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Community steps up, helps children living in Cleveland overflow shelter

Haven Home.jpg
Posted at 3:31 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 18:20:22-04

CLEVELAND — With a steady stream of smiles and squeals of joy, 3-year-old Jaza Diaz breaks-in the new play area right behind the Haven Home on Cleveland's southeast side.

“I feel safer because I don't know this area that well," said Asianna Diaz.

The enclosed space provides a much-needed escape for children living at the family overflow shelter.

"This is just a way for them to play with other kids sometimes. They can grow up really quickly when they're going through a lot of trauma, a lot of changes in their lives, and they need to be a kid and we need to make sure we provide a space for them to do that," said Cynthia Rios, executive director of Haven Home.

Without the funds for Haven Home to make it a reality, Jerry Seppelt and the Southeast Kiwanis Club stepped-in.

"They need to know somebody cares about them," said Seppelt.

The club teamed-up with Little Tikes to donate the play equipment and money to pay for the fence.

"They can see that the community is interested in them, so that they can move to the next level and be what they should be," said Seppelt.

Rios said this donation not only shows moms there's compassion in the community, it drives homes that the facility thinks about their well-being beyond the four walls.

"The kids need to be outdoors, the kids need to burn off energy, mom needs to be outside and get some sunshine too, so we think about more than just providing emergency shelter to them," said Rios.

As she works toward finding stable housing, Asianna Diaz, a mom of two, said the new play area is a stress reliever for families like hers facing uncertain times.

"I think it's really nice what they did, and we appreciate it a lot because not many people do that. It's really a great community and I'm really thankful for it," said Diaz.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Haven Home.