Newspaper Articles About the Director
CHECK OUT THE REVIEW OF HER BOOK AS WELL AS THESE ARTICLE ARCHIVES ABOUT HER FROM CHICAGO SUN TIMES NEWSPAPER & CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
Ellen Blackman, the director of American Nanny & Home Care, has a passion for children's causes and writing. In 1993 she took a one year sabbatical to go to Sarajevo, Bosnia, at the height of the blood Bosnian Conflict where she worked as a writer & volunteer humanitarian worker. Ellen, who became caught up in the plight of the Bosnians and especially the children of Sarajevo, established a humanitarian organization called Jana's House in Sarajevo.
While hunkered down in the gruesome conditions at the two main Sarajevo Hospitals (Kosovo and Sarajevo State) she managed to raise more than two million dollars in medical supplies and equipment for the pediatric units. In addition, she raised beds in the USA for over one hundred wounded Bosnians. The late Jay Pritzker of Hyatt Hotel (Marmon Group) became a great ally of Ellen and her efforts to help the wounded war victims while she was in Sarajevo, providing her with a special liaison back in Chicago with whom she could make contact in the wee hours whenever possible via satellite phone. Through Jana's House a great number of Bosnian children and their families reached the safe haven of Chicago for medical treatment and resettlement.
Ellen wrote a book called "Harvest in the Snow" (click for book review) based upon her experiences as a novice American free lance writer caught up in the struggles of this war torn city under siege that was published by Brassey's Publishers (Washington; London; hardcover 1997; paperback 2003), and received four star reviews in Publisher's Weekly Magazine, as well as an endorsement on the jacket from the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in Washington D.C. The story gave a rare and riveting behind the scenes look into the lives of the heroic Sarajevans and their remarkable spirit to survive. All of Ellen's work in Sarajevo was done pro-bono. Upon her return to the USA, she continued to work pro bono on behalf of the Bosnian refugees who were given legal USA political asylum/status in America. Working with various branches of the United Nations along with local Chicago church groups and other refugee agencies, Ellen volunteered her time to help settle the refugees into apartments and jobs in Chicago. To this day, she is still a volunteer within the Bosnian Community, following up with the many children from all around Bosnia who are now college bound age.