In 1978, the United Way conducted research on child abuse and neglect in the Minneapolis area. It found that parents in crisis needed a place to turn when they needed counseling and help caring for their children.
To fill this need, the Junior League of Minneapolis partnered with the National Council of Jewish Women, B’nai B’rith Women, Southside Nurturing Center and several other organizations to establish the first crisis nursery in the state. It was a unique collaboration that focused on something the community desperately needed.
Five years later, after countless hours of hard work and many difficult decisions regarding licensing, site location and more, what was then called the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery officially opened. That first day brought much excitement and anticipation of a long line of stressed parents waiting at the door. Instead, the Crisis Nursery waited.
To our surprise, nobody showed up! We discovered it would take time to build our reputation and credibility in the community, but we did. And it’s been non-stop ever since.
One of the Crisis Nursery’s first clients was a recently divorced mother who had no job, questionable housing, and so little money she was unsure where her next meal would come from. Having no support network in the area, she cautiously reached out to the Crisis Nusery. The Crisis Nursery cared for her children while she made a plan for her family. It took tremendous strength for her to call the Crisis Nursery that first time, asking for help. She came to trust and believe in the Crisis Nursery and its staff after seeing how she and her children were treated with respect and how her children were nurtured while in our care.
Today that mother is a Crisis Nursery donor and her children are adults with healthy families of their own.
The leadership and vision of our founders was so strong that 32 years later, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery remains the only residential crisis nursery in Minnesota, and one of only 20 in the country. We started with a goal to establish a crisis helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and to shelter six children per day. Today we answer over 4,000 crisis calls and shelter over 2,200 children a year. We’ve come a long way and remain committed to ending child abuse and neglect and to supporting and strengthening families in our community.