly and honestly discussing the challenges that come with it. Through it all, Serena demonstrates profound empathy, and humanism. Her peers and co-workers state that she is a true role model, which she is—most of all to her son who absolutely adores her.

Make a donation to Tu Nidito in celebration of Serena here.

Kirsten Cloutier Grabo

The Dignity of Risk

Kirsten Cloutier Grabo is a proud member of the Tucson community, caring for friends, family and strangers in a diverse set of ways. As a former baton twirler and current coach for the Pride of Arizona marching band, she is ever growing in her role as a coach and mentor. She also works at the UArizona helping future scientists embark on careers and educators and researchers in the field of neuroscience. In 1994, while working for ReSolve, Inc., she collaborated with local nonprofit agencies to establish the nation’s first national Diaper Bank. Kirsten’s success in uplifting her community has always been profound, even in the face of grief. In 2014, she experienced the sudden death of her husband, John, due to leukemia. Around the same time, both of their sons, Beckett and Brady, were diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) for which there was no known treatment until 2016. Thanks to new medications and treatments that slow the progression of SMA, Kirsten has tremendous hope for her boys’ futures. Throughout her unique and multifaceted grief journey, Kirsten lives a joyous life, giving her sons the “dignity of risk.” Her demonstrable hope encourages Beckett and Brady to lead full, engaging lives. Her sons, friends and colleagues all look up to her. Kirsten’s life is a testament that each day is a gift and that there is power in fighting for the people you love.

Make a donation to Tu Nidito in celebration of Kirsten here.

Ellen Yasmer

Never Too Late

Ellen Yasmer is a mother to two fantastic adult children, Emily and K.C. She cherishes her grandsons Logan and Sawyer, as well as her amazing son-in-law, Adam. Ellen has made incredible contributions to our community over the years, volunteering her time with the Junior League of Tucson, Southern Arizona Dental Auxiliary, and the Tucson Festival of Books. She proudly served the Tucson Jewish Federation escorting Holocaust survivors to speak at various schools in Southern Arizona. Ellen’s desire to give back is inspired by her own experiences with grief, which began when she was just 10 years old when her father died tragically following a warehouse explosion. Years later, her mother died suddenly from a heart attack following an elective surgery. Ellen was devastated by grief once again when her husband died during an outpatient cardio catheterization when he was just 51 years old. Her life experiences have made Ellen not only familiar with death, but the emotions that come with a sudden death. She notes that her volunteer work with Tu Nidito has helped her navigate the unfinished business that remains when people die. Her favorite part of each month are the days she comes to Tu Nidito to do activities and support grieving children. In the midst of her grief, Ellen also started The Tucson Cinema Club – a movie group for divorced and widowed friends. Because of the support of her community, she understands loss in a new way that honors her 10-year-old self, recognizing that it’s never too late to grieve.

Make a donation to Tu Nidito in celebration of Ellen here.

Community Ofrenda: A Día de los Muertos Celebration

Community
Ofrenda

Virtually celebrating Día de los Muertos (Day of The Dead) at Tu Nidito

This time of year holds special meaning at Tu Nidito as we observe Día de los Muertos/Day of the DeadWe have developed our own unique tradition around this day to celebrate and honor the special people in our lives who have died. Typically, our families gather for a colorful evening to share reflections about those special people. While we can’t have this celebration in-person at Tu Nidito this year, our program team has been hard at work coming up with meaningful ways to recognize this day over Zoom with Tu Nidito families.

Among their support group, each family is invited to share about their special person who has died; who they are, what they love and miss about them, and any stories and memories they’d like to share. Then they have the opportunity to share any photos or mementos of the person. The celebration also includes live guitar playing and singing from our beloved volunteer, Bruce, as well as a special candle lighting ceremony.

To bring a sense of unity during this season that we so deeply cherish, we decided to create our own community Ofrenda or Memory Table at Tu Nidito. In short, an Ofrenda is a beautiful culmination of photos and mementos to remember and honor loved ones who have died. If you’re interested in the meaning behind each component of the Ofrenda, or you’d like to put one together yourself, check out this informative “how-to” video led by our Support Specialist, Diana.

Over the past few weeks, we have built an overflowing Ofrenda by collecting names, stories, and photos of loved ones who have died. We asked our familiesvolunteersRemarkable Momsboard members, and staff to contribute as they see fit. We hope you enjoy the final result—a very special display to honor and remember some very special people.

Join us in ensuring that no child grieves alone in Southern Arizona. Make a tax-deductible donation today to support children and families grieving the death of a loved one or a serious medical diagnosis.

Meet Our Support Specialists

Tu Nidito's Support Specialists

Meet the team!

Tu Nidito’s Support Specialists/Groups Coordinators are trained professionals who carry out the mission of Tu Nidito each and every day. Their role is to support families, children and young adults who have experienced the death of a loved one or a serious medical diagnosis. Sometimes, this means that they meet with children individually to work through feelings and thoughts that surround their grief. This is done through meaningful play, activities, and exercises to build new coping skills. These professionals also coordinate monthly bereavement support groups, leading volunteers and families in an evening of peer-to-peer support with specialized curriculum and intentional play. 

Support Specialists are trained and experienced in the field of grief as it related to death loss and medical diagnoses. They walk alongside families, children and young adults providing emotional support in their time of need.
 

Read more about each of our Support Specialists below!

Meet The Support Specialists: Q & A

Tell us what you do!

I work one-on-one with families who have a child with a serious medical condition, and I coordinate our bereavement support groups. Also, I am the Young Adult Bereavement Support Group Coordinator*.

*Read Serena’s story about how she got her start at Tu Nidito here.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part about working at Tu Nidito is being able to connect with the families – getting to know them, playing games, working on art projects, and doing other fun activities while simultaneously helping them talk and process through some pretty big feelings.

What inspires you to do this work?

Having a personal experience with serious illness and death loss, I feel inspired to do this work because I know how helpful it was for me when I was in need of support. I am also constantly blown away by how vulnerable and brave the kids I work with are, and that inspires me all the time.

Fun Fact:

I play the cello!

Tell us what you do!

I am the Bilingual Support Specialist and also a Group Coordinator for our bereavement support groups.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of working at Tu Nidito is that I get to meet a lot of people and create a safe space for them to express their emotions and get help.

What inspires you to do this work?

My inspiration to continue doing this work is seeing the incredible community and support that is created between the families and their connection with Tu Nidito. They are able to meet other families and learn that they are not alone in their grief.

Fun Fact:

I love heavy metal and I play the drums. People are usually surprised when they learn this about me!

Tell us what you do!

As the Assistant Program Director, I develop curriculum for Tu Nidito’s support groups. This consists of our talking circle questions and activities. I also coordinate the support group for Children who have a Parent with a Serious Medical Condition as well as the Thursday II Bereavement Support Group. In addition, I help supervise Tu Nidito’s One-on-One Program for families who have a child diagnosed with a serious medical condition. 

What’s your favorite part about your job?

Our model. I had never experienced anything like the Tu Nidito model until I began as a volunteer in 2008. I fell in love with it immediately and understood how powerful it was in the grief process.

What inspires you to do this work?

I truly believe in Tu Nidito’s model, mission and vision. I’ve never quite felt that way about other types of professional work I’ve done in the past. Because I deeply believe in the work that I do, and because I see the positive impacts our model has on families, volunteers, and community members every single day, I feel inspired to do this work as long as I can. 

Fun Fact:

I was lucky enough to marry my best friend from childhood. We’ve been together for almost 15 years and married for 5.

Tell us what you do!

I am a Support Specialist who works with children who have a serious medical condition and their families. I also coordinate support groups for grieving children and their families.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of working at Tu Nidito is “playing” with children and seeing how they find hope and healing through fun and interactive activities. In the 10 years I have been working at Tu Nidito, it has been less of a “job” and more of a passion to connect with and support so many wonderful families in our community. 

What inspires you to do this work?

What inspires me is seeing the wonder and resilience of the children I am honored to support as they go through really difficult times in their lives.

Fun Fact:

I have a 32 year old son and an 11 year old adopted daughter. She keeps me young and makes life so fun!

Interested in one of our programs?

Please fill out this contact form or give us a call at (520) 322-9155.