When people are caring for a loved one, keeping friends and family involved is difficult. Updating and engaging help can be an emotional drain. Organizing much-needed assistance with errands and meals is an exhausting challenge. Trying to be effective is painful when relying on emails and texts especially when you’re between home and the hospital. For most people, trying to help you and your family is awkward because no one wants to intrude. How do you keep everyone meaningfully engaged to help them feel valued?

Through a partnership with CareFlash, Hand to Hold is now able to provide free patient web pages called “care communities” to help you keep friends and family informed and make it easier to mobilize support as you care for a child or children in the NICU and beyond.

“CareFlash is proud to support Hand to Hold in extending their already incredible range of services by collaborating to help create better outcomes in the families they serve,” says Jay Drayer, CEO of CareFlash. “When launched from, CareFlash is a free service anyone can use to quickly and easily create their own private, online CareCommunity that includes rich capabilities for enhancing outcomes by helping friends and loved ones overcome the emotional barriers that commonly preclude engagement on meaningful levels…especially among families where their newest addition is experiencing a developmental challenge.”

Key features of the free service include the following:

  • Private, online Care Community
  • Blog for sharing updates, well wishes, care and love
  • iHelp Calendar to request and organize assistance from friends and family
  • Thousands of 3-D medical animations plus space to link to educational content to help explain medical issues
  • A photo gallery to share photos and relive great memories

The intuitive system takes minutes to set up and gives you the flexibility to involve friends and family in updating your community and iHelp Calendar which frees you up to care for your child/ren knowing your support network has your back.

CareFlash Button

Bump Club and Beyond

Bump Club and BeyondAre you pregnant? A new mom? Looking for a connection with other moms and moms-to-be who know what you are going through? Bump Club and Beyond, which started in Chicago in April 2010 and has now expanded to Austin, offers Girls’ Night Out events, lunch and dinner seminars, discounted shopping, exercise classes and more. Member and Austin founder Jenn Larson happily became a fixture at BCB events after she moved to Chicago and learned she was pregnant. When she realized she would be moving back to Austin, she and Chicago founder Lindsay Spolan Pinchuk decided the women of Austin would benefit from the same supportive, social community that Chicago had embraced.

Austin’s Bump Club and Beyond debuted with its first event in October 2011 and will be hosting a number of upcoming events – some for families, some just for moms and others for moms and babies. Hand to Hold is excited to highlight a BCB-hosted Family Boot Camp Fitness Class, appropriate for all fitness levels, set for Nov. 19 at 11 am at Shoal Creek led by Meagan Linstruth of Baby Boot Camp. Registration is $15 and will directly benefit Hand to Hold. Registration will open the first week of November.

“I have a special place in my heart for the super parents of preemies after experiencing challenges with my own pregnancy,” said Jenn Larson, Austin BCB founder. “Bump Club and Beyond provided me with a support system similar to what Hand to Hold does for a very special group of new moms – those that endure less than ideal birth experiences.”

As the first and only social event company of its kind in Chicago and Austin, Bump Club and Beyond strives to provide the best resources in the city to connect moms and moms-to-be. Find out more about the upcoming Family Boot Camp and other BCB events by visiting or on Facebook.

Epic MedStaff Services Inc.

Epic MedStaffEpic MedStaff Services, Inc. is a home health agency licensed in the state of Texas. They provide in-home pediatric care from skilled nursing to sitters to care for your child’s special medical needs and for your peace of mind. Currently, Epic cares for infants and children with conditions such as: Acute/Chronic Respiratory Disease, Tracheostomy Ventilator Dependent, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida and Genetic Disorders.  They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and take most insurance.  They are also part of the Comprehensive Care Program (CCP) and Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP).

“Epic is a family conscious company that understands the struggles and daily challenges of caring for a medically fragile child in the home,” said Brett Tebbe, Executive Director.  “Epic specializes in caring for children by providing a safe environment that nourishes the physical and mental development of each special needs child. There is no greater joy than hearing a child laugh, or seeing their smile, and knowing that we were a part of that by providing the specialized care that they deserve.”

Contact Brett Tebbe at btebbe [at] epicmedstaff [dot] com or 512-372-3777 to learn more. Or visit to see the other Texas cities where they are located.

Legacy of Hope

2 Learn 2 Dream: Legacy of Hope’s Specialized Tutoring Program

2 Learn 2 Dream

Sometimes mastering school subjects takes a little extra effort, particularly for children with learning differences. The 2 Learn 2 Dream program provides individualized tutoring for kids who benefit from a more custom-tailored approach. There is no charge to families for this service!

Mel Wray is the director of the 2learn2dream program and brings over 30 years of classroom teaching experience to the desk. We asked Legacy of Hope to tell us more about this program:


“2 Learn 2 Dream is a tutoring service for learning differences children with a master teacher, offering individualized learning programs and scholarships. 2 Learn 2 Dream is a part of Legacy of Hope Austin, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving families with special needs children in the Austin area.  The tutoring services are provided at no cost to special needs families due to the generosity of donors.  An application must be submitted and waivers signed before final acceptance to the program.”

Mel Ray, 2Learn2Dream Instructor

Mel Ray, 2Learn2Dream Instructor

The Director of Tutoring is Mel Wray, a Master Teacher, with over 40 years of teaching experience.  She has taught in   public and private elementary schools. During those years, she taught students from all over the world with different learning styles and capabilities.  She has a passion and gift for teaching children how to develop a love for learning with an emphasis on fun and excitement.

After the student has been accepted to the program, Mrs. Wray and the student will have an informal meeting where Mrs. Wray observes the student’s skills in the following areas: communication, writing, reading, math, problem solving, gross and fine motor abilities, listening and following directions.  It is at this meeting that Mrs. Wray and the student have the opportunity to begin a relationship of trust and friendship.

Following this meeting, Mrs. Wray and the parent(s) work together to schedule a time and day for tutoring, discuss the importance of attending each session, and set some teaching strategies. “We look forward to helping children open the treasures of their minds.” To find out more email: learn [at] legacyofhopeaustin [dot] org or call 1-866-HOPEATX (866-467-3289) ext. 2  Click here to view the 2learn2dream Family Application or to download and fill out the form.

Legacy of Hope

Started by parents, Legacy of Hope Austin is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving families of children with special needs in the Austin area. They presently have three programs that they offer, 2 Learn 2 Dream, a specialized tutoring program; 2 Dance 2 Dream, a dance class specifically designed for kids with special needs; and 2 Night 2 Dream, a respite care program staffed with a pediatric RN so that caregivers can get a well-deserved night off or couples can get out for a date night. These services are provided at no cost to families with special needs due to the generosity of Legacy of Hope’s donors. Call at 1-866-HOPEATX (1-866-467-3289) or email info [at] legacyofhopeaustin [dot] org to find out more.