LORAIN, Ohio — It started with a blessing prayer from Father Charlie Diedrick, from St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Lorain —and then came the official groundbreaking for the new Blessing House.
Sister Mary Berigan is the executive director of Blessing House, a Lorain County organization that has helped children and families in crisis since 2005.
“Our families are very excited. They are very happy for this. They are already scoping out where it is so they know how to find us, so it’s a big day for everybody,” said Berigan.
The Blessing House will nearly triple its capacity of beds and will have rooms for children with specialized needs, so there are trauma therapists to help the children during tough times.
“I work with the children that come to Blessing House. I try to ease their transition. Sometimes we are complete strangers to them and they’ve been separated from their families temporarily and can be scared, so I try to ease the transition if they’ve experienced some trauma in their lives and I will also work with them individually to try and work through some of those issues,” said Laurie Conrad, a certified child trauma therapist.
For more than 15 years, Blessing House has been providing temporary emergency shelter to
parents or guardians, who can bring their children to the facility for guidance and support for complicated emotional and behavioral issues. Handprints and footprints on the wall represent some of the 1,500 children that they have helped over the years — and now the new facility will have the necessary space to add a whole lot more.
“I talked to someone yesterday who is raising grandchildren. She said, 'I just need help for a day, can you do a day?' I said I can do a day. She said, 'I have nobody else to call, I have nobody else that I can count on and trust to take care of my kids, so we’ll be able to take more of those families that maybe just need a day to deal with whatever is going on”
Currently, there is a long waiting list at this Blessing House and now the new Blessing House will have more space and programs for children to thrive in.
“This is what is going to enable us to take care of more children, those children that have sat on our waiting list sometimes for a few days at a time, maybe a week at a time, this means we’ll be able to open our doors and bring them in right away. We will go from ten kids now to eventually being able to serve 28, so it’s awesome," said Berigen.
The new Blessing House is expected to be open by next summer.