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Beech Brook Is a Stable Force for Families

Not much can turn a child’s life upside down more than being homeless. With little or nothing to call their own, young children in transitional housing are at serious risk for emotional, behavioral and developmental difficulties.

Beech Brook Case Manager Kelly Armstrong works with children ages 3–5 in three of Cleveland’s transitional housing shelters, teaching them coping skills and appropriate social interaction through creative play and positive reinforcement.

“These children are in absolute survival mode,” Armstrong said. “Because they’re so young, they don’t have the communication skills, so their stress and fear comes out in their behavior.”

In a gentle, nonjudgmental way, Armstrong also helps the parents—who are stressed and overwhelmed themselves—with child development issues and discipline skills so they can better support their children. She is also an on-the-spot resource for countless other programs and social services they may need.

In a time of chaos and crisis, “Miss Kelly,” as they call her, is a safe, stable force in these families lives. Her caring, non-threatening demeanor makes her approachable for a population that is generally guarded and distrusting.

“I can’t do everything for these families,” Armstrong recognizes. “But I do what I can to try and provide a safe, uplifting time when I’m there.”