AMHERST, Ohio—A Lorain County woman is helping children in need across Northeast Ohio.
After undergoing her own personal tragedy, Shanyn Flesch was determined to make a difference.
“By the time I was 18, I lost both my parents, all my grandparents and so my first Christmas without them was absolutely horrible,” said Shanyn.
Despite the heartbreak, the Amherst woman spent the next year of her life figuring out a way to help make Christmas memorable for other children who were faced with a similar fate.
At the age of 19, Shanyn started visiting kids in shelters during the holidays.
“I don't know what it is, I just absolutely love kids.”
With two kids of her own, the Cleveland Clinic nurse became compelled to do more. In 2009, she started the “Angels for Kids Foundation”, a non-profit organization that focuses on helping kids in Lorain, Trumbull and Mahoning Counties.
“The kids are referred to us by Children’s Services, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, transitional housing, children’s shelters, homeless shelters, etc.”
Each year, Shanyn organizes a huge Christmas party complete with dancing, foods and plenty of gifts.
“Last year we had about 77 kids. We had a big party for them. Each kid got multiple presents but they got the one gift they always wanted.”
The giving goes on year-round. Just before the kids go back to school, she organizes a salon event where kids get the VIP treatment, along with a special outfit that fits their personality.
“The day before they go back to school the kids get pampered from the minute they walk into the door. They get makeovers, massages, facials, get their hair done.”
Beyond the smiles and the laughter, Shanyn offers emotional support for kids that were just like her.
“I just decided I had to help all these kids, make sure and help them any way that I can.”
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