A Message from our Board of Directors President

November 21, 2022

In the midst of the daily chaos of our lives, we want you to know there are many good things happening here at Relief Nursery. Stressed parents are learning how to navigate their many challenges. They also are learning to connect with their children in ways that are essential to those first five years in a child’s development. The challenges these families face – poverty, mental illness, unemployment, single parent households, or addiction to name a few – in and of themselves don’t mean that children are unsafe or that child abuse and neglect is happening in their homes. But Relief Nursery families are dealing with multiple issues at the same time, compounding already stressful and traumatic circumstances. Simply put, parents are depleted and unable to cope without support.

Perhaps you’ve faced similar troubles over the years? Perhaps you had a strong support network to help you through that difficult time? Most of our families don’t have those connections – but that’s where Relief Nursery shines. We walk alongside these families and support the parents and the children in truly life-changing ways.

Meet Danielle, a Relief Nursery parent, who came to us about two months before COVID struck. Hers is a story of persistence – a mother’s insistence to move forward. She was determined to give her son the stable and safe childhood she didn’t have. As an infant Danielle was put into the foster care system. At 13, she was sexually assaulted but her attacker was not charged. It was a devastating blow to her emotional health. By the time she graduated from Rainier High School at age 19, she had lived with nearly 50 foster families across Oregon.  

Soon after, she became pregnant with her first daughter and moved to Washington State with the baby’s father. Unable to escape the trauma of her own childhood, Danielle turned to drugs to cope with anxiety and depression. “Those were dark years. I was stuck in my addiction and lost custody of my daughter as a result,” recalls Danielle. Later, she became pregnant again but nearly lost her life during a miscarriage. “It was a very traumatic experience and we couldn’t get through it. The baby’s father and I separated after 10 years together. I decided to go back to Eugene.”

Danielle found a job, went into counseling in an effort to heal and met another man with whom she began a family. “I desperately wanted this to be better. While I was pregnant, I signed myself up for treatment and as soon as my son was born, we started that program,” says Danielle. “I wanted more for my son. I would not lose another child to foster care.”

Danielle reached out to Relief Nursery for additional support and was enrolled in our Outreach program where she and her son received monthly home visits, respite child care and food boxes. Danielle also enrolled in Relief Nursery’s parenting education classes which included a meal, transportation and child care. Danielle graduated from the substance use disorder program and, while she did briefly relapse, she found her way back, with the support of Relief Nursery, to treatment. She has been clean for 2-1/2 years now.

Mimi, a member of Relief Nursery’s Outreach team, assisted Danielle in many ways. “Mimi gave us so much support – the home visits, the food boxes and respite for me and Roman. Mimi also directed me to other resources particularly for housing, and she never stopped encouraging me. Roman absolutely adores Mimi,” says Danielle. Last Christmas a donor sponsored her and Roman and she says it was like no other Christmas she’d had in her entire life. “I couldn’t work at that time because I was in school and had no money. I was very grateful for the gifts, the food and household supplies.”

Danielle is hopeful about her future. She is studying automotive technology at Lane Community College. She did an internship in a local transmission shop last year. They’ve kept her on part-time as she finishes up her schooling and they’ve offered her a job when she’s finished.

She and Roman recently moved into their first apartment. “I’ve never had my own apartment. It gives us stability and that feels really good,” Danielle says. Roman is thriving in a local pre-school.

“Danielle has worked really hard to chart a new path,” says Mimi. “She is maintaining all her goals and is not afraid to tackle issues as they come. She is learning to be that one person – that one nurturing loving supportive safe relationship – that every child needs in those first five years of life. It’s been amazing to witness.”

“Relief Nursery was exactly what I needed,” says Danielle. “Mimi is consistent and reliable and she’s not judgmental. It’s really hard for me to connect with people when I feel like they are judging me. I’ve never felt that from Mimi or anyone at Relief Nursery. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Relief Nursery.”

One family at a time – that’s how Relief Nursery works. Like Danielle, many struggling parents with young children need our help now. A child’s healthy development depends on five things: connecting, talking, playing, a healthy home, and community. Community – that’s you! You are part of a vital community that cares for these children and enables Relief Nursery to help parents focus on the other four pillars of essential child development.

Don’t underestimate your power to change the lives of Relief Nursery families. With your generosity, we demonstrate what a community can do when it pools its resources to strengthen families and keep children safe. As you consider your year-end giving please know that our community needs Relief Nursery and Relief Nursery needs you. Your gifts are deeply appreciated and carefully stewarded.


Kim Williams, President
Relief Nursery Board of Directors

P.S. Fully one-third of our revenue comes from individuals like you. Thank you for investing in Relief Nursery children and families at a time in their lives when your support will make the greatest impact.