KEEPING VIGIL: The Founders Of The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KEEPING VIGIL: The Founders Of The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery

Posted: Updated:
Bill Bialkowsky and his wife talk to KHQ's Stephanie Vigil about opening up the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery Bill Bialkowsky and his wife talk to KHQ's Stephanie Vigil about opening up the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery
  • Also on KHQ.comMore>>

  • Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery: Helping Families Of All Kinds

    Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery: Helping Families Of All Kinds

    Tuesday, October 8 2013 10:49 PM EDT2013-10-09 02:49:38 GMT
    The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane is a respite for parents who have nowhere else to turn – parents like Tom and Jeri McCormick.>>
    The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane is a respite for parents who have nowhere else to turn – parents like Tom and Jeri McCormick. Together, they have three grown kids and are almost in their sixties. At this age, they never planned on raising another child, but life had different plans. "We had to keep her, we fell in love with her," Jeri told KHQ's Kelsey Watts, of their 3-year-old granddaughter, Jaylynn.  >>
  • When It Becomes Too Much, The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery Is There

    When It Becomes Too Much, The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery Is There

    Saturday, October 6 2012 2:23 PM EDT2012-10-06 18:23:22 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Staff at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery say the majority of parents that come through the doors have good intentions, but are perhaps struggling financially or might just be emotionally overwhelmed.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Staff at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery say the majority of parents that come through the doors have good intentions, but are perhaps struggling financially or might just be emotionally overwhelmed.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. -
32 years ago Spokane was shaken by a devastating news story. A 2-year-old named Vanessa Behan died from severe child abuse by either her mother, or step-father. Neither would testify against the other, so no one ever paid for the crime.  

The news disturbed many, but it hit Bill Bialkowsky especially hard. The young father himself was driven to make a difference, and with his wife was beside him every step of the way, they founded the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.

"She had a broken wrist, fractured skull, numerous cigarette burns and hair pulling trauma. In addition to the injury inside her," Bialkowsky told KHQ's Stephanie Vigil as he recalled Behan's tragic story as if it happened yesterday.

"I couldn't imagine anybody doing that to a helpless child much less one of your own. It disturbed me a great deal and Janie suggested if you're this disturbed about it why don't you do something about it." 

And so he did. Modeling after a crisis nursery in Phoenix Bill went to work, and on the anniversary of Vanessa's death the crisis nursery opened it's doors. 

"From the very first days that we opened I think we served 400, 500 children the first year. I think we do that every month now," Bialkowsky said.

Times have changed since Vanessa's death , and the need is so much greater now .

"So many of the people that come to the nursery are young, unmarried women who are essentially children themselves. They have absolutely no parenting skills. They don't understand what it takes to nurture a child successfully. They get to their wits end and they run out of rope," Bialkowsky said.

Stephanie asked Bill during his interview, "What do you think Vanessa would think if she looked down upon you now and seeing what has become of her tragic death?"

Bialkowsky replied, "I go over and talk to her about it every once and awhile. She's very proud. Her sister, her grandfather and other members of her extended family have been to the nursery, have given us talks in the past, and they have expressed extreme gratitude that her memory is being served so well."

The Vanessa Behan Crisis nursery is a respit. The staff is made up of volunteers that nurture children ages 0-6. In addition to the care they provide, the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery holds classes on parenting and other support services. Look them up at www.vanessabehan.org

If you have a story idea for Keeping Vigil, message Stephanie on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KHQStephanieVigil
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex fire

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex fire

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:29 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:29:34 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Photographer, Sy Stepanov gave us permission to share these devastating photos of the destruction caused by the Carlton Complex fire. This fire has burned over 250,000 acres becoming the largest wildfire in Washington state history. According to the Okanogan County Sheriff the number of homes destroyed by the fire is estimated to be 300 since the fire started on July 14th.>>
    KHQ.COM - Photographer, Sy Stepanov gave us permission to share these devastating photos of the destruction caused by the Carlton Complex fire. This fire has burned over 250,000 acres becoming the largest wildfire in Washington state history. According to the Okanogan County Sheriff the number of homes destroyed by the fire is estimated to be 300 since the fire started on July 14th.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:45:06 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. In Spokane and Pend Oreille counties, several water systems are under boil-water advisories:·>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • 50 children from Mexican border taken to Oregon; 211 in Washington

    50 children from Mexican border taken to Oregon; 211 in Washington

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:34:20 GMT
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Federal officials say 50 immigrant children are being relocated from the Mexican border to Oregon, and Gov. John Kitzhaber says they are welcome. Kitzhaber says the state will continue to welcome children fleeing hardship and violence while waiting for Congress to change immigration policies.>>
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Federal officials say 50 immigrant children are being relocated from the Mexican border to Oregon, and Gov. John Kitzhaber says they are welcome. Kitzhaber says the state will continue to welcome children fleeing hardship and violence while waiting for Congress to change immigration policies.
    >>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex fire

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex fire

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:29 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:29:34 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Photographer, Sy Stepanov gave us permission to share these devastating photos of the destruction caused by the Carlton Complex fire. This fire has burned over 250,000 acres becoming the largest wildfire in Washington state history. According to the Okanogan County Sheriff the number of homes destroyed by the fire is estimated to be 300 since the fire started on July 14th.>>
    KHQ.COM - Photographer, Sy Stepanov gave us permission to share these devastating photos of the destruction caused by the Carlton Complex fire. This fire has burned over 250,000 acres becoming the largest wildfire in Washington state history. According to the Okanogan County Sheriff the number of homes destroyed by the fire is estimated to be 300 since the fire started on July 14th.>>
  • KHQ Special: 'Behind the Fire Lines' airing Sunday at 6pm

    KHQ Special: 'Behind the Fire Lines' airing Sunday at 6pm

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:25 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:25:03 GMT
    KHQ.COM - For over a week, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from people who have lost everything, to those who refuse to let the firestorm break their spirits. From communities rallying together, to the heroes on the front lines. Join us for an hour long special, "Beyond the Fire Lines," airing this Sunday at 6pm on KHQ.>>
    KHQ.COM - For over a week, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from people who have lost everything, to those who refuse to let the firestorm break their spirits. From communities rallying together, to the heroes on the front lines. Join us for an hour long special, "Beyond the Fire Lines," airing this Sunday at 6pm on KHQ.
    >>