Kaitlyn Cornell, MSW '16

“I chose to attend the School of Social Work for several reasons. Perhaps the strongest and most influential factor in my decision was familiarity. I had already attended Illinois for my BSW and it was my home, my comfort zone. By attending the University of Illinois I knew I was getting the highest quality education, down-to-earth professors, and a chance to meet new friends from across the world with fascinating experiences.

When I graduated, I never thought I would start a private practice. I didn’t think I’d pursue my clinical license either. The stories I heard from professors regarding their clinical experiences seemed like a dream. I never thought I’d be a therapist like them. But those same professors helped me gain confidence in my abilities. They helped me recognize my strengths and develop skills I was lacking.

After obtaining my clinical license and getting experience as a pediatric therapist, a colleague mentioned starting a private practice. I was terrified! After some self-reassurance about my abilities, I felt equipped from an entrepreneurial aspect and from a legal aspect because of my education and experience. I’m now a small business owner and I’m overwhelmed with support from other private practitioners, former classmates, and former professors. It’s funny where life leads you! Sometimes it’s somewhere you never thought you’d end up.”

Katie Sidwell, iMSW Student, Class of 2019

“I decided to attend the School of Social Work because of the flexibility and course delivery of the program. As a student who was working in the field already, one of the biggest concerns about continuing school and furthering my education was the flexibility and location/course delivery of the program. After doing research on many programs, the Advanced Standing Outreach Program was perfect for me. It allowed me to continue my career and further my education. The program’s blend of online and weekend classes allowed me to live in southern Illinois, continue my career at Chestnut Health Systems in Maryville, Illinois, and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The School offered a return to placement internship that made it possible for me to complete the program while growing in my career. I was able to return to work and complete my internship at my place of work. This was so important to me because I would not have been able to complete an internship and continue to work in the field. Illinois Social Work made it possible for me to do both without having to span my internship over several semesters, which wouldn’t have been financially feasible for me.

The fact that the iMSW program option allowed me to continue to work through the entire program including the internship portion sets it apart from all other programs across the state. The University of Illinois’ reputation for education and catering to their students grows in a positive direction every year due to programs like this one. The Social Work program enabled me to grow in school, graduating as a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. This program’s return to placement internship program also allowed me to grow in my career, opening many doors for me within the organization I was already employed by.”

Jill Bachman, iMSW Student, Class of 2019

“The iMSW program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was the best choice by far! My journey to research where I would obtain my MSW began with encouragement from my current supervisor at the agency I have been employed with for almost 15 years. When asking others where they thought the best educational experience would be, it was unanimous that ILLINOIS was the one and only choice. After being accepted into the iMSW program, every question was answered immediately, guidance was given, and every individual that I came across was extremely kind and showed that they were there to help me. The benefit of the program is to have the ability to continue to work full time at my current employer while attending online classes. Throughout each semester, the instructors provided a quality education and assured that each lecture and speaker brought a sense of understanding as to how that topic relates to social work.

The ability to work while completing the iMSW program was extremely crucial. It also provided the ability to utilize the new skills taught by the program immediately at my employment. Over the course of the program, I was told that I had grown as a caseworker and was utilizing the skills taught to me by the instructors. The University of Illinois School of Social Work has provided a wonderful experience from beginning to end.”

Valerie Cintron, MA, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Asst. Professor

“I love how the iMSW program allows students to be in charge of their learning experience. It strengthens the ability to create a balance between work, life, and education by allowing you to learn at your own pace. My favorite part of online teaching is observing students having their “aha! moments”; meaning, they are putting together field and work experiences with their advancement in social work education and making the connection between the online class instruction and real-world applications. Moreover, the coursework becomes a friendly organic dialogue between the instructor and the student. Students can be proactive in posing questions and ideas more frequently via an online platform than a face-to-face setting, where time might not allow everyone to participate.”

Kaitlin Block, BSW Student

Kaitlin Block shares her experiences as the first ever BSW intern for the Champaign County Coroner’s Office

People have asked me, “What does social work have to do with the coroner’s office?” which is something I asked myself before beginning my placement. I knew that I would be doing crisis intervention and also work with grieving families, but wondered what else I would do in my newfound role. Throughout the course of the internship, I have realized that social work has everything to do with the coroner’s office; in fact, the employees in the office take on social work roles in their jobs every day (and do a wonderful job at it!).

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of my internship at the coroner’s office has been accompanying the deputy coroners to death scenes all throughout Champaign County. In the case of most deaths throughout the county, the coroner must be called and often times will be dispatched out to the scene. These situations are often traumatic and/or surprising in nature for the families of the deceased. While the deputy coroner conducts their thorough investigation, I have the opportunity to be there for families in whatever capacity they may need. Often times, they want to talk about their loved one and remember their life and the time they spent together. Families also ask questions about what the coroner is doing and what the next steps are, which I am able to explain to them due to my experience at the agency.

Over the past several months, I have developed a variety of resources for deputies to hand out to families on the scene, in order to help with many of the logistic and mental health concerns families typically have. To aid in logistics, I have developed a checklist outlining some of the legal and financial matters that a family may need to deal with. It is already a difficult time for families, and the grieving process can begin sooner and in a healthier manner if families are able to address that grief without worrying about a long list of other concerns. To assist with the grieving process, I have also created pamphlets for families to use in any instance of grief; specifically with infant loss and loss to suicide. Grief is complex and different for everybody, so I have provided some basic information but primarily focused on community and online resources for individuals to decide what helps them cope on an individual basis.

At times, it can be extremely challenging for a family to pay for the disposition of their loved one. Another of my primary roles is to connect families with resources that will allow them to handle the disposition in a way that will bring them peace while also respecting the wishes of their loved one. I provide them with tools and resources to take control of their situation in a time of uncertainty, and to empower them by informing them of their rights and giving them the knowledge they need to know all of their options.

It is human nature to plan for tomorrow, next week, even the next several years. And while I am still a firm believer in having some sort of plan, working at the coroner’s office has shown me how your life can change in an instant, and how very fragile life can be. It is good to plan, but it is important to plan things that fulfill you and bring you happiness. This internship experience has truly solidified my passion for social work. I am excited to take every chance I get to help others in whatever capacity they may need me. Every day is a chance to be an advocate, mediator, support system, ally, or merely a person who listens to the stories of others. I am excited to take advantage of those chances while I have them.

Perry Cline, BSW Student

"My life's work now is to help others."

I was raised by low income, working-class people in Chicago, Illinois. I didn’t have the best of things but I was very content with what we had. I’m a product of the Chicago public school system; one of the worst schools in the country in the mid 1980’s. Our books were outdated; there were no lab opportunities for science, and the math scores were one of the lowest in the country. There was always crime and drug use within the building and an armed police officer presence was always seen in the halls. The graduation rate was low and the dropout rate was high each year.

My life’s work now is to help others.

As a resident of Champaign-Urbana, I decided to go to Parkland College to pursue a degree. After graduating in 2016 with a degree in Fine Arts, I applied to the University of Illinois. It was a challenge, but I was accepted. I think it was the best decision of my life.

As a result of a Social Entrepreneurship class (321), I helped to start an organization called Recovery Happens; a registered non-profit in Champaign-Urbana. The assignment was to create a business plan for an initiative aimed at helping people in need. Recovery Happens provides transitional living accommodations for people entering recovery and offers a living model that integrates behavioral health practice with other life skills. This was an easy decision for me, as a member of the recovery community in C-U. There is a need for people who want to change their environment. On December 1st, 2017, Recovery Happens opened its doors for six adult men. On May 5th, 2018, we opened another house for four adult women, and by December 2018, we will be opening a 3rd house for six more men.

Currently, I’m in my BSW internship at Rosecrance Health Network. At Rosecrance, we provide treatment services that allow individuals struggling with substance abuse the opportunity to mature and become grounded in recovery as they progress toward a successful and drug-free future. I work as a Unit Specialist, an entry-level clinical position. My role provides a therapeutic environment to our clients in our adult unit by leading groups, transporting clients to outside meetings, assisting with relapse prevention, and preparing our clients with the life skills needed to help them during the recovery process.

Outside of this role, I have founded and supported numerous Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings at various locations in the Champaign-Urbana community. I recently helped start a new meeting in Atwood IL, which is about 40 minutes south of Champaign where I reside. Our outreach efforts in this area have been very successful, as it is an under-served community in terms of recovery options. I have played a vital part in creating an NA presence in this rural area.

I also serve as Activities Chair for the Primary Purpose Area of Narcotics Anonymous (PPANA), which is the business outreach side of our fellowship. In this position, my responsibilities are to organize and plan NA outreach events, which includes inviting NA speakers to our area to share their experiences, strength, and hope in recovering from drug addiction. These events have a budget of $500-$1k and require careful planning and coordination. The purpose of these events is to provide outreach to recovering addicts who are still suffering. There is no payment to those of us serving on the PPANA business committee. We are volunteers who believe that helping others ultimately helps our recovery.

I’m also a volunteer peer mentor with a non-for-profit organization called First Followers. This organization helps formerly incarcerated men and women make a smooth transition back into our community. We provide job search computer labs and also advocate for these individuals to have the resources needed to get back on their feet.

On a personal level, I seek to provide a safe place and a family atmosphere to build individuals into clean and productive members of society. I want to help take away the stigma that drug addiction brings. This is done by providing hope and opportunity that many have never experienced before. This is designed to empower the individual and enhance their life choices. Ultimately, I want to encourage these individuals to do the same for others in the future. I want to help people who face addiction by providing personal support as a social worker. I believe my work can both help individuals and contribute to overall change. Pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Illinois will help me obtain this goal.

What brought me here? Let’s just say I had an epiphany. I had a “spiritual awakening.” I got clean. I learned who I am and I became happy with myself.

My goal is to continue my education and obtain my MSW. One day I hope to have my own social work practice and continue helping as many people as I can.

Posted on 10.26.2018

Cristen Seiders, MSW '17

Cristen Seiders knew that one day she would help to empower others. Learn more about how she is making a difference at the Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center.

I have always had a passion for people. I knew that, one day, I wanted to work in a position where I could help empower others, propelling them to fully discover their worth and live out their purpose. Upon my senior year of high school, I discovered the ongoing devastation known as human trafficking. And the day I discovered this modern day slavery, I knew I was never going to be able to carry on with my daily life again without taking action. This passion began to drive my goals, my time, and led me to complete a graduate degree in social work at the University of Illinois.

While finishing my MSW, I completed my internship at the Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center located in Decatur, Illinois and was hired on directly afterwards as a full-time counselor. I recognize that human trafficking and sexual assault contain much overlap, and this agency has been such a welcoming and empowering environment that it just seemed like a perfect fit.

Growing Strong provides many services to survivors of sexual assault along with their significant others. These services include individual and group counseling, legal advocacy, medical advocacy at hospitals, case management, and a 24-hour crisis hotline.

One of the most challenging parts of the job is learning how to truly be client-centered. When working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as a therapist, you may not always agree with the choices they make. But, at our center, we meet the client right where they are at. This means finding a way to support them regardless of their choices.

The University of Illinois School of Social Work helped prepare me for my career by helping me cultivate a skill-set for working with survivors of trauma. They assisted me in researching best practices, helping me better understand the wide-ranging effects of trauma, and tailored class examples to the populations I was passionate about. In addition, the social work teaching staff took the time to better understand where we were headed in our careers and assisted us in whatever ways possible to connect us to our futures.

One of my greatest accomplishments since graduating the program has been the opportunity to direct and lead A21’s Walk for Freedom in Springfield, Illinois. The A21 Campaign is a worldwide organization fighting human trafficking through intervention, aftercare, and prevention. The Walk for Freedom was a global awareness event for human trafficking where community members were able to gather together to bring attention to this issue. This is the first year we were able to bring the walk to Springfield, Illinois. I decided to bring the walk to Springfield because I recognize that this is not only an international issue but one that is happening right here locally. I think it’s so important to allow others recognize the importance of raising your voice regardless of your age or experience. And when we take away that fear, we will be able to far surpass our goals.

Based on my experiences, the one thing I wish everyone knew about sexual assault was the importance of supporting survivors. Believe them! Regardless of your own biases or opinions, the initial support of others is critical a survivor’s healing journey. Many times, I think it’s easy to live in a world where we don’t want to believe that sexual assault is happening on a daily basis. But, in reality, the statistics say that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18. That’s a lot of people! This means the rate at which individuals are lying about this issue is extremely low. There are so many more negative barriers for survivors to come forward than positive ones. Whether this be due to fear, shame, normalcy, mental health, or the like, when someone speaks out about this, support them. Don’t shame them. We need more people lifting each other up in our world. It’s not really our job to decide who is honest or lying about something. And, ultimately, I hope that we can all rally together to give these survivors the encouragement and support they need and deserve. Help them embrace their voice!

– Cristen Seiders, MSW ’17

Natonja Wells, MSW Student

MSW student, Natonja Wells is pursuing her second master's degree. Learn more about her current job as an Academic Coach for the DIA and her passion for social work.

Q: Describe your duties as an Academic Coach for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

A: I provide academic support to student-athletes across all sports who are at-risk or have diagnosed learning disabilities/ADHD. Academic support includes working with student-athletes in areas such as study strategies, time management, organization, navigating the writing process, assignment completion, and generalized academic skill building. I also work to fostering a positive perspective on learning and academic success. In addition to working closely with student-athletes, I work with the team Learning Specialists to create the most effective plan for each student.

Q: What do you most enjoy about this job?

A: There are a few things I enjoy most. First, I love to watch students’ progression of confidence over time. Some students, especially freshman, might lack confidence at the beginning of a school year, so it’s great to witness them begin to believe more in themselves and their work as they practice academic skill building over time. Other things I enjoy are building relationships with the student-athletes, and being able to cheer them on when I see them succeeding both academically and athletically.

Q: What drew you to the field of Social Work?

A: My desire to help others succeed lead me to the field of social work. I always knew I wanted to take on a helping profession, but it wasn’t until I took a course in crisis intervention that I realized social work was for me. Since then I have realized that I want to be a positive role model for students. I also want to be a person they can lean on for support, whether that be help with organizing homework tasks, help figuring out how to get to school daily, or help figuring out how to accommodate a specific learning disability. Another reason I want to be a social worker is because I believe African American youth need social workers, especially in schools, who look like them and can potentially relate to them.

Q: How do you feel this job will prepare you for your upcoming internship and as a professional social worker?

A: My position as an Academic Coach is preparing me for my upcoming internship by giving me the opportunity to work with different kinds of students. I’m learning that each student is different, and therefore requires a different amount of support. I’m also learning how to collaborate with Learning Specialist (who might be more like teachers or guidance counselors in an elementary/high school setting) in order to determine the best ways to assist each student.

Q: Can you tell us one fact about yourself that someone might not know?

A: I am currently enrolled at the University of Illinois, working on my second master’s degree. My first was a M.A. of Integrative Studies earned from Northern Kentucky University in 2015. While obtaining that degree I studied communication, organizational psychology, and social work. It was in that program where I took my first courses in social work.

Q: What is your favorite experience at the School of Social Work?

A: My favorite thing about being enrolled in the school of social work is learning from the experiences of my professors, especially because many of them are still working in the field of social work. Their examples are relatable and mirror current social climate. I enjoy hearing my professors discuss things like the election or recent school shootings and how those very real things effect their workplaces and the people they serve.

Grace Mitchell, MSW '79

Grace Mitchell has dedicated her life's work to assisting youth, and advocating for families in the local community. Learn how she continues to make a difference, years after her retirement.

Grace’s Background:

“I moved to Urbana-Champaign in 1978 from Baltimore, Maryland, where I was raised in the McCollum Homes housing projects with my grandmother. As a single parent and welfare recipient, I struggled to raise my daughter and survive the vicious circle of poverty. I was actively involved in working with the adolescents in the community, encouraging them to stay in school as a means of proving to themselves and others that they could do it and make something of themselves.

It was not until the social worker for the housing development told me that I really had the potential to one day become a social worker. Of course, I did not really think I could go to college, since doing hair was my claim to fame. I went on, with the assistance of Ms. Maude Parker, the housing authority social worker and enrolled at Morgan State University, where I obtained my undergraduate degree in social work. That journey was not easy, since I had graduated from high school 14 years earlier. However, with the grace of God and his guidance, I made it, graduating in the top 5% of the graduating class of 962 student. As a result of my accomplishments, I was awarded a fellowship to attend the University of Illinois and the work in Champaign County begins.”

Q&A’s with Grace:

1) What prompted you to take on the Executive Director role at Family Advocacy in Champaign County?

“After retiring from the Urbana School District after 34 years of service, I began working at the Director of Family Advocacy in Champaign County (FACC). My passion is helping youth and families and have been doing so for over 5 years at FACC.”

2) Can you tell us a bit about the programming you developed to foster healthy relationships between parents and children who are in the child welfare system?

“The programs used at FACC include The Family Table/Parent Café groups, individual and group parenting skills training, Life skills training, which includes financial literacy. We also offer Anger Management groups for teens and adults, as well as counseling and parent/teen relationship sessions. One of the many services provided at FACC is 3rd Party and Supervised visit for parents whose children are either in foster care or with relatives. This allows parents to develop and maintain the bonds and relationships that they have with their children.”

3) What challenges do you face on a daily basis?

“The major challenge FACC is faced with deals with funding. However, FACC has managed to weather the storm during the state’s budget crisis. FACC continues to seek funding which will enable the agency to continue to provide services for the Champaign-Urbana community.”

4) How did your experiences at the University of Illinois School of Social Work help prepare you for your career?

“Being an older student and a once a part of the population that I would be working with, the U of I enhanced those skills learned and helped me incorporate the skills learned into practice.”

5) In your experiences, working with ILLINOIS Social Work interns, how have our students made a difference?

“Student interns from the School of Social Work as well as other departments at the U of I have been engaged in developing programs and projects that FACC continues to use in serving clients. Examples: developing curriculum (grad students), developing an intern handbook & manual (undergrads), updating our resource guide for the C-U area (grad students), developing an evaluation tool to be used by clients (undergrad), and developing a grant portfolio of grants available to social service agencies/programs (grad student).”

6) What accomplishment are you most proud of?

“The accomplishment I am most proud of is working closely with the community, courts, and other service providers in making FACC a viable and highly sought out resource in the community. Prior to my taking on the Executive Director position, FACC was having a difficult time in networking with other service providers. However, FACC is now recognized and services have proven to be beneficial to clients served.”

Grace received the Outstanding Field Instructor award from the University of Illinois School of Social Work in 2016.

In April, 2017, she received the “Heart of Gold” award from the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois.

“Grace has been an invaluable Field Instructor for both BSW and MSW students at the School of Social Work. She demonstrates the values at the very core of social work and is a tireless advocate for children and families. Under her guidance and encouragement, students flourish and develop into confident and competent social workers.” -Mary Maurer, LCSW, Assistant Dean for Field Education, Director MSW Field Education, Clinical Associate Professor


Meghan Rewers, MSW '10

Meghan Rewers, LCSW, Executive Director for Crisis Nursery of Effingham County, shares how her experiences at the School of Social Work helped prepare her to meet the needs of her southern Illinois community.


I attended the Eastern Illinois University from 2004-2008 and obtained my Bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Sciences.  I then attended the University of Illinois School of Social Work Master’s program from 2008-2010.  It was through that program that I was introduced to the Crisis Nursery in Urbana.  I began as a volunteer for a few months and then applied for a childcare worker position so I could learn more about the Nursery and spend more time working with children in the program.  I fell completely head over heels in love with everything about their program and the impact it had made on the C-U community in its’ 30 years of operation.  While working for Crisis Nursery, I couldn’t help thinking how amazing this service would be to have available in southern Illinois.  As life would have it, in 2012 my husband went back to school at Eastern Illinois University and we moved back to my hometown of Effingham, IL to move closer to family as we thought about starting our own.  I took a great position at our local behavioral health center, Heartland Human Services as an Outpatient Therapist.  While there I took my licensing exam and received my LCSW.  A little over a year later I took another wonderful opportunity at The Wellness Loft, a private counseling agency.  While working there I helped with Redeploy Illinois, which is a grant that supports a diversion program called Problem Solving Court in our area.  At this point in my career, I was searching for diverse experiences and was certainly blessed with several great opportunities, but I think in my heart I knew I wanted to land within a program like Crisis Nursery.  I had no idea that would come to fruition in the form of starting a completely new program in our area!  In 2015 the grant I had been working with was cut to part-time and now I had a very flexible schedule.  It was the kind of schedule every new mom dreams about, and I did very much enjoy it.  I finally took the leap that had been on my heart for several years.  On September 17, 2015 I invited 10 local professionals to come join me to hear about a vision of what I thought would be a huge support to families and children in our community, later to be named the Crisis Nursery of Effingham County.  From that small first meeting we formed our core Board of Directors and in July of 2016 our Directors voted to appoint me to be the Executive Director for Crisis Nursery of Effingham County, a role I was completely and utterly overjoyed to take on.  I was tasked with the coordination of a building-wide renovation, hiring and training our Prevention Care Staff and completing all necessary requirements to secure our permit and license to operate a Crisis Nursery facility.  On March 10, 2017 we officially opened our doors and began bringing Crisis Nursery’s mission to life in Effingham County.


How did you become involved in the creation of Crisis Nursery in Effingham?

It was my experience from Urbana’s Nursery that inspired me to spread the mission of Crisis Nursery and continue to be involved after moving away from C-U.  After our initial steering meeting in September 2015 and the incredible response I witnessed from that, I was inspired to keep moving forward to see how far we could take this project.  My initial goal was to begin a discussion for the need in our area, but what happened was something more.  From that day, this project took on a life of its’ own.

What challenges did you face?

When we began we had a great team of people, our Board of Directors and a vision for what we wanted to accomplish.  Our Board of Directors discussed donating money to buy stamps so we could mail out brochures.  So, if that tells you anything, I feel like we faced ALL the challenges in the world, but that’s the magical thing with our mission, it brings people and communities together.

I remember thinking, “there is no way we’ll find a building through donation,”…and then someone did.  The Family Life Center’s Board, graciously donated the building they used for the Silk Purse Thrift Store that supports their program.  Our Nursery’s Board of Directors took on the renovation of our building head on.  Each challenge we faced was met with someone that had the know-how or a connection to someone that could help us with different things.

I also remember talking with Stephanie Record, the Executive Director of the Crisis Nursery in Urbana, about a strategy in presenting the idea of a partnership with our local hospital, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital.  I felt like at the time that was a long shot too, until I met with their President and CEO, Theresa Rutherford, Chief Nursing Officer, Kelly Sager and Divisional Director for Marketing, Terriann Tharp.  Along with the help of an amazing local pediatrician, Dr. Colleen Bingham, we presented to these core group of leaders at St. Anthony’s our vision, our needs and our goals for this project.  Theresa, Kelly, Terriann went above and beyond to help us secure our largest partnership with St. Anthony’s which made the impossible, possible.  Thanks to the work and support of these women, Crisis Nursery of Effingham County turned into a reality for our community.  When people believe in something, anything is possible.

Is this establishment related to the Champaign Nursery?

Crisis Nursery of Effingham County is an independent program.  However, without Stephanie Record and her team’s time, support and resources, we could not have accomplished what we were able to do in such a short amount of time.  Each of the Executive Directors at all of the Crisis Nurseries around IL were a huge support and resource to us as we put together our program.  They answered countless emails and phone calls as we were digging into our licensing and everyone was willing to share experiences and helpful information with me along the way.

How did your experiences at the University of Illinois School of Social Work help prepare you for this endeavor?

I loved that the School of Social Work program promotes community service as a part of every student’s experience.  Without that component, I most likely would have never been introduced to Crisis Nursery in Urbana and wouldn’t be answering this question.  That one simple connection, completely changed my life.

For me, the most advantageous part of the MSW program was how multifaceted each program track is.  I chose to study School Social Work, and while that is where my training was focused, I also received education in all areas of our field, which I have been able to draw upon and use in my different career experiences.  Entering into the real world was terrifying, and when it came time to graduate I had no idea if I was prepared.  After almost 10 years I can tell you with confidence this program prepared me more than I ever knew at the time for working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  The structure and content of the MSW program was current, engaging and educational.  I can’t say enough great things about all of the professors, advisers and administrators for the School of Social Work.

What are you most proud of regarding this accomplishment?

This project brought people together to make our Nursery possible  and everyday we continue to feel that support as we work to meet the needs of our community.  There are no words to describe moments when people showed up and made things happen here.  There are so many stories of incredible generosity and compassion and those acts continue to live on through our services each day.  In volunteers alone, we’ve met over 500 individuals of all ages that have been a part of creating our space here.  That doesn’t include the people that have donated to our program or those that simply share our mission, needs and services with others.

I am most proud that, the way Crisis Nursery of Effingham County brought people together to invest in our community’s future and families that may cross our path near and far.  This entire project has been a genuine labor of love and is remarkably special to be a part of right here in my home town.

How is Crisis Nursery making an impact?

Since our opening on March 10, 2017 we have provided care to 64 unduplicated children, over 500 admissions for care, and provided over 4,000 hours of care to children birth through six  years of age.  Additionally we’ve given out over 700 basic need items such as diapers or formula to families in need.  As we continue to operate in Effingham over the next year, we are excited to get to know the needs here and grow to accommodate them.

These are really exciting numbers to see for our Nursery right out of the gate and people sure love to see these numbers.  However, Crisis Nursery is not successful based on the number of children served or hours of care provided.  Crisis Nursery is much more than that.  When families use our services, they add an additional support to their support system.  For some families we are a life-line and one of their only supports as they raise their families.  For others, we are here for unplanned situations families would have never thought to find themselves in.  We keep our ratios of children to adults low, so when a child comes through our doors they are able to receive one-on-one care and attention as we identify their unique needs and get to know them.  These strategies are deliberate, as when families and children are stressed or in an immediate crisis, they are at high-risk for life long impacts.  Our care and services are meant to act as a buffer and promote healing for children and families from the moment they walk through our doors.  To me, our program and the care our Prevention Care Staff give to the children and families we see, is the greatest impact of all.