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Thank you, everyone.

The Crisis Nursery of Effingham held a volunteer/donor appreciation open house Thursday evening. Anyone who made donations or provided services for the Crisis Nursery was invited to tour the facility and meet the staff. Volunteers and community members came, despite the snow and limited parking. Since coming home from the open house, I have found myself continually thinking back to the evening. At first, I struggled to put my finger on why the night seemed so special. The obvious reasons came to mind: Pride in a friend's accomplishment, sign of the nursery being close to opening, delicious cookies . . . But then I remember the sense of pride and awe I feel each time I stand in there, especially Thursday as others saw the nursery for the first time since renovation started. When I look around at Crisis Nursery, I see secure doors, an ADA approved ramp, beautiful hardwood floors, colorful window treatments, lulling rockers, functional cubbies, cheerfully painted windows, beautiful cabinetry, and toys that beckon me to play pretend. This may sound typical of a place that plans to accommodate children, but the upcoming Crisis Nursery of Effingham is anything but ordinary. What makes it so special? The fact that the organization is largely funded by donations -- donations of time, money, toys, clothes, and more. Every inch of the Crisis Nursery has been built and created with love and support from those in our community. All of the furniture, toys, clothing, blankets, cabinetry, etc. are donation-based. There was no trip by the Crisis Nursery staff to Wal Mart or Babies R Us to furnish the place. Instead, something much more special happened. People, young and old, looked inside their hearts, their homes, and/or their businesses and shared: From the big, stuffed giraffe reading the book in the activity center, to the cribs in the nursery room, to the beautiful cabinets and counter top, to the baby blue Honda Civic, and so much more. All these things that are making the Crisis Nursery of Effingham a reality are gifts. But the true gift is seeing the community come together and provide unspeakable generosity. To watch young children decide to use birthday money to provide supplies (e.g., diapers and wipes). To see young men on a football team tear down walls and carry heavy furniture. And men and women who put in 40 hours a week at their usual jobs, donating their time and muscle to renovation, cleaning, and prep.

The mission of the nursery is to "prevent childhood trauma and abuse". The nursery intends to do this through providing emergency and respite care to children ages birth to 6 years. True, trauma can be prevented/reduced if families have options, resources, and supports. However, what can be lost in the research is that trauma can be prevented by creating an environment- a community- of love, support, generosity, and kindness, making some types of trauma less likely to occur. The people our community, Effingham, and surrounding communities have embraced this unspoken mission and are doing their part. We can invite people to reach out when they need help and I'm proud that the Crisis Nursery will offer this, but to be able to provide a community of caring is invaluable and such an important step in further decreasing the rate of trauma overall. Thank you, everyone.

-Kayla Schumacher, Crisis Nursery Board President

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