The Ashburn-Cordasco Pair Program

Our pair program pairs teen patients with teen volunteers based on location, personality, and interests, and sends each pair on monthly outings so that patients have the opportunity to feel like normal teens. The yearlong program also includes group outings, and culminates at the following year’s prom. Now Pairs was inspired by our spokesgirl, Samantha Ashburn, who passed away of osteosarcoma shortly after her 16th birthday, and Kevin Cordasco of Calabasas, who passed away in March 2013 after attending several No Worries Now proms. 

About No Worries Now

No Worries Now, formerly the Shiri Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to giving teens with life-threatening illnesses the chance to attend prom. The No Worries Now Foundation has organized annual proms in Los Angeles since 2007 as well as proms in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, and Washington D.C. The organization has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, CNN, ABC, CBS, The Early Show, Women’s World Magazine, and other national news outlets.

About the Pair Program

No Worries Now will launch the Pair Program at the 2013 prom, on June 20, 2013, at Sony Studios in Los Angeles. No Worries Now will match volunteers from Los Angeles-area high schools with teens with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The purpose of the program is to spread the feelings of normalcy and joy that patients feel at the No Worries Now proms throughout the entire year. No Worries Now will organize and supervise fun outings and events for each pair. All events will be 100% free for participants. Parents of the patients may attend any and all events if they contact No Worries Now in advance. 

Each pair will consist of one volunteer and one patient. There are separate application processes for volunteers and patients, outlined below. Volunteers may apply using this form, and patients may apply using this form.

Volunteer Selection

APPLICATION PERIOD NOW CLOSED for 2013 — e-mail krishan@noworriesnow.org if you would like to make arrangements to apply after the deadline.

Teen volunteers will be matched with patients based on personality, interests, age and location. To be eligible, volunteers must be high school or college students in the Los Angeles area who have demonstrated notable maturity and a dedication to community service. Volunteers must commit to attending all Pair Program events and meeting for pair outings at least once per month, plus taking time to keep in contact between outings.

Applications to be a volunteer in the Pair Program are available here, and are due April 19th, 2013 by midnight.  The application includes a brief questionnaire about the applicant’s interests, three short-answer essays, 1-2 references of character, and an optional résumé. Applications may be submitted online using this form or via e-mail to krishan@noworriesnow.org.

Volunteer application should include one or more recommendations from an adult who knows the applicant well and can objectively assess his or her character and maturity. The recommender can be a teacher, advisor, activity supervisor, coach, family friend, or anyone else of the applicant’s choosing. The recommender should submit his or her letter separately online using the Pair Program Recommender Form or can send us the letter via e-mail. No paper submissions, please.

Finalists will be notified whether they have been selected for an interview, and interviews will be held April 26th-28th at a location to be announced. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance to the program by May 1.

Patient Selection

APPLICATION PERIOD NOW CLOSED for 2013 — e-mail krishan@noworriesnow.org if you would like to make arrangements to apply after the deadline.

The patient selection process is entirely separate from the volunteer process noted above. We plan to have about 10 pairs participate in this year’s Pair Program. Patients will be accommodated on a first-come-first-served basis beginning immediately and ending on Friday, April 19th. To apply, patients should fill out this short application that asks about their personality and interests, as well as a brief essay about why they want to be part of the Pair Program. Due to the high level of expected interest from patients, we will only be able to accept those for whom we find a good volunteer match. We plan to expand the program next year to accommodate more patient-volunteer pairs. 

Events

All volunteer applicants must be available for the following mandatory events:

            TBA May 2013 – Volunteer Training

            Saturday, June 15, 2013 – Welcome Event

            Thursday, June 20, 2013 – Los Angeles No Worries Now Prom 2013

            TBA December 2013 – Amusement Park Trip

            TBA June 2014 – Los Angeles No Worries Now Prom 2014

Pair Outings

Beginning in May, each pair will meet once a month at an event or to go on an outing. Activities may include going to a movie, having dinner, going out for ice cream, visiting a museum, going on a scavenger hunt, or other activities organized and approved by No Worries Now. No Worries Now will pay for these outings. Volunteers and patients must find their own transportation to the meeting location; volunteers will not be permitted to drive patients.

Amusement Park Trip

The Pair Program is tentatively scheduled to go to an amusement park as a group in late December 2013 to mark the point of “halfway to Prom.” The foundation will pay for tickets and food, and will provide transportation from a specified meeting point.

Prom 2014

The Pair Program will culminate at the 2014 prom in Los Angeles, where all pairs will meet one last time for a night to remember. Our hope is that having all Pair Program participants present will make the prom a more meaningful experience for all involved.

Additional Information for Parents of Patients

Parents may attend any and all Pair Program events. If you do plan on attending an event, please notify the Pair Program Director in advance via e-mail at krishan@noworriesnow.org. All events and outings will be chaperoned and supervised, and there will be an Emergency Medical Technician and/or doctor present at all events. Each volunteer will be trained by No Worries Now staff and hospital social workers prior to the start of the program. Parents may request to meet with the volunteer prior to the start of the program. No one will be allowed to attend events if they have an infectious disease or have cold or flu symptoms.

For More Information

Contact Krishan Patel at krishan@noworriesnow.org