Freedom House Childcare Coordinator
Green Bay native Crystal Champeau was a hurting mother of four children (under the age of 6) when she entered Freedom House for help after running out of options in 2009. Her husband had left her with a three-week-old daughter. Her father and mother-in-law helped as much as possible, but after a while she found herself in and out of shelters. Her own parents had never married and she was left to help raise her siblings while her mother worked full time. She left home when she was in high school, looking for a more stable family life with an Aunt who was willing to take her in. Despite her troubled upbringing, family has always been important to Crystal.
“Families mean a lot to me; I craved that so much growing up - a healthy family,” Crystal explained. “I want to help strengthen the families here and I want them to have the best experience they can have. Also, I want this childcare to be a part of that stepping stone they are going through to help them `up` in life. I am very optimistic both children and parents can walk away from here better than when they first arrived. This is the biggest thing for me - helping others to grow.”
Crystal`s passion is deep and heartfelt. She has always loved children and always dreamed of having a career caring for them so she was understandably excited when Freedom House offered her the opportunity and training to do so. She doesn’t for a minute claim to be better than anyone else, she says she may not be as `book smart` as others, but she understands people, knows how to encourage and uplift them and understands the very difficult plight of single, homeless parents.
“I`ve been through so much already in my short life and because I`ve been through so much, I know what they struggle with,” she explained. “It’s hard; I couldn’t get a job because I had my children with me. You’d get those looks, I’d pick up an application and they’d look at me and I knew they were thinking, ‘Ok, she can’t get someone to watch her kids to pick up the application, how’s she going to be able to get to a job?’ For me, it’s exciting to be able to help overcome that problem. I know what it’s like; I’ve been through it all.”
Crystal says she’s equally excited about being able to reach out to children who were in her kids’ positions as well as parents, providing the reassurance that their children are very well taken care of and they don’t have to worry about paying for it or getting across town to an outside daycare service.
“Feeling secure is number one, for both parents and children,” Crystal said. “I helped raise my brother and sister while my mother worked full time; I`ve had to overcome the problems from my past, work through many obstacles and issues and build a better life. That’s what we do best here-help people recapture and then realize their dreams.”