I’m starting to notice that slight shift in the weather that we all fondly call “fall” here in Tucson. It’s just a little cooler in the mornings and the evenings are perfect for time on a patio.
Here at Tu Nidito we have several traditions that mark this season beginning with our Dia de los Muertos nights. Our volunteers will join our families in remembering their special people through food, song and photos.
Then, during the first two weeks of November, Tu Nidito Board members and other groups will be donating and serving pies to our families at the end of their support group. This is a chance to build community, and also serves as a “holiday practice” for those who will experience this season for the first time since their special people have died.
If you have a group from your office, club or faith community that would like to sign up to supply and serve pies one night, please let me know!
I hope you’ll find that these fall traditions are an opportunity to use your reflective listening skills to bear witness to our children, teens, young adults and caregivers as they navigate this season while grieving.
Coordinator of Volunteer Services
As the temperatures cool, sometimes our stress rises. October brings festivals and spooky fun with November launching us completely into the season of holiday dinners and parties. The expectations from family, work and even our friends can sometimes be too much especially when grief is present.
This season try to focus on your five senses. When we notice our senses, we are practicing mindfulness which grounds us and brings us to the present moment. This can help calm us in times of tension or stress. You could even assemble a five senses first aid kit full of items and ideas to try when you’re feeling sad, angry or frustrated.
Here’s some items you could include:
Sight: a beautiful picture of nature or small piece of art you love
Touch: a smooth stone or something soft
Smell: an essential oil scent you enjoy
Sound: play a soothing song or nature sounds
Taste: a piece of candy you enjoy or gum or mints that grab your attention
A few bonus items for self-soothing:
Bubbles – blowing bubbles can help slow your breaths
Thinking Putty- slime with beads or foam or scented playdough can be relaxing to squeeze and stretch and can activate several senses all at once.
Thank you to the volunteers who served as a guest facilitator or substitutes during September and October – we are grateful to those of you who added a 3rd or even 4th group night to their schedule to ensure that our participants had the support they needed. And a huge thank you to those of you who came out of retirement to serve as mentors and role models to our recently trained volunteers.
On a recent Saturday morning I had the opportunity to meet with the youth from the National Charity League and their moms. The mission of the National Charity league is to build the bonds between Mothers and Daughters through philanthropic activities and leadership development. Our Tucson chapter has been volunteering with Tu Nidito for many years, but they had never experienced the work we do here at Tu Nidito.
I arrived at Tu Nidito at 9:30am to find a group of about 40 mothers and daughters gathered at the front door conducting their business meeting prior to their tour of the Little Nest.
I invited them inside to finish their meeting as our UA intern, Amber, and I prepared for the tour. We all gathered in the living room where we started our time together just as our Tu Nidito volunteers do in pre-group. We did a few grounding exercises and then began our introductions. This gave us the opportunity to talk about grief and how important it is to have open conversations. We passed the sharing stick and all those who wanted to share did so with their name and how grief makes them feel. Every participant was thoughtful and reflective.
Next, we split the teens and moms into peer support groups. Amber took the teens to the teen lounge for a sharing circle while I toured the moms around Tu Nidito. There were many “aha” moments as I showed them the volcano room, the imagination room, the art room and our group rooms. They gained an understanding of what happens for a child at Tu Nidito and how they learn to process grief through intentional activities and curriculum. As we moved to the playground, they spotted the Telephone of the Wind. When we talked about the phone’s purpose, one mom said she wished that she had one to talk with her loved ones who have died, especially her mom.
As we moved back into the living room, we realized that the teens were still in their sharing circle. That surprised me as it had been about 45 minutes. Amber reported that they embraced the sharing circle and were open about their own grief and the impact it has in their lives. They also asked a lot of questions to help them get a better understanding of how grief manifests in our day to day lives.
The teens toured Tu Nidito, as I led the moms through our sharing circle activities. These moms went deep fast, many exploring their personal grief for the first time. As they shared their stories, I saw connections, admiration, and understanding. The tears flowed as this group of women forged a deeper bond through their shared experiences.
Finally, we all gathered together back in the living room for our closing circle and reflection. Everyone was moved that morning as they connected with our mission and each other. They left with a new openness about grief, and I am certain they will be our ambassadors as we work to normalize conversations about grief in our schools and throughout the community.
The Tucson Chapter of NCL came up with many new ideas about how they can support our participants and are inspired to be of service. We are grateful for their support and willingness to have a Tu Nidito experience.
As we move into fall and enjoy cooler temperatures we are preparing for our Día de los Muertos celebrations. Every October our families come together to honor those in their lives who have died. We create an altar for our families to bring an ofrenda, sharing beautiful photos and memories and their loved one’s favorite food and treats. The evenings are filled with sadness and joy. Each participant is given the opportunity to share about their loved one.
I treasure last year’s memory of young Riley who went up to the microphone with his Grandmother to share about his Dad. He held his Dad’s picture up for everyone to see and proudly told about his time as a marine and how he became a Hero saving the lives of soldiers and getting a purple heart. Riley looked at his Grandmother for reassurance, but he was strong and confident as he shared. Special moments like these are cherished during our Día de los Muertos celebrations.
And they give us pause as we think of the 1 in 11 children in Arizona between birth and 18, who are grieving the death of a parent or sibling and that the number doubles when you include young adults. I am including this year’s Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model, to share why our work is so important for children, teens and young adults in Arizona.
During this time of celebration, we hope that you will honor and celebrate the loved ones in your life who have died and cherish the memories as we do with all of our Tu Nidito families.
What's Happening at the Nest...
It's in the Soup
At Tu Nidito, we often use metaphors to help our participants understand their feelings – this month we are using the metaphor of making soup to talk about grief. Through the books, “Tear Soup” and “The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup” our support group participants will learn how they can take all of their emotions, feeling and memories and put them into a pot of soup to help them honor their loved ones and all the important times they shared together. After reading the books and sharing in their groups everyone will gather together for wonderful homemade soup and connect their stories to their lives.
Later in the month of October, we begin our Día de los Muertos celebrations. Our participants are invited to bring an ofrenda and their favorite food to place on our altar. One by one families share about their special person. The night ends with sharing all the different kinds of food and listening to beautiful songs performed by our wonderful volunteer, Bruce Philips.
Many of our participants share that these October nights are when they feel the closest to their special person.
Nominations CLOSE November 3, 2023
Chosen Remarkable Moms will be Announced in January 2024
The Remarkable Mom Nominations OPEN!
Each spring, Tu Nidito honors mothers in our community who speak to the heart of our mission. These mothers also reflect the beauty and diversity of our Southern Arizona community. Whether it’s overcoming their own obstacles in the face of a serious medical condition or death, or making a difference in the lives of our community’s children, Tu Nidito’s Remarkable Moms are role models.
Please consider the strong, kind, loving and remarkable moms in your life and nominate them to be recognized and celebrated at Tu Nidito’s Remarkable Celebration, taking place, Saturday, May 11 2024.
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is October 16-22: officially the best week of the year to plan for your future, and the future of those you love. Have you explored Tu Nidito's
partnership with FreeWill and their free estate planning tool? Take action this week and see how your estate plan can bring peace of mind, for years to come:
We are welcoming our families back to group, after our summer schedule, by adding an additional night to our Children to Children bereavement support group program. The need for our programs is greater now than ever before and we are determined to grow to meet our community’s needs. We will have a full NEST every Monday through Thursday evenings.
We have made some changes to our team. Amanda Marks MSW, has assumed the leadership role of Program Director. Amanda has served Tu Nidito families for more than 15 years and we are thrilled to have her shift her role to leading our program team and guiding our support services. Kristin Harrison has been promoted to Assistant Program Director as she assumes greater responsibility in program operations, curriculum development, mentoring and outreach. We welcome, Celina Grajeda to the team as our Bilingual Support Specialist, working with all of our Spanish speaking clients and families. Celina will lead our Wednesday Children to Children Support Groups. Danielle Celaya, a former Tu Nidito participant and current volunteer has come on staff to lead our Tuesday CTC support groups and Anthony Cicchino will transition to staff lead of our Young Adult support group. I am grateful to have these additional team members help deliver our mission to the community.
This past month we have been honored to have teams from Banner, TMC and Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center tour Tu Nidito and learn ways to strengthen our partnerships. We hosted the Girls Mentoring Group from Goodwill for an afternoon of sharing and connection.
We celebrated the arrival of our long-awaited climbing structure. We are so grateful to the Tucson Conquistadores for making this a reality for our kids. Also, we are excited to share our very own Telephone of the Wind with our families. The Telephone of the Wind was the focus of our intergenerational summer curriculum stemming from the book of the same name. Family members are given the opportunity to make a phone call to their loved one who has died and share thoughts and feelings with them. For some participants this was the first time they found healing. One young adult shared that she missed a phone call from her father the day before he completed suicide and she never had the chance to talk with him. The telephone of the wind gave her the chance. She shared that it really helped her. Thanks to the help of some special donors and volunteers the Telephone is mounted and ready to use.
It has been a busy and gratifying summer and we are all ready for fall.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Here at Tu Nidito we know that everyday should be childhood cancer awareness day as more and more children are battling the diagnosis. Our roots are in the work of supporting children with a cancer diagnosis, our name Tu Nidito comes from one of our very first clients Jimmy Busey who battled a rare form of cancer and whose mother, Teri, created a “little nest” on the living room sofa, where he could rest and find comfort.
Today, children on a cancer journey are the primary focus of our Pathways program. Pathways is for children with a serious medical condition and their siblings and caregivers. Each family member copes with the illness differently. We tailor our support services to meet each individual where they are on their journey.
One older sister whose little brother has cancer found the support she needed through our Pathways program. She had a constant fear of her brother dying and this fear was causing nightmares and anxiety. With support from our Tu Nidito specialist she was able to articulate and process this fear giving it less control over her life. There is also the mother whose son has cancer and has spent weeks upon weeks in the hospital and finds support and comfort from our support specialist hospital visits and conversations. And of course, there are those children who beat their cancer and close out of our support services by sharing their heartfelt messages of love for those on our team who supported them through their journey.
We are also the support team for those healthcare providers who are on the frontlines with children who have cancer. Over the past year the Pediatric Oncology Team has experience so much death that they too needed our support. Our team was able to provide a workshop to help them open up and acknowledge and share their grief. This is something they had never done before. We will be back to support them in their time of grief and need.
Childhood cancer impacts our community and our families in so many different ways and our work is to be present, to listen, to support and provide comfort and hope along the journey.
We can't believe it is already back to school time for our Tu Nidito children and teens. We have enjoyed our family intergenerational group nights during the summer months. We are looking forward to resuming our regular program where children, teens, and their caregivers find the peer support they need to help them on their grief journeys.
We are also excited about our upcoming fall events. On September 8th, we will host Dueling Pianos, an evening of music and fun in support of our programs. If you haven't gotten your tickets - Hurry - they are selling fast! In November, we will return to El Tour de Tucson with our Ride For A Child team. We have 20 committed riders so far. We are hoping to build our team to 40 riders this year. Our riders are ambassadors for all of our Tu Nidito families, and we are grateful for their support. They ride with the purpose of creating a community of acceptance and understanding for those grieving a death or serious medical condition.
I hope you enjoy learning about our FreeWill partnership and our family programming in the articles below.
Did You Know August is National Make-A-Will Month?
Now is the time to join thousands of others in planning for the future and writing a will, with the help of our new partner, FreeWill.
Tu Nidito is committed to building a community of compassion and acceptance around death, to caring for one another by providing extra support and resources. That’s why we partnered with FreeWill, who share our vision that no child grieves alone.
With a legal will, you can approach the future with peace of mind by having a plan that communicates your wishes, provides for your loved ones, and sustains causes you believe in, like Tu Nidito. We’ve partnered with FreeWill to make it easier than ever to start your will and make your most important plan for the future.
With FreeWill, it only takes 20 minutes to make these essential life plans, and it’s free.
Last Make-A-Will Month, over 70,000 people trusted FreeWill to protect their loved ones’ futures and make bequests to causes they believe in. Join thousands of will-makers this Make-A-Will Month and make a difference for people and communities you hold close to your heart.
What's Happening at The Nest...
The board explaining each card of the Deck of Feelings.
Deck of Feelings
We’ve all had those slow summer days where all you needed was a deck of cards to have some fun. At Tu Nidito, for the month of August we’ve brought a deck of cards to our groups.
Deck of Feelings has group members take turns picking a card from the top of the deck. Each card, regardless of suit, corresponds to a question that the group member can choose to answer or not to answer.
A Three is “What do you miss about your special person who died?”
A Nine is “Do you ever have dreams about your special person?”
And an Ace asks them to tell any story they want about their special person.
The questions can make players confront some scary feelings, but they always get the group talking. One player realized that they'd stopped going swimming because that was what they used to do with their special person who died. Later, they decided it was better to start swimming again to remember their special person but also to have fun, which is what their special person would've wanted.
At the end of our family group night, we checked in with the kids and parents after playing Deck of Feelings. They said that it felt good to have this space and activity together for the Summer. They felt it was a safe space to share their grief and to hear from one another.
We discussed self-care, how important it was for children and parents to remember what they could do to make themselves feel better in their grief. Deck of Feelings reminded their moments of sadness could be helped by fun things like petting their pets, listening to music, or talking to a friend.
Welcome to the Nest, New Volunteers!
We would like to welcome our 15 new volunteers to the Tu Nidito team! They've already learned the ropes and are waiting to be assigned to their groups. If you're interested in volunteering, our next training is on September 30th. Email [email protected]or sign up below.
As I sit down to write this letter we are all anxiously awaiting the monsoon rains that will help cool our summer and relieve some of the stress that is brought on by this intense heat. We sure feel this for our families who are attending our summer intergenerational support group nights. Our team, led by Kristin Harrison, has developed some beautiful and cool ways to help our children, teens and caregivers express and share their grief. You can read about the newest activity below.
We are very grateful for our partnership with the Jewish Community Center! They are providing us with a wonderful meeting space for our Young Adult support group. The space is beautiful, with a stunning view of the Catalinas. Moving the Young Adult group off campus will provide us with an additional night to host a Children to Children bereavement group here at Tu Nidito. We currently have a waiting list (for the first time in our history) so we are eager to get this up and running.
To meet the growing need for grief support in our community, we need to train more volunteers than ever before. Our new Coordinator of Volunteer Services, Rachael Blackketter, has some innovative ways to engage and train volunteers. We are always looking for places to do outreach. If you have a business, community group or faith-based organization that would be willing to host an outreach event, please let us know. And I want to thank all the volunteers who are working with our families over the summer. So many of you have stepped up to fill in for vacationing volunteers which has been a tremendous support for our team and our families.
I would also like to thank some of our donors! Gadabout, Dental Pros, The Bourn Companies, That Hazen Family Foundation, David Lapan, and Jose and Adriana Rincon who are supporting our Dueling Pianos Event on September 8th at Arts Express Theater. I hope you can join us for this joy-filled event! Also, we are back as a beneficiary of El Tour de Tucson with a goal of having 40 riders on our team. I want to thank those of you who have already joined and encourage all our cyclist friends to Ride for A Child.
As always, our Tu Nidito team is honored to serve the grieving community and to have each of you supporting us.
Here’s to the Monsoon!
Meet the New Members of Our Team!
Welcome Paloma Sainz, our new Bilingual Support Specialist!
Paloma is an artist, a silly and passionately deep thinker of a person. She's traveled to many places in Mexico, South America, and the US. Her experiences have shown her different sides of humanity, both beauty and brokenness. This has fueled something in her to try to make the world a better place. Now, she pursues this endeavor with the rest of us at Tu Nidito.
Welcome Rachael Blackketter, our new Coordinator of Volunteer Services!
Rachael has spent her adult life in Tucson, and caring for others in her community is one of her core values. She has worked in support of children in foster care and rescue animals. She loves to read to children and has served as ground crew for children taking flight. She believes that volunteering is powerful - it's the reason she met and adopted two of her four children. She believes that volunteers can truly change lives, and she's looking forward to doing just that with our volunteers at Tu Nidito.
What's Happening at The Nest...
Full rainbow over the Sonoran desert.
Rain and Rainbows
This time of year, many of us have the same thing on our minds: rain.
We're all anxiously awaiting that beautiful and fragrant time of the year when the monsoons come pouring down, breaking up the heat, bringing new life to the desert, and cooling us all off. While we wait, we at Tu Nidito thought we'd bring the rain to our kids and families.
Rain and Rainbows is Tu Nidito's newest group activity, and it provides more than just relief from the summer heat.
When we talk about grief in our support groups, we like to say that grief means the thoughts, feelings, and actions we experience after someone special dies. Experiencing grief is very difficult. In our groups, we say that grief can feel like we are trapped in a dark cloud full of rain. It's with this in mind that we ask families to share their own experiences with grief, what they're feeling, what's been difficult.
While grief can feel like there is no end to it, we like to remind our children and families, that just like a dark rain storm, there is a rainbow at the end of their journey.
In rain, and in our grief, we can still look for rainbows. Rainbows can be a sign of hope. They are beautiful things that emerge during and after rain. They can bring happiness, joy and light to dark times. It's at this point we ask families to share something that makes them feel hopeful about the future.
After sharing and listening, we bring the group's attention to the giant inflatable rainbow in our Celebration Garden. This represents our hopes. When we turn on the hose and water comes out of the rainbow, this rain represents our grief.
We then invite group members, as families, to run through the water together and come out the other side feeling wet, maybe a little uncomfortable, but also feeling a bit happy, silly, and even hopeful.
Signage at the entrance of event
Don't Compare Tomatoes - A Grief Support Story
This story comes from Sophia Dunne, our Support Specialist.
What I saw, heard, and felt on the 6th floor of Banner University Medical Center felt like another world. A world where children are sick and tomatoes are the size of houses.
We walked through the sliding glass doors of Banner and to the back of the hospital where an elevator took us to the sixth floor.
A large mechanical door opened to the Pediatric Oncology Unit. We stepped through a hallway with curtains on either side. Behind each curtain, I saw the faces of children. They were all laid back in massive chairs, arms extended with IV bags alongside them. For the whole length of the long hallway, the curtains stretched, each one shadowing a child with cancer.
At the end of the hallway was the staff break room, where nurses, an oncologist, and a nurse practitioner gathered. My coworker and I introduced ourselves. We shared that we were from Tu Nidito, a place for children and families who are grieving a severe medical diagnosis or the death of a loved one. We even worked with some of the same kids that had come to Banner for treatment.
We introduced an activity we do at Tu Nidito with our families: Rock, Candle, and Elephant. This activity helps us verbalize and share our experiences and feelings, something very common at Tu Nidito, but felt missing in that staff break room. These nurses spent their days thinking about others’ feelings. The concept of sharing their own felt new and there was hesitation. “I don’t do candles and elephants,” one nurse said.
We began by passing the rock around the circle of nurses. They each shared something smooth and surface-level, like a rock. They shared how long they worked at Banner and their favorite part of their job. After the rock was passed around, we brought out the candle. The candle represents something a little warmer and deeper in us. Then the elephant took to the floor, and everyone shared their elephant in the room, their heaviest hidden feelings or experiences.
Table set up with Rock, Candle and Elephant activity.
After each item had passed through the circle of nurses, I was in awe of the people in this room. Everyone’s rocks, candles, and elephants were all out in the open, and it turned out they looked very similar. These nurses existed in another world, with a different definition of hardship, much different from the world I left when I got to the 6th floor. These nurses’ elephants were that they struggled each day after work, stepping back out into the world. Nurses shared the anger and resentment they felt toward their family and friends who complained about flat tires and dirty dishes after they had spent their day holding the hand of a child with cancer. A nurse shared she knew she wasn’t supposed to compare tomatoes.
This nurse used the term tomatoes to refer to individual hardships that we all have and that all look different. Everyone has their own tomatoes, even if it’s a flat tire, so we aren’t supposed to compare our tomatoes to others. Yet this nurse couldn’t help but feel her tomatoes were massive, obviously bigger than most people’s tomatoes. Heads nodded and tears spilled. These nurses lining the walls of this little break room on the 6th floor, all had enormous tomatoes.
I realized, while they were sharing, that their stories all had one thing in common: they loved each other, their coworkers. And their elephants all spoke of how much bigger they felt their tomatoes were than others who didn’t exist on the 6th floor every day. As I looked at these faces, and their rocks, their candles, and their elephants all out in the room with us, I shared my realization. We all have the same need for our co-workers' support and the same pains from seeing what only exists within the Pediatric Oncology Unit. That is support. To have each other, people who can nod their head when you share your heaviest and even darkest feelings, because they have experienced and felt these feelings.
That is the power of peer support, something we grow here at Tu Nidito. After giving themselves permission to share their elephants, my hope is the nurses working in the Pediatric Oncology Unit of Banner have discovered and felt the strength and comfort of being surrounded and supported by others with the same size tomatoes. Tu Nidito helps connect children and families together who have similar experiences. As I witnessed on the sixth floor of Banner and within our painted walls at Tu Nidito, there is so much comfort and relief to be found within others who understand our experiences and feelings.
Calling on New Volunteers
If you want to give back, now is your chance! Tu Nidito is accepting applications for volunteer Support Group Facilitators.
If you are a caring, consistent adult, then Tu Nidito can use your help. We’re looking for more volunteers to help in our evening support groups.
We will train you to facilitate discussions and activities for children, teens, young adults, and caregivers.
Apply today and join our next Support Group Facilitator Training on Saturday, July 22, 2023 from 9am to 4pm. Light breakfast snacks and lunch will be provided.
Summer in Southern Arizona always gives me pause as I think about our Tu Nidito kiddos and what and who they are missing as they embark on their summer activities. Every season impacts the grief journey. We try to keep our families connected through the summer months with monthly family support groups where the entire family spends the group session together sharing in family-centric activities.
In May, we hosted the Remarkable Celebration honoring Laura Baker, Linda Hardy, Ann Lovell, Sylvia Quigley, and Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider. It was an amazing evening under the stars at Tucson Country Club. Our guests were moved by each Mom’s story and their impact in our community. We also shared a clip from our new Hear Me video’s and heard from Jodi Costello, a grandmother who brings her grandson to Tu Nidito to forge his grief journey after the suicide death of her son, a purple heart veteran. The Remarkable Celebration is a special time to share the impact of Tu Nidito on the lives we touch. And it raises critical funds for our programs. This year we raised over $200,000 which will directly support our programs.
This month we welcome Rachael Blackketter, to our Tu Nidito team, as our Coordinator of Volunteer Services. Rachael comes to us from Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) where she served as the Volunteer Coordinator. She has years of experience in working with and training volunteers. We are excited to see how she will grow our volunteer programs and support services.
Speaking of Volunteers – we have a shortage! For the first time in our history, we have a waiting list for our Children to Children support groups. We are going to be adding an additional program night in August. Please share our volunteer needs throughout your networks.
Be safe this summer. Let’s all be aware of children near water and be prepared to assist if needed. Also, as we travel this summer, let’s be kind and respectful to everyone around us. Enjoy!
What Tu Nidito Families Are Doing in June...
Our new Jenga blocks and Rock, Candle, Elephant sharing activities.
Sometimes we have big feelings since our special person died or someone in the family has a serious medical diagnosis. For the month of June, Tu Nidito has created a special safe place for families and invites them to bring their open hearts and share their thoughts, their feelings, and their worries in some of our new activities.
Littles and Middles get to play Giant Jenga! Each block has a number that represents a question that ranges from light, fun questions to direct, deeper ones. Each of the kiddos grab a block, answer their question, and everyone is invited to offer their own answer as well. While kiddos are welcome to pass on the more serious questions, their answers to the lighter questions might surprise you.
In our first group night in June, one of our middles pulled a block that gave her the question, “If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?”
She said that she wanted the power to travel back in time. Her dad had died, and she wanted to go back to when he was alive.
Sophia, our Support Specialist, asked the middle, “Do you want to go back to change the future or to enjoy the past?”
And our middle said, “Both.”
This middle was usually pretty shy in group, still new and figuring out how to share. For children who have experienced a traumatic death loss, feelings of regret and guilt can be especially common, and we're happy this middle found a way to share through Jenga.
There are new ways for teens and adults to share the light and the heavy stuff too. One activity involves three items: a stone, a candle, and an elephant. They’re passed around teen and adult groups. The stone is for something easy to talk about, the candle to move deeper into conversations about oneself, and the elephant is to talk about things that we usually avoid talking about, “the elephant in the room.”
Easygoing activities like these can surprise you. Children, teens, and adults can find themselves putting their guards down and letting their truth come out. It can be surprisingly easy or surprisingly hard to share our feelings about death and grief. Sometimes all you can do is create the space and provide the activity, but what comes out might surprise you for the better.
Tu Nidito recognizes the families’ bravery to be vulnerable this month. We thank them for it and will continue to do our best in providing the comfort and support they need.
Another Amazing Teen Night at Tu Nidito!
Thanks to the Geiko Gecco for coming to May's Teen Night!
It's been awhile since Tu Nidito hosted a teen night, and we're happy to announce that it's comeback was amazing!
Put on by our very own Amerika, with big help from Brigid and Serena, 22 of our teens attended to eat, play games, tie-dye t-shirts, and play around with our special guest.
Geico was kind enough to send over the Geico Gecko, who passed out a bunch of swag and took photos with our teens!
We'd also like to give a big thank you to our amazing volunteers Lisa Antkow, Nelson Daou, Ricky Sanchez, Davya Cohen, Kathy Hager, and Rain Perez, who were a huge part of the success. We couldn't do it without them!
Tu Nidito's Teen Night is a night where our teens can, at least for one night, forget about grief and just be young.
In the midst of death in the family or an serious medical diagnosis, teens can often take on the role of a caregiver in their family and assume heavy responsibilities. The Tu Nidito Teen Night is a night away from that, where our teens get to meet peers their own age, have fun, and get the often overlooked support of simply acting one's age.
Tu Nidito is happy to be able to support its teens and bring back this night that's just for them!
Mr. Monkey and Elf - A Story from Pathways
A Tu Nidito Support Specialist has been working with an 11-year-old client who has a congenital heart disease.
She has been struggling wearing her oxygen mask and tank for a couple of months now. During one visit, though, our Support Specialist introduced her to Mr. Monkey and Elf, pictured left.
Mr. Monkey and Elf are the best of friends, and Elf helps take care of Mr. Monkey, who has a congenital heart disease just like the 11-year-old client. Mr. Monkey has also been struggling with wearing his oxygen tank and has to go to the hospital because of it.
Elf always asks Mr. Monkey why he doesn't wear his oxygen tank, and Mr. Monkey never shares why, he just ignores Elf. This makes Elf frustrated and sad because all Elf wants is to keep Mr. Monkey healthy by wearing his oxygen tank.
Our Support Specialist had the client draw on Mr. Monkey what she believes Mr. Monkey feels inside that he doesn't share with Elf. She drew a broken heart as well as an oxygen tank for Mr. Monkey.
Our Support Specialist asked the client why she thinks Mr. Monkey doesn’t wear his oxygen tank. She replied, she thinks he doesn’t wear it because he is embarrassed to wear it in front of other people. He is embarrassed of what other people might think or say about him. Our Support Specialist asked the client if she felt like Mr. Monkey too. She said yes.
Elf explained to the client and Mr. Monkey that they shouldn’t feel embarrassed about wearing their oxygen tank because it's what helps keep them alive and healthy and that if people have questions, and they are comfortable answering them, they can tell people why they have to wear their oxygen tank.
Elf then asked Mr. Monkey if it would be helpful for Mr. Monkey to wear his oxygen tank if after every successful day/night, he would get a sticker the next day as a reward. Mr. Monkey loved the idea and asked the client if she would want to do this too, and she said yes. The Patient asked our Support Specialist what happens when she gets 100 stickers. The Support Specialist said maybe after 100 stickers, the client's parents could give her a prize such as ice-cream or a toy.
The client and Mr. Monkey picked out their stickers from the art room and said they would try this out in hopes that this would help them wear their oxygen tanks more often.
Thank You to These Organizations for their Support!
We would like to thank these wonderful organizations and foundations for their support in the form of grants. Know that all of your funding goes directly into our programs and services, helping us ensure that no child grieves alone.
Hello, I’m Rachael, and I’m so honored to join the Tu Nidito team. I’ve only been on campus for a short time, but I already have a sense of how special this place is. As I walk the halls and through the patio areas, the gratitude and loving memories on display wrap their arms around me like a hug. The trees are filled with songbirds and butterflies that soothe me and invite me to stop and exhale. And then there’s the people welcoming me around every corner. It’s starting to feel like home.
I’ve spent my adult life in Tucson, and caring for others in our community is one of my core values. I’ve been privileged to advocate for children in foster care, care for rescue animals, read to children, and serve as ground crew for children taking flight. And I believe in the power of volunteering – it’s the reason I met and adopted two of my four children. I know volunteers truly change lives, and I know you, our Tu Nidito volunteers, are doing just that.
There are many opportunities in Tucson to volunteer, and I thank you for being brave and stepping into this sacred place to bear witness to our children and families.
In the coming months, I will be stopping by to join you at groups in the evenings as I continue to learn about you and the work you do here at Tu Nidito. Please reach out if you need anything – my door is always open. I’d love to hear your stories and how I can support you. I look forward to meeting you.
Coordinator of Volunteer Services
A Message from Brigid:
Dear Wonderful Tu Nidito Volunteers,
A new opportunity has presented itself in my life, an opportunity that is also a huge change. My husband Daniel and I have the chance to begin to live our lives a bit differently by spending extended periods of time in Seattle. We lived in Seattle while I attended graduate school and it is a place that holds our hearts. This started as something we dreamed about and we now have the opportunity to make it our reality. This means that I have decided to step away from Tu Nidito. This is a huge decision in my life and one that I agonized over for quite a long time. While it feels exciting to know that I will be starting a new chapter, it will be without Tu Nidito, and that feels deeply sad. Tu Nidito has been a part of me since 2007. My heart is here and I know part of it always will be. I hope I can connect with you all in one way or another before my last day of June 30. I deeply value you all, this place, and the work we have done together.
Head Wishes and Heart Wishes.
Director of Program Impact
For all of our volunteers who graduated in May - congratulations! We are so happy for you and proud of you!
Thank you to the three Geico volunteers who joined us for teen night
For volunteering at Teen Night and making it such a success!
Lisa Antkow, Nelson Daou Jr., Davya Cohen, Ricky Sanchez, Lorriane Perez and Kathy Hager
For subbing in nearly every support group during the month of June!
For Volunteering at The Remarkable Celebration!
Ava Stabbert Morgan McGurk Michelle Valenzuela Phoebe Carlson Ricky Sanchez Isabella DiPonio Tom Messmore Ivanna Sanchez Kathy Hagar and her husband Teena Sandstrom Pamela Traficanti
I had the opportunity to talk with Dina about her connection to Tu Nidito and the why behind her volunteer commitment. She is simply amazing! Dina has a MSW (Master’s Degree of Social Work) and 33 years of experience in the field of behavioral health. She currently manages an outpatient clinic for CODAC, but that is not what brought her to volunteer with Tu Nidito.
15 years ago, Dina’s husband died, and she and her three children found their way to Tu Nidito. The time they spent here changed their lives. They attended support groups for 4 years. Tu Nidito gave each one of them a sense of community, providing a sacred and safe space to share their thoughts and feelings. Her children, Michaela (26), Rachel (24), and Trey (22) loved coming to Tu Nidito. After group, they would go to Baskin Robbins and share their experiences and decompress. Tu Nidito became a family ritual for connection and healing.
Fast forward to pre-Covid, Dina found that she had some extra time and decided to return to Tu Nidito to give back some of what she got from her time as a client. She knew first hand the impact Tu Nidito had on her family and wanted to help others travel their grief journey with the support of Tu Nidito. She loved that each of her children had their special support group and that she too could get support from adults, just like her, who were grieving as they helped their children navigate their own personal grief.
I asked Dina what helped the most.
“I had a voice and people truly listened and heard me,” she said. “Life moves on and at the end of the day, there is no-one left but you.”
At Tu Nidito she found other adults experiencing just that feeling and powerful connections were made.
As an adult support group facilitator, Dina hears her voice in those caregivers she supports. Sharing that they too appreciate a place to gather, to be heard and understood. Her group attendees are so happy to be at Tu Nidito. Dina clarified, “not happy in terms of being happy” however still happy in a sense.
Dina’s adult children are still very connected to Tu Nidito. Her oldest daughter, Michaela volunteered with Tu Nidito prior to moving to New York. Rachel, her middle child, is a current volunteer, having just graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Public Health.
I am honored to share Dina’s story with you all. You can learn more about her and her work in this article.
Director of Philanthropy and Communications
Welcome New Volunteers!
Here is a summer list of things to do to decompress—and avoid the heat!
May is a busy month here at Tu Nidito. We are getting ready for our Remarkable Celebration, honoring Ann Lovell, Linda Hardy, Laura Baker, Sylvia Quigley, and Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider. We are excited for our Mamma Mia themed event, once again hosted by our friends, Jim and Vicki Click, at Tucson Country Club.
Our team at Tu Nidito is growing. Last month we welcomed Oliver Kammeyer to the staff, as our Manager of Philanthropy and Communications. Oliver is a Tucson native, having attended the Gregory School and UA. He completed his master’s degree in creative writing and spent several years on the philanthropy team at Easterseals Blake Foundation.
This month, we also welcome new team member, Sophia Dunne. Many of you might know Sophia. She has been a volunteer in several of our groups and just completed an internship with us. Sophia graduates this month from the University of Arizona with a degree in Public Health. She is looking forward to continuing to work with Tu Nidito children, teens, and families as a group coordinator and Pathways support specialist.
Over this past weekend we trained 18 new volunteers and welcome them to our Little Nest. Our work with grieving, children, teens, young adults, and caregivers is not possible without our volunteers. We are honored that these 18 individuals are joining our volunteer team, bringing the number of active volunteers to 139!
Have a beautiful month of May. Thank you all for being friends of Tu Nidito and helping us create a community of acceptance and understanding for those grieving a serious medical condition or death.
The Remarkable Month of May at Tu Nidito
This year's Remarkable Moms are Ann Lovell, Linda Hardy, Laura Baker, Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider, and Sylvia Quigley.
Children wait all year for Christmas, but at Tu Nidito we wait all year for May. This is a busy and exciting month for all of us, and even more so this year.
On May 13th Tu Nidito holds its biggest event and fundraiser of the year, our Remarkable Celebration! It's our own way to celebrate Mother's Day and this remarkable group of five wonderful mothers. For Abba fans, this year's theme is the musical Mama Mia. Be sure to buy tickets or check out our silent auction and the amazing gifts businesses have donated this year.
Speaking of fundraisers, Tu Nidito is once again the beneficiary of Enterprise Rent-a-Car's 33rd Annual Golf Tournament! On May 20th at the Lodge at Ventana Canyon, participating sponsors and players will raise money for Tu Nidito's services. Last year, they raised more than $22,000. To learn more or sign up, check out Enterprise Golf. We cannot thank Enterprise enough for their continued support and generosity!
We're also changing up our Teen Night a bit! Teen Night at Tu Nidito is an opportunity for teens in our bereavement groups to come and get to know some of our teen volunteers and others. Seven to nine pm on the evening of Friday May 19th, Tu Nidito will have pizza, Eegee's, games like cornhole, and a tie-dye shirt station. Thanks to our partnership with Geico, we'll also have a photo booth with the Geico Gecko! Please RSVP by May 17th so we can get your teen's T-shirt size, but make sure to come regardless!
It's not just events and our social events that make this May remarkable. We've also made some interesting additions to our curriculum such as a puppet show illustrating the importance of grieving, and...
Telephone of the Wind,
The Newest Addition to TN Curriculum that's Already Changing Lives
An unassuming and simple disconnected phone is all that's needed.
A therapeutic concept originating from Japan, Telephone of the Wind is for anyone who has lost a loved one. Tu Nidito brought this into our curriculum in April, and we can already see the profound effect it has on those that use it.
Telephone of the Wind has participants call their special person who died and have a conversation. Participants can tell their departed loved one something they wish they'd said before, tell them how life is going, or simply that they miss them. It's awe-inspiring the impact such a simple activity can have.
One young woman shared that her father completed suicide and that he had called her the day before he died, but she didn’t take the call. On her own telephone of the wind, she finally had the call she missed with her dad, and later shared that this helped to significantly ease her mind.
Many others at Tu Nidito find the Telephone of the Wind an enormous comfort, and this is just its beginning!
The Remarkable Celebration! Only 2 Weeks Away!
The Remarkable Celebration honors five inspirational women, Ann Lovell, Linda Hardy, Laura Baker, Laurie Nelson Wetterschneider, and Sylvia Quigley, and is getting closer! 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 these generous businesses and partners, we once again have some amazing prizes to offer you this year.
Just some of the amazing things you could win are...
Two-Night Stay at the Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale
Immerse yourself in the contemporary elegance at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale. A timeless lifestyle experience awaits at this eye-catching and imaginative AAA Four Diamond resort. The Phoenician invites you to soak in the splendor of unparalleled resort amenities with a two-night stay in a deluxe guest room along with dinner at Mowry & Cotton where you will sample bold, simple flavors of Modern American cuisine along with spirited drinks in a lively yet laid-back setting.
Two-Night Stay in Healdsburg Wine Country
Enjoy a two-night-stay at the Vallette Guest Cottage, along with the Vallette's VIP Chef's Five-course tasting menu for two, including gratuity, at this exquisite eatery located in the town of Healdsburg. This picturesque town is located in the Russian River Valley of Northern California, bustling with wineries, boutiques, galleries, and acclaimed restaurants. And Chef Vallette is nothing short of an artist. The plate is his canvas, and local produce and proteins are his paint. You will also receive one bottle of 2021 Valette Sauvignon Blanc and one bottle of 2019 Valette Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to enjoy with your dinner at Valette. Package includes Winspire booking and concierge service.
Seasonal Passes for Ava Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol
Enjoy each and every show and concert at Casino del Sol's Ava Amphitheater for its 2023 AND 2024 season at the Casino del Sol Event Center. Two season passes for both seasons will give you lawn seating to see some great entertainment from Rap & Hip Hop (Ice Cube on 5/27/23), Comedy (George Lopez on 6/27/23 and Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias on 8/26/23), Latin (Marco Antonio Solis on 9/8/23 or Jazz (Buddy Guy on 9/9/23) to name a few with shows being added for 2023 and soon to be announced for 2024.
As Spring blows into Tucson, we know some of our volunteers will drift to their summer homes: we thank you all for the many hours of love and compassion you have showered upon our families throughout the last few months and wish you safe travels. For those of you who brave the summer heat here in Tucson, we look forward to seeing you at our once-per-month meetings and we’ll make sure the A/C is up and running!
I have truly enjoyed getting to meet so many of you and am so impressed with your willingness to jump in and help with our groups, especially of late. We plan to have another volunteer training at the end of this month, so we hope to be able to get some more wonderful group facilitators going soon. I know you will all be terrific mentors to our newbies as they start to join your groups.
Don’t forget that our Remarkable Celebration is coming up on May 13. If you would like to help out while rocking to the sound of Abba's Mamma Mia and other hits, please let me know! We still have room for a few Dancing Queens on our volunteer roster!
Thank you all for being the most awesome volunteers in Tucson! We are so fortunate to have you!
Coordinator of Volunteer Services
Everyone who responded to Tu Nidito's increased needs for volunteer support by subbing and/or adding an extra group!
Thank you so much!
For Driving All the Way from Phoenix for each Thursday II Group!
For Hosting a Boxing Class for Tu Nidito Teens!
For Offering Your Comforting Presence at Future Grief Interventions!
Karen & Sarah
Best Overall Attendance from January Through March!
Entire ThursdayII Group
I had the opportunity to talk with Barnard about volunteering with Tu Nidito and what drew him to our organization. Barnard is studying to become a social worker because he is committed to helping people who are struggling. His focus is on clinical therapy and supporting families.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to do my internship than Tu Nidito,” he shared after his experience here. “I want to be part of their journey and healing. Humans are so unique and deal with their trauma in different ways.”
Barnard views Tu Nidito kids as courageous. He found it rewarding to see how strong they are and how willing they are to come to Tu Nidito and ask for help. “I am inspired and encouraged by the kids.” He believes he is a bridge between caregivers and kids, both can come to Tu Nidito and get the support they need. Caregivers have someone to be with, to share and to be heard, while their kids are in a safe space.
Volunteering with Tu Nidito gave Barnard the chance to look kids in the eye and earnestly say, “I see you, I am here with you, I want to know how you are doing.”
Barnard will be an impactful social worker; his compassion and empathy shine when he speaks about his work and his love of volunteering with Tu Nidito. Barnard and his wife, a resident at Banner University Hospital, are expecting their first child this year. Barnard will complete his degree and pursue clinical practice. Barnard, thank you for sharing your time, your talent, your wisdom and heart with all of us at Tu Nidito.
An Evening With The Little Ones
The support group volunteers began gathering in the big living room of the ranch style brick house on Mountain Avenue at sunset, finding their seats and greeting each other warmly. “Tu Nidito,” your little nest, feels like home. The leader of tonight’s group of volunteers, Brigid, handed out a list of the kids who were coming and what afflicted their special persons, their parents, their family members: Pancreatic cancer. Inoperable. Stroke. Died. Lung cancer. Metastasized. Liver failure. Motorcycle accident. Life support. Lymphoma. Breast cancer. Bone cancer. Ovarian Cancer and on and on and on.
Under a colorful mural of a storybook tree with a bird’s nest, three volunteers sat together on one of the big sofas, studying the list, recognizing names. Behind their heads, on the mural, I noticed one small bird, forever leaving the nest, soaring into a radiant sky.
The volunteers didn’t say “passed away.” Or “left us.” The child’s special person’s never coming back. There’s no ambiguity. Death is real here, where the mantra is “trust the process.” Coached, and ready, the volunteers headed outside to welcome the arriving adults and kids gathering outside under the lights by the basketball court. A 12-year-old boy, losing his dad to a cancer, swings in the swing set and laughs with his new friends, twins sliding down the slide who just moved here so their single mom could be closer to chemo treatments. A fatigued mom, her hairless head covered with an elegant scarf, high fives her boys.
Hi, hi and hello. After the children were broken into groups by age, the “Littles,” “Middles” and “Teens” followed their shepherds to their assigned cozy rooms furnished with fat, worn sofas, big cushions, beloved stuffed dolls and colorful murals. The group I joined opened with the “Check-in.” A toy magic wand “talking stick” was passed from small hand to small hand. Every child tells us their name and everyone in the room welcomes them by name. And then the child says, “My special person is my mom.”
Everybody: “Your special person is your mom.”
“My special person has cancer.”
Everybody: “Your special person has cancer.”
“I feel sad and tired.”
Everybody: “You feel sad and tired.”
And as the wand was passed, unfathomable sadnesses were shared and silliness, too, followed by awkward silences and laughter and fidgeting and story time. And the “Middles” made tissue paper flowers and took turns answering tonight’s question, “how do you show you care?” while in the next room over the “Littles” talked about “what can we do to help when someone feels sad?” while in another teens sorted out how to talk about death with their special person. Down the hall a small group of parents with serious medical conditions talked about writing to their child in the future. One asked, “How do we tell the kids no Disneyland this year?”
Only their peers really understood what they were going through. Only their peers knew.
I wondered where the time went as I watched the children playing outside, waiting for their rides. When everyone was ready to go, Sophia, the leader that night, asked them to stand in a circle. “Anyone have a special person to remember?”
Small hands went up. Two special persons who died were remembered with a moment of silence. “Do we have any birthdays?” A hand went up. We sang happy birthday.
“Hold hands with the people in your family who are here tonight.” Everyone held hands and hugged and when Sophia asked them to “clasp your hands over your hearts,” everyone did. “Hold onto the love and support you found here tonight and say, ‘I got it.’” Everyone said “I got it.” Including the “Little” standing by her mom who clenched her hands tight enough to make a diamond.
The volunteers regrouped to discuss whether or not that night’s prompts worked or if anyone saw any breakthroughs. “One of my ‘Middles’— who never talks— opened up to the group about her dad’s brain cancer tonight.”
When it was my turn, I babbled at the volunteers that I’d never seen anything so powerful...so emotionally touching...and...when I was 23 my special persons, my parents, had died a month apart from cancer and tonight at Tu Nidito I’d been blessed, honored, to return to the familiar world I’d known from the time I was 7…to share a sacred space with these amazing children, a safe place made holy by all of you empathetic, healing, compassionate volunteers.
I sat back, exhausted. The volunteers smiled at me. They were accustomed to children opening up.
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.