Cleveland's Providence House offers loving home to children, families in crisis

CLEVELAND - In tiny white sneakers, blue jeans and a bright magenta top, a 3-year-old girl shrieks when she notices shelves of wooden blocks in the bright blue playroom. She immediately throws the blocks on the floor and starts stacking them.

Her 2-year-old sister is just feet away, mesmerized by the ID badge around Natalie Leek-Nelson's neck, the CEO and president of Providence House, a children's crisis care nursery on Cleveland's west side. 

Both girls, who cannot be identified by name for privacy reasons, reside at Providence House which offers emergency shelter and early child care services to children up to 6 years old.

"Our goal is to help that whole child and help that whole family," said Leek-Nelson who's worked for Providence House, Ohio's first crisis nursery founded in 1981, for the past 11 years.

Providence House voluntarily takes custody of children from their parents for up to 60 days.

"We have children who are here that are homeless. We have children who are with their moms fleeing domestic violence. We have caregivers with significant mental health issues," said Leek-Nelson, adding that families refer themselves to Providence House or community agencies recommend them to the organization.

Leek-Nelson said children are counseled and cared for during their stay while parents also receive counseling from Providence House social workers.

"The children are embraced in what a normal everyday life would be. There's structure. They wake up from their beds, they have breakfast as a group, a family. Then, they might do play activities or art activities," said Jennifer McKinley who's been volunteering with Providence House for a year and a half.

McKinley said the sisters, who arrived a month ago, are thriving there.

"They're very active and have really gotten into the routine here at Providence House. They have their rooms, their blankets and they're very comfortable," McKinley added.

About 70 percent of the home's residents are sibling families, where two or more children from the same family live together. Leek-Nelson said oftentimes, the older sibling is the primary caregiver in broken homes.

"We have had children that are making bottles, they're changing diapers. Baby cries and they're going to sooth baby and calm baby. We've had young five and 6-year-old children ask us ‘did you feed my baby today?'" she said.

Providence House currently has a waiting list of at least 15 children. Next month, it plans to open an additional residence allowing the organization to accept a maximum of 20 children at a time, ages 0-10 years old. For more information about Providence House's services, call 216-651-5982 or visit their website www.provhouse.org.

Blessing House in Lorain County is another crisis care center that accepts children up to age 12. For more information, go to their website www.blessinghouse.org or call 440-240-1851.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Related Stories

Cleveland Cleveland's MJ the DJ remixes song 'What's Going On' for breast cancer awareness, to curb crime

The "What's Going On" remix was made in October as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. But the Cleveland man behind it, MJ the DJ, hopes it will also help curb crime.

Carl Terry - son of murder suspect Camilia Terry - gets Christmas presents from Cleveland police Carl Terry - son of murder suspect Camilia Terry - gets Christmas presents from Cleveland police

Christmas came early for one of the sons of Camilia Terry, the Cleveland woman charged in the murder of her young son.

Brothers of murdered Cleveland 3-year-old Emilliano Terry in custody of paternal relatives Brothers of murdered Cleveland 3-year-old Emilliano Terry in custody of paternal relatives

Murdered Cleveland 3-year-old Emilliano Terry's brothers, ages 5 months and 5 years, have been placed with paternal relatives following a hearing on Friday.

Camilia Terry pleads not guilty in death of 3-year-old son Emilliano Terry Camilia Terry pleads not guilty in death of 3-year-old son Emilliano Terry

The mother of three-year-old Emilliano Terry pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including murder, in the boy's death Friday morning.

Cleveland mother Camilia Terry indicted in Cuyahoga County for death of 3-year-old son Emilliano Cleveland mother Camilia Terry indicted in Cuyahoga County for death of 3-year-old son Emilliano

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor announced late Tuesday that a grand jury indicted Camilia Terry for the death of her 3-year-old son Emilliano.

Father of Emilliano Terry cried after hearing how 3-year-old son was beaten to death Father of Emilliano Terry cried after hearing how 3-year-old son was beaten to death

The father of 3-year-old Emilliano Terry said he cried when he heard his son was beaten to death.

Medical examiner: Emilliano Terry cause of death was blunt impact to head, torso, extremities Medical examiner: Emilliano Terry cause of death was blunt impact to head, torso, extremities

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office released the official cause of death for 3-year-old Emilliano Terry.

Emilliano Terry update: Pernel Jones & Sons Funeral Home handling wake and funeral services Emilliano Terry update: Pernel Jones & Sons Funeral Home handling wake and funeral services

Pernel Jones Jr. of Pernel Jones & Sons Funeral Home confirms they are handling wake and funeral services for Emilliano Terry, 3.

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office confirms body found in trash was Emilliano Terry Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office confirms body found in trash was Emilliano Terry

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office confirms the body found Monday at a waste processing site was 3-year-old Emilliano Terry.

Prosecutors: Emilliano Terry suffered from blunt force trauma to the head, skull fractures Prosecutors: Emilliano Terry suffered from blunt force trauma to the head, skull fractures

Camilia Terry, the 20-year-old mother of Emilliano Terry, appeared in court and prosecutors asked for a high bond due to blunt force trauma to the head the toddler suffered.