Wonders & Worries - supporting kids through a parent's illness

What do Cowboy Hats, Dabbing and Free Hugs have in Common?

Austin, TX – April 13, 2017 - All three items were clues for Wonders & Worries’ inaugural urban scavenger hunt on Saturday, April 8. The event raised more than $36,000 for the Austin-based nonprofit that provides free, professional support for children during a parent’s serious illness.

The 50 teams had four hours to chase clues and collect points. Clues involved tasks such as building a human pyramid, finding someone with an instrument and gathering a group for hook ‘em horns. Good deeds also earned points, like picking up trash, writing thank you notes to police officers, and giving away bottled water and hugs. A few clues were just for fun, like dabbing in front of the capitol, asking someone in a cowboy hat to shout “yee-haw” and cheering for a vegetable garden.

Several clue stops were sponsored by local businesses, including Hat Creek Burger, First Texas Bank, Ranch 616, RetailMeNot, Drillinginfo, Horizon Bank, Deloitte, Roger Beasley, Fringe Benefit Group and Capitol Chevrolet.

“We planned an event for all ages because we serve families,” said Alex Gabbi, executive director. “My kids range from 6 to 16, and I wanted to do something together we’d enjoy. The day exceeded my expectations.”

Victory tasted extra sweet to the winning team, which consisted of three Boston-marathoners. “Three years ago today I got permission to start driving again since my seizures were finally under control,” first place finishers’ team captain Iram Leon said. “I celebrated by taking on a scavenger hunt. We ran all over town and had a ridiculously good time.” Iram and his daughter, Kiana, connected with Wonders & Worries when Iram was diagnosed with brain cancer. “Wonders & Worries helped me and Kiana be able to talk about cancer and its side effects far better than I had done on my own,” he said.

The scavenger hunt culminated with an afterparty at 800 Congress. The downtown venue was converted into an all-ages play space, complete with ping pong table, Xbox stations, mini arcade games, a kids’ corner, cornhole, lounge area and bar. Teams were surprised when Kellie’s Baking Company delivered cookies with edible team photos printed on them.

In addition to Kellie’s, other Austin businesses contributed to the event, with prizes from JW Marriott Austin, Yoga Yoga, Contigo, Dart Bowl, YETI, Amy’s Ice Cream, Violet Crown Cinemas, Round Rock Express, Dart ‘em Up and Rowing Dock, to name a few.

Wonders & Worries anticipates the urban scavenger hunt will become an annual event. Event chair and board of directors member Brent Metschan agreed, saying, “Wonders & Worries provides their professional services for free, and has never had to turn a family away. We don’t intend to. That’s because of the generosity of the business community and partners who fund this important work.”

For more information, contact Penney Berryman, Communications Director, at 512-329-5757, Ext. 202 or


Wonders & Worries ensures that children and teens can reach their full potential even though their parent is facing a serious illness. Established in 2001, its mission is to provide professional support for ages 2-18 through a parent’s illness. All Wonders & Worries services are free of charge and offered in English and Spanish. Follow Wonders & Worries on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.