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    Getting Fernando the therapy fish the things he needs to thrive

    Day 243

    Gone Fishing

    “His name is Fernando!” exclaims Gretchen, the Site Director at the Inn Project in Tucson, Arizona. “And the kids at the Inn Project absolutely adore him.”

    Gretchen told me about how they had gotten fish for the kids to take care of while they’re there, but they had died unexpectedly. The kids were devastated.

    When the center got a new fish, the kids were given the chance to name it. Suggestions were taken from each resident and then drawn out of a hat, so just like that the fish had a name – Fernando.

    The thought of these kids, who have little to nothing themselves, were so concerned for the well-being of a simple fish melted my heart.

    We wanted to make sure that Fernando can live a long and happy life and continue to give the kids something to care for during their stay at the Inn Project.

    The current tank had a broken filter and missing light, so we knew it was time to get him a new tank, fish food, and extra filters. Because the fish was outside of the center’s budget, Gretchen didn’t need to spend money out of her own pocket to sustain this simple but important therapy fish.


    I ran into a family that I had met in Agua Prieta at the Inn Project! They had been processed by immigration and had made it to Tucson with their family of three small boys. They gave me high fives and greeted me into their temporary home as we picked up where we had left off. This was a moment that made me stop and appreciate the goodness of our daily lives. I was fortunate to be a little memory along the journey this remarkable family had taken.


    Meet Jilla! Growing up as an immigrant in Minnesota, Jilla learned the value of community from an early age. Throughout her youth, Girl Scouts helped to ground her in that community, nurturing a strong love of where she lives and giving back to the people around her. As the Global Quality & Results Officer at Alight, she supports teams in using data in ways that showcase the humanity of the customer behind each data point. Fun fact, she earned the honor of representing her home locally and internationally as the 2018 St. Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows. She even received a crown and resided over a real-life ice palace!


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