Meredith Cooper, MS, CCLS, LPC and Melissa Hicks, MS, CCLS, LPC, RPT created Wonders & Worries in 2001 when they saw the need for more formalized psychosocial services for children who have a parent diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness. As certified child life specialists, Cooper and Hicks have attended to the psychosocial needs of children with cancer and blood disorders for years. Working in a hospital setting, they saw first hand the devastating effects a family member’s illness can have on the emotional well being of the entire family.
In early 2001, the Lance Armstrong Foundation provided generous funding to conduct a pilot support group for children who have a parent with cancer. Evaluation after the program’s completion showed that program’s support greatly benefited the children and families involved. By the August 2001, Wonders & Worries had filed paperwork to become a 501 (c) 3 organization.
Today, Wonders & Worries professional child life staff has worked with more than 1,000 families and 4,000 individuals affected by illnesses like cancer, ALS, MS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. The illnesses may be different, but the challenges our families face are the same. They fight to keep their families intact and maintain a sense of normalcy and stability for their children. Wonders & Worries’ comprehensive model of using child life specialists to help children cope with a family member’s illness is unduplicated in North America.
During the organization’s first decade, it became increasingly evident that children outside of Central Texas also need the crucial services Wonders & Worries provides. Our organization has received numerous requests from health care and mental health professionals worldwide to implement Wonders & Worries programs in other cities. In 2010 Wonders & Worries established an affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina. Another affiliate in Ottowa, Canada, opened its doors in early 2012. With a national expansion plan in place, Wonders & Worries has set the goal of expanding into five new communities by 2013.