June 26, 2017 — The Spirit of Maryville award is given periodically, when someone has shown exceptional service to Maryville’s children and families. Aileen Robinson, interim domestic violence operation coordinator for the Chicago Police Department, was honored today with the Spirit of Maryville award for her work with Maryville’s Crisis Nursery.
“Aileen is truly the embodiment of the spirit of Maryville,” said Sister Catherine M. Ryan, O.S.F., Maryville’s executive director. “She has worked to help families return to stability, with renewed hopes and dreams.”
The Crisis Nursery provides round-the-clock, temporary emergency crisis care for children up to age six. Services are available for families experiencing crises which can include mental health issues, domestic violence, medical emergencies or homelessness. Maryville is seeking to expand the program to meet the growing need. Every year, hundreds of children and families must be turned away due to lack of resources.
Even before the Crisis Nursery (CN) opened its doors, Ms. Robinson reached out to the CN’s Amy Kendal-Lynch and Joanne Deuter to find ways to work together. It began with a biannual book fair which has raised $15,000 in new books for the nursery’s library. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is the only police department in the country with a book fair. The partnership between the CPD and the Crisis Nursery has expanded to include training for day care workers.
“She is extremely knowledgeable, tireless, progressive, meticulous and tenacious,” said Ronald Holt, commander and executive officer for the Community Relations Division, Bureau of Patrol for the CPD. “She has a compassionate work ethic that speaks volumes without seeking attention.”
Ms. Robinson has made a difference to children and families beyond the Crisis Nursery. She was instrumental in expanding the state’s Safe Haven law, which provides for the safe surrender of newborn infants, adding police departments to the list of accepted locations.