Gloria Seidlin-Berstein’s Story
When Gloria Seidlin-Bernstein retired in 2011 from her position as the Director of Student Support Services for the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), she wanted to give back to society in new ways. Volunteering at Wonders & Worries was an organization at the top of the list. She had first encountered the organization when some students at TSD were dealing with a parent who had a life threatening or terminal illness, and the school counselors referred them to Wonders & Worries. The child life staff at Wonders & Worries accepted the challenge, incorporating a deaf student who needed sign language interpreters into their support groups. Gloria wanted to give back because she saw firsthand the impact of the organization’s work with her students.
Four and a half years later, Gloria still spends an afternoon a week volunteering at the Wonders & Worries office, performing a variety of office tasks. “Volunteerism isn’t just about giving,” she says, “it’s also about what you gain from the experience of volunteering.” When calling families about Season for Caring HEB gift cards, she listened to tears of appreciation when they told her it would cover over a month’s medication. When stuffing envelopes with the annual report, she read heartwarming stories of families who benefit from Wonders & Worries services. “It’s all quite remarkable,” Gloria says, “and it is marvelous to be a part of it, even if in an indirect way.”
It’s all quite remarkable, and it is marvelous to be a part of it, even if in an indirect way.
Gloria and her husband, Mark, were both teachers of young deaf children early in their careers, and are dedicated to helping children and young adults reach their potential and success. But Gloria feels a personal connection to Wonders & Worries for another reason besides her experience with young people: her father battled cancer from the time she was 12 until she was 24. The word “cancer” was never used in her home, and Gloria and her sister never had the opportunity to understand their father’s disease or work through their anxieties or fears. Now, Gloria watches as children at Wonders & Worries gain an understanding of their parents’ illnesses, a healthy way of relating to each other, and an extended support system. “If only Wonders & Worries had been available to my family!” she says.
Gloria knows that every family is impacted by illness at some time or another, so she works to contribute to the efforts of Wonders & Worries. “By donating your time and, when possible, your money, you can help Wonders & Worries sustain the exceptional services it provides,” she says. With the support of donors and volunteers like Gloria, there is hope that in the future Wonders & Worries can expand and offer more young children and their families the gift of enhanced communication, better coping skills, and strengthened family bonds during a challenging time in their lives.