“I don’t ever want another NICU parent to feel alone like I felt.”
This is what Hand to Hold founder Kelli Kelley said when she started the peer mentor program that has been the driving inspiration behind Hand to Hold. Despite being surrounded by friends and family, after delivering her son at just 24 weeks, Kelli lacked the support she craved – someone to hold her hand through the difficult road of being in the NICU and bringing home a medically-fragile child.
You’ve been there. Now you can help.
Hand to Hold’s award-winning peer mentor program can connect people no matter the circumstances. We train mentors who have been through the journey and now want to help NICU families, and we match them based on their specific needs and story.
With the peer mentor program, we are able to:
- provide support within 24 hours
- create a peer-to-peer match within 48 hours
- match families based on their specific need
- monitor the relationship for six weeks to ensure everything is going smoothly
According to the National Perinatal Association, peer support can:
- offer comfort (which family and friends may not be able to provide)
- provide a safe environment to share feelings
- empower parents to problem-solve
- encourage parents to become advocates for their families and themselves
- help parents feel less alone
- increase acceptance of difficult situations and offer important resources for coping
87% of parents report Hand to Hold’s peer support reduced depression, anxiety and stress.
How can you help?
We are currently looking to fill more volunteer peer mentor spots, specifically in the Dallas and San Antonio areas. However, the nature of our mentor relationships means mentors and mentees do not have to be local to each other.
If you have been through a NICU experience or loss, then you have the power to help others. Volunteer as a peer mentor, and we’ll train you and match you with a family whose story is similar to your own.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer peer mentor, you can:
- Learn more about the peer mentor program
- Read our frequently asked questions
- Sign up to be a volunteer peer mentor
Join our team of peer mentors today, and use your knowledge and experiences to provide vital support to another NICU family in need.
“Hand to Hold saved me. No one understands this journey like someone who has been there themselves.”
-Kheira, NICU mom