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Spring 2022 Newsletter

A Letter from our CEO

Dear Tennyson Community,

As many of you know, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. If we could spread one idea during this important month, it would be this: early relationships and experiences set the foundation for a child’s future.

We all recall formative experiences from our childhood. If we’re lucky, those memories include a safe, nurturing relationship that fostered lifelong hope and resilience. Even one positive relationship can give us a better shot at growing up healthy. At the same time, a landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study* has found that many adults recall experiences—including abuse and neglect—which led to poor physical and emotional health.

This month is a crucial time for all of us to do what we can to support kids and families in crisis. And together, we can do a lot! When families are overloaded with challenging life circumstances, we can step up with services and resources that lighten their load.

Trauma comes in many forms, but together we have an opportunity to create a safer, healthier, and happier life for Colorado’s abused children. Tennyson relies on funding from loyal supporters like you to provide these much-needed resources. I’m asking each of you to please consider a special donation in the month of April to help us continue serving over 3,000 families each year.

With gratitude,

Mindy Watrous
President & CEO

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Carter’s Story

Maria and her husband picked Carter up from the hospital when he was thirty-six hours old. He was born addicted to drugs and suffered his first seizure after just nine months. When he was ten months old, he had a static seizure. His brain was stuck. They spent four days in the hospital waiting to see if he would regain the skills he had lost.

Carter has since been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, autism, generalized anxiety, epilepsy, speech delays, and ADHD. Maria will tell you, “Carter is the most amazing child on the planet. To know him is to fall in love with complexities.” Carter’s school could not keep him safe though, and he entered four different elementary programs. At one point, Maria and her husband, Chris, talked seriously about who would leave their career to support Carter full-time.

When Carter joined Tennyson’s school and day treatment program, it was “life-changing.” He receives special education services including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health support.

Abuse and neglect takes many forms, including in-utero drug exposure. Thanks to our donors’ loyalty, Tennyson has supported kids and families in crisis for over 117 years.

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“Their commitment is unlike anywhere else. They know these kids deeply and help them find the next best version of themselves.”
—Maria Snitily, Tennyson Parent


When we talk about child abuse, many of us picture physical violence. However, neglect is far more common and causes a wider range of trauma. Unfortunately, it’s almost certain that a child in your local school is lacking nutrition, warm clothing, hygiene, medical care, or affection. Neglect receives less attention because the effects are less visible. To better understand these hidden consequences, we can turn to the science of toxic stress.

Prolonged stress is toxic to developing brains. The body reacts to stress by increasing our heart rates, raising blood pressure, and releasing stress hormones. When kids have reliable relationships, they learn to bring these back down to healthy levels (Center on the Developing Child).

Now consider a child like Lindsay whose parents struggled with opioid addiction. As the oldest child, she took on the role of parent. She worried constantly about her own needs and the health of her siblings. She rarely knew where their next meal would come from and hoarded any food she could find. Through it all, she loved her parents and lived in fear of her family being split up. She never learned to turn her stress off.

This constant stress adds to the problems already associated with malnutrition, untreated medical needs, and lost opportunities for learning and bonding. Combined, this often leads to poor physical and mental health, cognitive delays, and unhealthy relationships well into adulthood

Although neglect can be so destructive, we at Tennyson see the resilience of kids and families every day. With your support, our programs help parents parent and let kids be kids.

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Program Spotlight: Families Together

Isolation often leads to desperation. Families Together empowers neighbors to step in with meals, friendship, and childcare services. Many of the people looking for these volunteer neighbors are single mothers.

Dahlia is a single mother to five children. During COVID, she struggled to balance taking care of her children with managing her own mental health. She joined Families Together with the hopes of finding some extra time to form healthy habits. She wants to be a great role model for her kids.

Brooke was left alone to manage her son’s autism. Out of desperation, she turned to Craigslist for an affordable babysitter. Soon after, she realized this babysitter was abusing her son. Families Together connected her with a volunteer neighbor, Brie, who earned the family’s trust on supervised playdates. Now, Brie has a safe place to bring her child.

Rachel has three kids ages 17, 10, and 3. Lately, the age gaps have been pulling her in too many directions. She’s overwhelmed with all they require. Rachel feels like her mental health has been declining over the last year. She is excited to have another friend in her corner.

For Child Abuse Prevention Month, you can connect a family in crisis with a supportive neighbor. It costs $100 to train a volunteer, complete a background check, match them with a family, and provide ongoing support.

$100 means one volunteer neighbor for a family in crisis.

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FORE! Our Kids Golf Classic

Tennyson supporters will be teeing up for another tournament at Sanctuary—Colorado’s most exclusive and beautiful golf course. All players will enjoy brunch, on-course lunch and snacks, and a cocktail/networking hour.

The tournament is scheduled for August 22nd from 9:00AM-4:00PM. Foursomes start at $5,000. Email [email protected] for more information.

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