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January 27, 2016

{Volunteering at a Crisis Nursery}

When I was about 15 I told my grandma I'd like to volunteer at the Children's home. It had always been a goal of mine to help kids who would otherwise be alone and that seemed like a great way to do that. To show a child love that might not have gotten it otherwise. My grandma inquired about it, but her connection at the home told her it wasn't really the right fit for a 15 year old girl. She suggested I apply to volunteer at a Crisis Nursery.

The Crisis Nursery was more than happy to have me. I interviewed like I would have a job, although I don't really remember much of it. It was 17 years ago lol.

I started right away.

For those that aren't aware of what a Crisis Nursery is, it's basically a place where a child can be dropped off should the parents feel overwhelmed and like if they don't get a break soon, they'll snap. At least that's what I was told working there. I never saw a parent come to drop off their child for an afternoon of me time but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

The place was set up like a day care, but I didn't once in the time I was there witness anyone doing anything educational with the kids. In the area I was in (I didn't venture out of it too much) there was a large classroom, attached to that a small kitchen with a door leading out to a play area and a small room of cribs for the infants. On the other side of the classroom was a small bathroom (that always smelled of pee) and a door leading to a small bedroom with a few beds and a crib (none of which had sheets on them the entire time I was there I don't think).

When I first started there, it was just me and a heavily pregnant woman, caring for two small infants (a boy and a girl both taken from their parents but not related). I want to say about a week later I arrived and was surprised to see three more children had been added to the group. Three boys (ages 11, maybe a year maybe a little younger, and 4-5 I believe) and a girl (I think she was around six or seven). They were from the same family and had been brought in the night before due to a Child Protective Services call.

The kids were sweet. They were visibly nervous although warmed up to me rather quickly. I was used to being with kids, having two brothers and a sister myself along with all the babysitting I'd done.

They, however, did not warm up to the heavily pregnant lady working with me. It was quite clear right from the start she was not wanting to deal with those kids...and that pissed me off. It also pissed off my grandma who I of course told.

I remember one day having brought in a huge (like Costco huge) bag of animal crackers, and this woman refused to let me give them to the kids. She had no problem with me eating them in front of them however. It's not like it was a half open bag, it was still sealed for crying out loud. So I put in a movie and the four year old boy hung out next to me and we chowed down all sneaky like ;).

The baby was my favorite, I'm not ashamed to admit it lol. He was a pudgy little chocolate ball and I loved him to death. He hung on me the whole time I was there. I would cart him around on my hip and love on him. I would rock him to sleep and give him all the attention and love I could since I knew once I left he probably wasn't going to get much. I would get him ready for bed, make sure he had a fresh diaper, and rock him to sleep. I'd lay him down in the crib in the bedroom and be on my way. Every morning when I got there (which had become earlier and earlier) he would be out of his crib, not playing of course. No no. Whoever was on duty at night must not have wanted to deal with a crying baby, because instead of him being in his crib in the same room as his siblings, he was down the hall (this was not attached to the classroom) in what looked like it might have been a store room with a crib in it.

The room itself was not the problem, the problem was that he was in winter footy PJ's (it was air conditioned in the classroom part and the attached rooms) and the room they put him in was not air conditioned. In fact, it was probably hotter in that room than it was outside (this was the summer). There was an oscillating fan in there, but still. Every morning I would come in and he was standing up in his crib crying, almost screaming, for someone to come get him and change his diaper and give him love. It was obvious whomever was supposed to be doing this job, was not doing it. Which pissed me off even more.

But I was a 15 year old high school student. What could I do besides be there for the kids?

This went on all summer I believe. My grandma even came in when she came to pick me up to hold any babies that might be there and play with the kids.

We also had a couple college students stop by once. And only once. Since it was almost bed time and they were sitting around reading books to the kids and the woman that ran the place came in and shut off the lights, saying It's time for bed. I will never forget the look of astonishment on those college students faces. Here they were reading to these kids who attempting to cope with being ripped away from their family and this bitch was telling them they had to go in the middle of a book? Rude.

The kids left a couple days after that if I remember right. I think they went back to their parents.

To this day I refuse to support that nursery. To this day I wonder about those kids. My grandparents were trying hard to become foster parents to get them out of there also. But they couldn't do that in time I guess.

So yeah, that was my time volunteering at a crisis nursery.  I always wanted to go back someday, but to run it, not to volunteer. I could have done such a better job than the bitches working there.

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