Feeding Matters Volunteer Spotlight is a monthly Q & A series that shares the stories of our growing network of change agents, the driving force behind our vision to create a world where children with pediatric feeding disorder will thrive. This month we bring you Tina Vargas.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a mom of two amazing kids, married to my best friend for six years, and I have worked in the medical field for twenty years!
What motivated you to become involved with Feeding Matters?
I started reading about dysphagia when my son was diagnosed. I did not realize that there was such a big community out there of not only children, but also adults dealing with this issue. Once we went through feeding therapy, using thickeners and having surgery, I just felt that I wanted to be able to do anything I can to help others. So reaching out, answering questions, or just simply being there for someone means something to me.
How have you volunteered with Feeding Matters?
I have been a Power of Two supporter, mentoring families who have similar issues with one of their children like my son had. Talking with them in time of need, answering questions, or simply just to see how they are doing. Being able to go to events and represent Feeding Matters has been amazing. Meeting families and helping in any way I can has been healing.
What has been your favorite part of volunteering with Feeding Matters?
My favorite part of volunteering is after working with parents for a couple months, listening to everything they have gone through and coming up with other ideas to help, that finally they make a breakthrough. In the beginning of our conversations, moms and dads are feeling helpless and don't know what to do. When they get to the correct physician and their child eats, even just one new food, without coughing - that is the best. You feel like together you have made a huge step in getting these amazing families closer to an answer. To hear how happy they are when they can have a simple meal together without an issue is just the best part.
What sets Feeding Matters apart from other organizations? Feeding Matters is like a family. From the day I reached out for information and a simple list of doctors, they have always made sure to not only check on us as a family, but me personally. They know my story, my family, and always check in to see if we need anything. With every family we talk about, they have such deep concern and truly want to lead and help each and every one.