There With Care
Get to know Paula DuPré Pesmen, founder of the nonprofit that helps families with critically ill children
Fifteen years ago, Boulder native Paula DuPré Pesmen walked away from a hugely successful Hollywood career (she was an associate producer on the first three Harry Potter films) to start There With Care (TWC), a nonprofit that helps families with critically ill children.
Pesmen first rallied a couple of friends around her North Boulder kitchen table. Those initial few volunteers have amassed into an army of hundreds of real-world angels. A garage overflowing with donations has grown into multiple dedicated offices and warehouses (filled with everything from fresh groceries to diapers) in Boulder, Denver and the Bay area. Pesmen’s do-whatever-needs-to-be-done producer skills, something she’s passed on to her dedicated staff, have helped more than 4,000 families.
The TWC’s love treatment is tailored to adapt to a family’s needs. They’ll help with everything: grocery and meal delivery, rides to chemo, gas cards, babysitting, house-cleaning for immune-compromised kids, even birthday party planning. Pesmen’s go-to list includes a diverse brigade of helpers, from auto mechanics to anyone with an extra hour or two.
“There With Care is, at its core, about mobilizing community around families in isolation, [most of whom live under the poverty line],” Pesmen says. “Everything we do starts with them. What are their needs? How can we help with day-to-day life? We can’t fix everything, but we can manage some of the overwhelming tasks so that families can focus on their child. It’s critical to remind them that they are not alone—that people care and are there for them.”
The COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandates offer a clue to the isolation families in crisis feel daily. “What we’re feeling is so intensified for them— their worries are so great right now,” Pesmen says. And so the TWC team are figuring out new ways to be of service. “The community is really showing up. We’re so humbled and grateful that so many have rallied to be there for these families. People coming together to ease someone else’s burdens in a really difficult time—that’s what keeps me, all of us, going. That’s why we’re here.”
To find out more about TWC, including volunteer and donation info, visit therewithcare.org.