Rose came to Crisis Nursery for the first time during the summer of 2009. She walked through the door with a wide smile on her face, her head held high and her tiny grandson wrapped around her side. She wore a Barack Obama t-shirt with the words ‘Yes, we can!’ written across the front. She greeted the staff and volunteers as she walked into the office, but as soon as the door shut, she burst into tears.
Rose had never asked for help before. She was a breast cancer survivor. The doctors told her that if they removed her breasts, she would not have go through chemo. Two weeks after her first surgery, they changed their minds and began chemo and radiation treatments. Rose was forced to send her children to live with other family members.
She was married to a man who beat her, and had for the past twenty years. “But he stayed with me through the chemo,” she said, blotting her tears with a tissue. “How could I leave him?” She had two jobs because her husband couldn't work. She didn't make much, but just enough to disqualify her for any government assistance.
Her youngest daughter was in jail and in order to keep her grandchildren out of foster care, Rose took them in. She wasn't complaining, she was simply asking for help. Help that no one else could give her.
Crisis Nursery arranged respite care for Rose so that she could rest. She left her husband and moved in with her sister, who helped her take care of the children. She started smiling for real and not just for show.
At Crisis Nursery, it doesn't matter where someone has been, only that they have the opportunity to move forward. Asking for help is a sign of strength.
The holidays are often a time for fun and celebration but it can also be a time of increased stressed for some families. Crisis Nursery experienced an example of this one Easter weekend. Late Saturday night, the Nursery received a call from a Champaign Police officer about a woman who was involved in a domestic violence incident and was in need of our services. I spoke with the woman and she said that she was looking for a couple hours of care for her two young children so that she could take a walk and try to relax. I told her that Crisis Nursery could offer overnight care for both of her children so she could relax and her children could have a good night’s sleep in a safe place. She was very relieved.
Thirty minutes later she came to the Nursery with her children. She sat down in the office and I gave her the intake forms to sign. I noticed that she was struggling to sign her name and that her hand was very swollen and badly bruised. I held the paper to help her sign her children in. She looked up at me and tearfully told me about the violent event that happened to her that night. I sat with her for awhile and reassured her that she was taking good care of her babies by allowing them to stay in a safe place for the night so that she could take care of herself. She was very thankful that the Nursery was there for her in her time of need.
– K. Hoerman, Lead Children's Specialist
I constantly witness the important role Crisis Nursery plays in the lives of the families we serve through the Beyond Blue program. We are often the only support our families can depend on.
One of our more private and proud mothers was forced to reach out to the Nursery when she went into labor 3 weeks early while out shopping with her other three children. We were not part of her birth plan, but when she found herself in a dire situation, she knew she could count on Crisis Nursery.
Her partner was out of town on a business trip and no one else in this woman’s small family was able to care for the children due to work obligations. Fortunately, she knew we would care for her older children while she had her baby. As this mother endured over 50 hours of labor alone - with the exception of a visit from a Nursery Family Specialist – Crisis Nursery staff provided love and care to her children who were anxiously awaiting the birth of their baby sister. It was such a joy to be present when the children were told that their sister had joined them in the world and that she and their mommy were safe. The two oldest girls were so pleased and proud! They skipped around the Nursery telling everyone that they had a new baby sister. With this new baby comes joy, but also additional struggle. Fortunately, the Nursery is present and able to assist this family as they grow.
- A. Ambrose, Family Specialist
It's always nice to see struggling parents move past the initial crisis and get back on their feet.
E. came to Crisis Nursery after relocating from out of state. Once she arrived, a promised job turned out to be a hoax and she was stuck here with two young children, no family or friends and no income. E. immediately sought out community agencies that could help and began a job search in earnest.
Since she had no community support or connections, she brought her children to the Nursery so she could submit applications and go to job interviews. As weeks passed, she started to become discouraged, though she refused to stop looking. This woman was sharp, proactive and determined. I have seldom seen a person work so hard to resolve her problems. She didn't give up and finally called to tell me she had found a full-time job! She would start the following Monday and already had daycare set up for her children.
However, the required job training took place on the Saturday before she started, and her daycare was unavailable that day. Although the Nursery does not typically pre-schedule care, the program director agreed that this was a pivotal situation for this family and Crisis Nursery agreed to help. The children stayed safe with us while she went to her training. While E. can still call us any time she needs help, her crisis situation is resolved. It took a few months, but she did not give up. With the support of Crisis Nursery, this family has a happy ending.
- L. Fiscella, Crisis Advocate