Hand to Hold

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Leading Social Change
by Kelli Kelley 


As the run for the White House heats up and the candidates take center stage in debate after debate, we are faced with the arduous task of deciding who is the right leader for our country. Who has the leadership skills, integrity and vision to tackle the seemingly unsurmountable problems we are currently facing from a crippled global economy to eroding education and healthcare systems?

Interestingly it is often the nonprofit sector that must shoulder the burden created by these staggering social problems, and it is going to take a new kind of nonprofit leader to do more than feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, but create new approaches that solve underlying issues causing those problems. That is the fundamental difference between charity and true social change.

In Reinventing the Nonprofit Leader, Nell Edgington challenges nonprofit leaders to recognize their critical role in the economy, the community and the solution. She encourages us to confidently gather and lead an army of people and resources necessary to create true social change.

For Hand to Hold, that social change is the delivery of psychosocial support for NICU families. We understand that by pioneering and championing fundamental changes in the delivery of mental and emotional health during the antepartum period, throughout a NICU stay and after hospital discharge, we help improve outcomes for medically fragile babies and their families. In turn this helps mitigate long lasting social challenges, including higher rates of divorce, child abuse and mental health diagnoses such as anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD. ...continue reading

Kelli Kelley Named to Huggies Nursing Advisory Council

Kelli in NICU 325.jpg

In December 2015, Hand to Hold Executive Director Kelli Kelley was named to the Huggies Nursing Advisory Council. Together with the Huggies brand, she will aid the council in identifying opportunities to provide resources that recognize nurses' contributions and help them perform their best. The council will also offer ongoing guidance and information to nurses about protecting newborns’ – particularly preemies’ – fragile skin.

"I am so honored to serve as the parent voice on the Huggies Nursing Advisory Council," says Kelley. "I was unable to hold and touch my micro-preemie son for more than six weeks, who was born weighing just one pound and eight ounces. Changing his diaper for the first time was a powerful, emotionally charged event. I was terrified I might hurt him, but his nurse lovingly and professionally coached me, as we had to carefully maneuver multiple pieces of medical equipment and use extreme care with his delicate skin. I hope through my service on the council, I can help nurses understand and embrace their important role in helping parents become confident care givers and prepare them to meet the needs of their medically fragile child."  

More Good Stuff

Correction: In our last newsletter, the article Birth Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was wrongly accredited. The correct author is Andrea Mullenmeister. 

26 Acts of Kindness for Preemie Moms

hearts and flowers 100.jpgOne of the most common questions we receive is, “My friend had a preemie – how can I help?” Being a NICU parent is likely something to which many people cannot relate. Here are just a few ideas for how you can help the preemie mom in your life.

Mourning a Different Kind of Loss

maternity shirt 100.jpgIt's not uncommon for a preemie mom to grieve the loss of the typical pregnancy experience. Guest blogger Anna Shuld tells the story of her son's birth and the emotional pain that came with missing out on the final trimester of her last pregnancy.

NICU Friends Who Become Forever Friends

friends 100.jpgThe NICU can be a very lonely and isolating place. Summer HIll-Vinson found herself in a new town with a sick baby and no support network. She knew she needed other women who were on the same journey as she. 

The Best (Unwanted) Advice from the NICU

Mom holding a preemieKathy McClelland recalls how in the stress and overwhelming environment of the NICU, along with the diagnosis of Cri du Chat syndrome for her son, one nurse's unsolicited advice has unexpectedly stayed with her through the years.

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Mentors Needed!

peer mentor 100.jpgHave you experienced a NICU stay, an antepartum hospitalization or the loss of a child? Do you have the heart for reaching out to others who are in that situation now? Hand to Hold is thrilled to have increasing requests for mentoring. Because of the increased need, we are looking for new mentors with excellent listening skills. We'll train you and guide you as needed. 

You've been there. Now you can help. Learn more today!


Welcome New Board President Lana Macrum-Craig!

lana-craig-100px.jpgPlease join us in welcoming our new board president, Lana Macrum-Craig. Lana has experienced prematurity and loss, and it is from this tragic experience and her natural career path in finance, that she is dedicated to enhancing the lives of everyone who crosses her path and those whom she seeks out that share this common bond. Lana joined Hand to Hold to carry out the shared vision of providing information and resources to families that face the daily challenges associated with preterm birth, genetic disorders and bereavement. 


Team Hand to Hold Raises over $22,000!

water stop resized 3.jpgOn February 14, 22 members of Team Hand to Hold participated in the annual Austin Marathon, Half-Marathon and Paramount 5K. With the addition of a matching grant from The Moody Foundation, these amazing runners raised $22,116 to support our mission! We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to this incredible team of runners, to those who donated in support of a runner and our 40+ volunteers who got up extra early to help us staff our aid station along the marathon route. Because of your donation of time and treasure, NICU families will have access to powerful peer support and educational resources to mitigate the effects of a NICU stay or loss of a baby.

Interested in running on the 2017 team? Email jessica@handtohold.org.


You Shop. Amazon Gives.

Skip the stores and shop online through AmazonSmiles for all your shopping needs. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Hand To Hold whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

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Updated Tax Receipt Policy

Beginning January 1, 2016, Hand to Hold will only send an electronic acknowledgment, in lieu of a paper receipt, for online donations. We will continue to mail paper receipts for cash and check donations. 


Volunteer Opportunities

Kelli visits VictoriaVolunteer your time to write supportive notes to be given to families in the NICU now and to say thanks to NICU staff during special recognition months. Or virtually correspond with a family who has had an experience similar to yours by becoming a Helping Hand peer mentor. Whether you have a little or a lot of time, we have a spot for you to make a difference today. Get started.


Connect to Support on Your Schedule

Julie Cruz and hubbieA baby's NICU stay or loss can be a lonely and isolating experience. Let our experienced Family Support Navigators help you connect to information, resources and support to help make the journey easier for you. Send us a request to begin


Past Issues

Read past eNewsletters.

   About Hand to Hold
Hand to Hold logoHand to Hold is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications. 

Hand to Hold - www.handtohold.org - 855-H2H-NICU

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