December 2020 – preemieFAMILY Support

Organization: Hand to Hold
Established: 2010
Outreach: Texas, USA

Hand to Hold helps families before, during and after a NICU stay or in the event of infant loss. Our services are available to families with NICU babies of any gestation. It’s important for us to recognize that any length of NICU stay can have an impact on a family.

Kelli Kelley founded Hand to Hold in 2010 after her son, Jackson, was born in August of 2000, weighing just a pound and a half at 24 weeks. Her daughter, Lauren, was born at 34 weeks and also required a NICU stay. Kelley suffered from psychosocial issues for years after her children’s early births. “I don’t ever want another NICU parent to feel alone like I felt,” she says about why she founded Hand to Hold. Kelley and the Hand to Hold staff now invest their time and talents to raise awareness about the high incidence of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among these parents and the long-term implications for the baby and family.

In the spring of 2020, Hand to Hold quickly created Virtual Support Groups to compensate for not being able to support families in person in our partner hospitals due to COVID-19. Although our Family Support Specialists are now back in the hospitals and rounding with families, our Virtual Support Groups remain, and Hand to Hold is able to help more families than ever before, with attendees from all over the country. Virtual Support Groups are available for current NICU families and NICU graduate families, with special groups for bereaved families, Spanish-speaking families, and Black families. Hand to Hold’s Virtual Support Groups are made possible by Huggies®. Learn more at