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Summer 2022 Newsletter

A Letter from our CEO

Dear Tennyson Community,

I cannot believe it’s already the start of school again! I truly enjoy getting my kids ready by taking a trip to the store for new school supplies, meeting their teachers, and taking that first day of school picture.

A new school year represents a fresh start but can also be overwhelming and dysregulating for kids who have experienced trauma. The average child in our K-12 School and Day Treatment Program arrives two-three years behind academically, and many struggle to focus on learning when they are dealing with so many other issues in their young lives.

The children we serve deserve a fresh start. We want them to dream big and succeed not despite their past trauma but because of their incredible strength and perseverance. We want them to heal and thrive in all that they do.

To better support kids, our staff members are spending this school year learning and integrating a new trauma-informed care model. We are utilizing more experiential therapies like recreation therapy and art therapy. We’re also helping kids develop life skills by tending the campus garden and running the coffee cart.

We’re making sure our children have a strong start to the school year, but we need your help to ensure resources are here for them throughout their education. Please consider making a gift today to help a child spend less time in crisis and more time in the classroom. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

With gratitude,

Mindy Watrous
President & CEO

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Fewer Hospitalizations, More Learning

90% of children in all Tennyson programs
did not utilize hospitals or crisis centers while in treatment in FY21.

95% of children in Tennyson programs maintained their school placements.

On average, kids in our school saw a 52% increase in math efficiency and a 45% increase in reading efficiency.

Valarie’s Family

“We’re a big family who’s been through a lot, including domestic violence and a cancer diagnosis,” Valarie says while playing with her youngest child Romeo. She has six kids ranging from two to seventeen years old. They all moved to Colorado after she left the abusive relationship.

As a single parent, she felt outnumbered and struggled to set boundaries. There were frequent power struggles between her and the older kids. “If I told the kids to wait to go to the park, everyone would go anyway. I was up against a wall.”

When her oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer, the difficult balance fell apart. “It was a trigger for the whole family. I felt like I couldn’t say ‘no’ to her. I was over-compensating. I wanted to give her anything she asked for and then felt guilty when I couldn’t follow through. And then the other kids weren’t getting the attention they needed.” The stress of the situation led Valarie to relapse after years of avoiding alcohol. Eventually, all of the kids were removed from her home and placed in separate foster homes.

With support from the Tennyson community, Valarie has worked incredibly hard to repair the bonds that were ruptured. Romeo was the first child to return home. As a toddler presenting signs of autism, he and Valarie benefited from weekly visits with Erica Sullivan, a clinician with expertise in early childhood development. Now, Romeo has regained the verbal skills he lost while in foster care. As the older kids returned, the greatest challenge was providing each child with the specific services they needed to heal. For example, her fifteen-year-old son Oscar used to destroy property as a way of seeking attention. He needed a positive male role model in his life, so Tennyson partnered him with Jose Cardenas, a bilingual Family Support Specialist. Kelly Sikora also lends her experience as a clinician to encourage cooperation, peace, and accountability.

Five of the six kiddos are now back at home with their mom and siblings. Three Tennyson clinicians are supporting this large family who has been through a lot but is emerging stronger, and that sort of intensive, personalized care is only possible because of donations from people like you.

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“I’m seeing my kids thrive in spite of it all. Without you, there would be no hope.”

Our New Chief Program Officer

Dr. Loreen Gulli, DSW, LCSW joined the Tennyson team on August 1st as the Chief Program Officer. This new position is responsible for guiding policies and the overall direction for all Tennyson programs.

Loreen has extensive experience developing programs and evaluating their effectiveness. She completed her doctorate in social work at the University of Southern California. She is skilled at growing programs related to child welfare, foster care and adoption, medical social work, solid organ donation transplants, and more. Loreen would like Tennyson donors to know “how excited I am to join a mission-driven agency to help meet the needs of children in Colorado.”

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Mile High Country Q & Brew

For the twelfth consecutive year, this country music experience will bring Coloradans together to help kids and families thrive. We’re excited to announce this year’s featured artist will be Adam Doleac, a rising talent who has written songs with Darius Rucker and Kane Brown. Enjoy live music paired with local BBQ, libations, mechanical bull rides, auctions, and more! Tickets are on sale now! Learn more at

About Adam Doleac
Adam Doleac is lover of all things old-school with an effortless charm and intoxicating vocals well suited for both champagne-popping ballrooms and keg-tapping taverns. A talented athlete, he had a shot at going pro in both baseball and golf but instead changed course after falling in love with music and writing songs.

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Q & Brew has earned a reputation for featuring the next big name in country music. This year’s featured artist will be Adam Doleac!

A New Trauma-Informed Care Model

As we start a new school year, Tennyson’s goal is to be wholly trauma-informed in all aspects of treatment and education. Specifically, this new approach will provide an assessment process called “brain-mapping” to determine the types of interventions best suited for each individual child, and it will better support students in our School and Day Treatment program with new classroom-based interventions.

Learn more about how your investments will help launch this model as Tennyson kids return to their classrooms!

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Supporter Spotlight: Nancy May

“Tennyson Center for Children has been an important part of my life and focus since first learning about it as a child. I have chosen to continue my support with a bequest which is a percentage of my estate. The children at Tennyson are important to me and my family and I wish to see this wonderful organization continue long after I am no longer able to contribute” (Nancy May).

August is National Make-A-Will Month. To learn more about establishing a legacy with planned giving, please contact [email protected].

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