Helping Austin Families Cope, Persevere and Heal
For 16 years, Wonders & Worries has helped Austin families cope, persevere and heal
By Lauren Jones, Austin Woman Magazine
For some, cancer or Crohn’s Disease may seem like an alienating diagnosis, but at Wonders & Worries, a nonprofit that has been serving the Central Texas community since 2001, families are supported every step of the way.
As the only nonprofit of its kind in the country, Wonders & Worries has the primary mission of helping children cope when a parent is diagnosed with a severe illness.
“We want to ensure that children and teens continue succeeding even though their parent is going through an illness,” says Development Director Lindsey Boyd.
From individual and group therapy sessions with trained child life specialists to family-focused fun events, Wonders & Worries is there to offer services through the duration of a parent’s illness. All at no cost to the families.
“Our child life specialists have studied disease and child development, so they are uniquely qualified to teach the kids about what is actually going on with their parent’s illness in age-appropriate ways,” says Boyd.
Demystifying Illness to Cope
Part of their curriculum is demystifying the parent’s illness and the treatment.
Communications Director Penney Berryman mentioned one family with three sons — ages 15, 12 and 10 — who came to Wonders & Worries after the mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“The parents sat them down to talk and, among other things, asked the boys to be more sanitary and not stick their fingers in the peanut-butter jar anymore because Mom was sick,” said Berryman. “After that, the youngest son stopped eating peanut butter because he thought he was going to get cancer too if he ate after his mom.”
“We forget how literal children can be,” added Boyd.
Raising Money to Serve More Families – Clay Shoot Fundraiser Oct. 20
While Wonders & Worries primarily serves Central Texas families, the organization is working to spread the word about the services it offers. Every year, Wonders & Worries hosts the No Worries Classic, a team sporting-clay event that raises money and awareness for the organization.
Founded in 2008 by Austinite Mike Reynolds, the event features 20 teams of five shooters who solicit donations and pledges. This year the event takes place Friday, Oct. 20. Register or donate online. The money the event raises goes directly to funding Wonders & Worries as it continues to help families in Central Texas grow stronger together.