Man helped by Children’s Inn looks to give back and say “thank you”

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 3:20 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The annual Children’s Inn gift wrapping booth is now open in the Macy’s wing of the Empire Mall.

For years we’ve highlighted the good work the Children’s Inn has done to help families work their way through crisis.

But we hear from a man who says the Children’s Inn saved his family from a life of violence and addiction and set him on the course to become who he is today.

For years now it has been a common sight to see volunteers hard at work during the holiday season in the Macy’s wing of the Empire Mall, wrapping holiday gifts in exchange for a donation and that donated money goes right to the Children’s Inn. While we tell you about the good work the Children’s Inn does for families in crisis, it’s not often we get to hear from someone who directly benefitted from that work.

“My mom made the decision to take my five siblings and I and leave my Dad after she had endured nearly 20 years of domestic abuse and a lot of drug and alcohol abuse.” In 2001 Adam DeBilzan was 12 years old and living in northeastern South Dakota with his mom and five brothers.....and with a front row seat to what he says was a litany of abuse by his father against his mother. “A lot of verbal, the physical I remember....lamps being thrown, shoes, pushed around, and a lot of unexplained bruises a lot of morning waking up.”

Adam says he came home one afternoon and all found his mother had packed up all their things and that’s the day they came to Sioux Falls. Their destination was the Children’s Inn.

“i remember getting there, pulling up, bringing our few belongings inside and the staff there just being calm and patient.” DeBilzan says.

Adam says no one at the Children’s Inn was pushy. If he wanted to talk about his experiences he could but he wasn’t forced to. He says the empathy and compassion he was shown while at the Children’s Inn has stayed with him to this day and gave him the confidence that he could be a good husband and father; that he wouldn’t repeat in his adult life what he had seen in childhood.

“I really thank Children’s Inn for giving me the courage to do that I guess or the ambition to do that.” DiBilzan said.

The reason Adam spoke with us is because he wanted to do something to help the Children’s Inn out of respect for the help he, his mother and brothers received from the Children’s Inn.

Again the Children’s Inn gift wrapping booth is open through Christmas Eve at the Empire Mall.

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