Wonders & Worries held its fourth annual Unmasked Gala on Feb. 23, 2018, at the JW Marriott Austin. The nonprofit organization provides professional mental health support to children and teens during a parent’s serious illness. All services are free of charge.
Kristen Patton and her husband, Steve Goldsmith, spoke from the heart about their experience as clients, moving the crowd with their story and video. “Our four children were given immediate emotional support, free of charge, during my abrupt heart failure and the sudden death of their grandmother,” says Kristen. “A year later, Wonders & Worries once again supported our kids as I recovered from heart transplant surgery. We believe every child dealing with a parent’s serious illness should have this level of professional emotional support.”
The mystery of why the event is called the “Unmasked” Gala emerged as well. It comes from an activity that Wonders & Worries’ child life staff created with teenagers. Each teen receives a blank mask and decorates the exterior based on how they represent themselves to the world, while decorating the inside with things they worry about, fear and keep private. By coming to Wonders & Worries, children and teens have an opportunity to explore hidden emotions and have a safe space to process them with trusted adults.
The event raised $540,000, the highest amount for a gala in the organization’s 16-year history, and nearly $100,000 more than the previous year.