Youth Ambassador Program
Hand to Hold’s Youth Ambassador Program is a community of up-and-coming change makers who are enthusiastic about spreading awareness of Hand to Hold’s mission while participating in inspiring activities to support NICU parents.
Youth Ambassadors have a personal connection to Hand to Hold’s mission and take part in various volunteer and fundraising events throughout the year.
Hand to Hold’s 2022 Youth Ambassadors
Katherine is a student at Austin’s Anderson High School pursuing an International Baccalaureate Diploma. She is a swimmer and diver, holds a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, and is fluent in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese. Most importantly, Katherine is a former 1-pound baby who wants to provide hope to current NICU parents and to educate future parents who may find themselves forced into the unknown. Katherine is the Co-President and a founding member of Hand to Hold’s Youth Ambassador Program.
Hello! My name is Nell Frackowiak, and I am a tenth-grader in the International Baccalaureate program at Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, interested in science. I was not a NICU baby myself, but my younger sister was in the NICU when I was in kindergarten. Although I was fairly young when she was in the NICU, it was a very memorable experience that has impacted my family and me significantly. I believe that the experience of having a sibling in the NICU has given me a unique perspective of this challenging situation, and I would like to help support those going through similar struggles in any way I can. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, rowing with my team, and baking.
Isabella is a high school student in Austin, Texas. In her free time, she enjoys running, swimming, and playing volleyball. She also loves baking and learning new languages. She is excited to work with Hand to Hold and holds the position of Director of Documentation within the Youth Committee. Isabella was first exposed to the NICU when her twin little brothers were born, as her parents had to consider placing them in the NICU. Although they were able to narrowly avoid it, she became aware of the difficulty of the NICU and what it represents for parents. Because of this, she is looking forward to volunteering with Hand to Hold and doing her part to help those in the NICU.
Caroline Belle Konkle is currently a senior at John H. Guyer High School in Denton, TX. Caroline is very active in her school’s choir program and plans to study Vocal Performance in college. She is also tremendously passionate about writing and finds her greatest love in poetry. Caroline is a NICU sibling whose premature brother, John Robert, passed away after a brief NICU stay when she was two. Caroline wants to provide hope to other bereaved families and share the ways that her family continues to keep her brother’s memory alive. In her free time, Caroline enjoys playing classical music on the piano, participating in her church youth group and baking for her friends.
My name is Zoe and I am a high school student in Austin, Texas. When I was born, I was sent to the NICU for several days. I wanted to become a Hand to Hold Youth Ambassador to support NICU families like my own and to become more involved with my community. I serve as Vice President for my school’s Model UN club, I am co-captain of the girls’ water polo team at my school, and I play violin in my school’s orchestra. I aspire to become a doctor in the future and hope that my work as a Youth Ambassador will have a positive impact on NICU families.
Kashan Zaidi is an 11th grade student at Watchung Hills Regional High School. He is 17 years old and aspires to go into the medical field. Kashan is a son, a brother, a grandson, a friend, and a NICU grad.
Kashan lives in Warren, NJ with his younger brother, his mom and dad, and extended family. His hobbies include swimming, playing the piano, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and watching Netflix. He participates in several afterschool activities such as Future Doctors of America, Red Cross, Model United Nations, American Sign Language, Neuroscience, and Forensics. Last summer, Kashan also joined the Youth Committee at Hand to Hold to volunteer and help others with his preemie story.
Kashan was born on December 17, 2004, two months earlier than his original due date. His mom had preeclampsia and delivered him at 32 weeks weighing 3 lbs., 6 oz. Kashan spent several weeks in the NICU and eventually overcame many challenges that resulted from his prematurity.
Kashan’s younger brother is a freshman in high school and his parents are very supportive of both their sons in making a difference in their community. Kashan hopes to not only be a physician one day to help others but also to be an inspiration to other NICU grads.