The generational effect of helping one person in Crisis…
Years ago as a Crisis Nursery Coordinator, I met a mother that would change the way I think about “if you can help just one person.” Every day, Crisis Nursery helps so many families in their time of crisis and sometimes we don’t know the effects for years to come.
Pictured here in 2016 with Board Emeritus of Crittenton Centers, Joan Janssen
Our journey began with the mother, pictured above in 2001. She was a 17 year old mother of two who called the Crisis Nursery from her hospital bed. The hospital staff told her about how our Crisis Nursery could help her as she found her way out of the abusive relationship that started her seizure disorder. She used our Crisis Nursery as one of the resources to successfully leave the abusive relationship.
As the Crisis Nursery Coordinator, I noticed she still needed our services on a regular basis for various reasons including: hospital visits due to seizures, parental stress, job interviews, and appointments. In the Nursery, we support families with the ultimate goal of them no longer needing our services. Therefore, I sat down and had a meaningful conversation with her about her challenges, hopes, and dreams. This mother and I looked at how we could make her life better for her and the children. I, in a sense, became the “mom” she was missing in her life.
As we looked at her goals, we started with small achievable goals and moved on to greater goals. First, she needed to stop having sleep deprivation and stress which triggered her seizures. In our heart to heart conversations, I learned that she now had all five of her children sleeping in her bed. I knew she needed to have the children in their own beds in order to have restorative sleep. I taught her how to have a bedtime routine chart that ended with each child sleeping in their own bed. She loved it but said she didn’t have any books for a bedtime story. Through the many donations at Crittenton Centers we were able to provide her with books for each child. She called me very excited on the first day she had a full night’s sleep.
The second goal was to become a CNA. Once she enrolled in school, her children were enrolled in the Child Development Center for daycare. She learned more about becoming a better mom through our Family Services parenting groups and parenting classes. Recently, even though her youngest child is 9, she called to tell me she had met her ultimate goal of being employed at a hospital full-time. She is now excelling in her position, raising five children who are doing very well in school and is now married. How wonderful it is to see where she has been and what she has become!
At Crittenton Centers, we have the unique opportunity to catch someone in crisis and support them out of crisis by changing their life and their children's' for the better. Two generations being served at the same time with the same goal of strengthening the family. With a belief that strong families build strong communities, Crittenton Centers focuses on making sustainable changes for families. Many of our families face ups and downs in their lives. They know we are there to continue to support them even when they take a few steps backward. We are fortunate that some of our families still contact us after they can no longer need our services and thank us for the impact we had on their lives. We do not do it alone; the support from the community to our agency is incredible. We know that eventually the help we give to families every day will have long term effects on the community… it just takes time.
Donna Ashley, Program Services Director