A Reason to Celebrate

A Reason to Celebrate

Heidy Kellison and Yolo Crisis Nursery Supporters in 2014

Heidy Kellison with Yolo Crisis Nursery supporters at a 2014 Yolo County Board of Supervisors Meeting.

I remember so well the day we got the news. It was in April, five years ago. The Yolo Crisis Nursery would close in 30 days. We had just bundled up the last of 12 children to leave for the day with parents and guardians who were working hard to create stable homes for their families. Two children would spend the night with our staff as their parents got immediate help to resolve the crises in their lives. I thought, “What will happen to these children — and all the children who need the nursery’s care — if we close?”

With the departure of our host agency from Yolo County in 2014, Yolo Crisis Nursery’s closure was looming, and a safe future for these young, vulnerable children was in jeopardy.

It took a village, but the nursery remained open, and in December we celebrate our fifth anniversary of incorporation as an independent nonprofit organization, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Inc. Looking back, it took all of us — everyone who donated or volunteered to hold babies, bought a crab feed ticket, built or painted a nursery playground structure or supported the nursery in any way. This milestone anniversary would not have been possible also without the support of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and our community of caring businesses, foundations, service organizations, and the partnership with Yolo County.

In this season of thankfulness, we are so grateful for the work of local visionaries — Heidy Kellison and Becky Heard — whose leadership, determination, and generosity kept the nursery open to welcome children and families with a place of respite and service 24/7/365.

We sincerely thank the individuals, who served on the work group to create our nonprofit organization and to those on our inaugural Board of Directors. We are forever indebted to Karen Adams, Tricia Bosco, Vic Bucher, JD Denton, Jane Eadie, Becky Heard, Heidy Kellison, Liz Malinoff, Sherry Richter, Jamima Wolk and Judy Wolf. The gifts of your time and talents are still felt today.

We are also very grateful for the work of Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza and Gina Daleiden, whose early commitment to the nursery created a partnership with the county that has made a critical difference in improving the health and well-being of Yolo County’s children and families.

Since 2001, more than 5,000 children have been kept safe and their families healthy and whole, thanks to the nursery’s trauma-informed care and wraparound services for families in crisis. Our programs are further validated by the latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirms that what happens to you in childhood can affect your health for a lifetime. CDC data shows a link between childhood trauma and disease later in life, making prevention — the very mission of the Yolo Crisis Nursery — critical.

Every day we know the nursery is protecting our community’s young from the effects of trauma. Last year, the 474 children and 98% of the families we served did not enter the child welfare system.

As Executive Director, I often get asked, “How can you hold up given what you see every day?” Daily, I do see heartbreaking tears and sadness, fear and families struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, unemployment, health challenges, and more, all without a support system.

Yet I also see the shy grin of a 2-year old feeling safe enough to say her first words, the giggles of a 4-year-old recognizing the characters of what has become his first favorite storybook, and the tearful relief of the mother or father who knows their children are safe at last while they begin their recovery from trauma. With our help, those parents will become strong enough to look for a new home, a new job, and a new life for their families. I see it every single day.

Our generous community — our village — is the reason we are here today celebrating our fifth anniversary, and with your continued support we will be here for many more. There are numerous opportunities to help our children and families. Dec. 3 is Giving Tuesday, a global giving movement that follows Thanksgiving and the widely recognized holiday shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Join us and join the movement on Dec. 3 by making a donation to the Yolo Crisis Nursery at www.yolocrisisnursery.org . If you would prefer to help a specific child or family this holiday with essential items and a holiday gift, please email me at hsleuter@yolocrisisnursery.org to adopt a child or family for the holidays, or stop by Third St. Jewelers in Davis or Minute Man Jewelry and Watch Repair at Arden Fair Mall to select an ornament from their giving trees.

Together with all who have given and all who will give to the nursery, we celebrate our anniversary with you — our village — and extend a deeply heartfelt “thank you.”

To make a gift or for more information, visit the Yolo Crisis Nursery website: www.yolocrisisnursery.org or reach us by mail: 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616. If you or someone you know needs our services, please call: 530-758-6680.

This article was written by Heather Sleuter the executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, November 24, 2019. 

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Inaugural Barn Dance Reveals Community Greatness

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Inaugural Barn Dance Reveals Community Greatness

There’s no doubt about it, the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s Barn Dance was the place to be last Saturday night. “Amazing night!” “The Moonshine Crazy band was epic!” “This will become a Davis favorite event!” “Who knew that Central Park could be transformed into such a magical place?” are just a few of the comments we’ve received so far.

Thank you so much to our generous and engaging Yolo County community for coming out for a fun-filled evening of live music, food, libations, and dancing under the stars. If you were unable to share in the merriment, not to worry, we’ll see you next fall at the barn dance where we can all come together as a community once again to support our area’s most vulnerable children and their families.

In Coretta Scott King’s words, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members”, and I am here to say, by that gauge, our Yolo County community far exceeds greatness. The Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance would not have been possible without a multitude of selfless community volunteers, sponsors, donors and donations and it is my pleasure to thank them all on behalf of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and its Board of Directors.

I’d like to first express tremendous gratitude and kudos to the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and the Barn Dance’s tireless co-chairs, Sharon Schauer and Veronica Stanton. Credit for the inspiration, creativity, and success of the barn dance belongs with this talented, dedicated, and hard-working group of volunteers.

It was our honor to partner with Nugget Markets as the inaugural Barn Dance event sponsor. Nugget is well-known in our community not only for their excellent stores, but for generously giving back through their community-based philanthropy as well.

Speaking of supporters, it came as no surprise when Martha Bernauer of Lyon Real Estate and co-president of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, eagerly responded “Yes!” when asked to sponsor the Barn Dance raffle prize. Martha took it a step further and enlisted Kim Eichorn and Chris Snow, also of Lyon Real Estate, to share in the honor. Thank you all!

Our deepest appreciation also goes to the Bacon Mania and Buckhorn BBQ food trucks for serving up delicious vittles and donating a portion of their proceeds back to the nursery, and to Clark Pacific for providing and delivering the many straw bales, Recology for delivering and donating the use of their garbage, recycling, and composting containers, Marc Hicks and his security team, and our many other volunteers comprised of members from Davis Soroptimists, Davis Rotary Clubs, the National Charity League, and Phi Delta Theta, not to mention the cooperation of the Davis Farmer’s Market in making sure the space was available when needed and, of course, the Davis Bicycle Hall of Fame for the use of their restrooms.

Every bit of support that’s provided to the Yolo Crisis Nursery directly benefits Yolo County children in crisis. Whether you purchase an event ticket or sponsorship, donate clothes, diapers or formula, or make a monetary donation, it’s all welcome and put to necessary use.

You won’t want to miss our next event, the Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed on March 7. Mark your calendar now and sign up for our newsletter at www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Individual crab feed tickets will go on sale in early January, 2020. Information on sponsorships is available now for the crab feed by contacting Becky Heard (bheard@yolocrisisnursery.org).

I invite everyone who reads this to go onto our website at www.yolocrisisnursery.org and discover its one-of-a kind programs and early intervention services provided in a safe environment to nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents and preserve families. That’s what I did nearly three years ago in response to an Enterprise article. I could not be more proud or honored to know that I’m helping the nursery in its vision that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving and stable home.

Whether it’s holding babies at the nursery, joining the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, applying for the Board of Directors, or making a donation, there is a way for you to touch these children’s lives as well.

— This article was written by JoEllen Welsch is the president-elect of Yolo Crisis Nursery and first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, October 27, 2019. 

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Every Choice Matters

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Every Choice Matters

It is often said that every choice in life matters. As a long-time member of the Davis community and a pediatrician with a career focused on serving people in vulnerable and underserved communities, I never imagined the impact that a simple act of dropping off holiday donations for children in crisis could have on my own life.

When I stepped inside the Yolo Crisis Nursery, I was immediately struck by the staff’s attentive, respectful, and affectionate care. I looked into the eyes of those young children, and my life was forever changed. I saw fear and pain mixed with a child’s ever-trusting and resilient nature. If ever there is a time to intervene with warmth and kindness, it is during that immediate time of crisis.

I have seen much in my more than 25 years as a board-certified physician working with disadvantaged communities. One of the most impressive aspects of the Yolo Crisis Nursery is the culture of professionalism and commitment to excellence in the service of our clients. Every family at the Nursery is different, but all – adults and children alike — are treated with respect and compassion.

Since opening its doors in 2001, the Nursery has helped thousands of young children and families experiencing crisis—potentially avoiding the trauma of child abuse or neglect. The impact of the Nursery is often best understood through our client’s stories and successes. I want to share a recent success.

Lucas struggled to get up the two steps to enter the Nursery’s front door the first time he arrived. He was just two years old, had a heart condition and was morbidly obese – weighing more than three times the average two-year-old. Lucas’ medical conditions were the result of poor nutrition and neglect. As a physician, seeing this in a child just two years of age was heartbreaking and shocking. Lucas and his family came to the Nursery through a referral from a medical provider. The Nursery was a key piece of a safety plan for Lucas to focus on his physical, emotional and developmental needs.

Lucas began attending our specialized preschool, and the wrap-around services embraced his family with parenting education and connections to services to help them build a healthy lifestyle for their family. After just two months, Lucas is able to climb the stairs into the Nursery’s front door with ease. He has lost 20 pounds, and is able to interact and play with the other children. The journey has just begun for Lucas and his family, but they are all becoming healthier and stronger together. The Yolo Crisis Nursery helps children and families when they need it most, in times of crisis. The services the Nursery offers change lives, and in many cases can be the difference between life and death.

Children 5 years old and younger are the most likely to be victims of abuse, yet fortunately, they are usually quite resilient if intervention is swift and nurturing. Targeted, critically time-sensitive support can make all the difference.

I have been a supporter of the Yolo Crisis Nursery ever since that chilly December day several years ago, and I am proud to be completing my third year as a member of the Board of Directors.

You can also support the Nursery and its critical mission. An easy way to take that first step is to join us on Saturday, October 19, at 6 pm at Central Park in Davis as we kick up our heels for kids at our inaugural Barn Dance. The Barn Dance will be hosted by the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and is sponsored by Nugget Markets. This amazing event will bring our community together for a night of entertainment, dancing, and fun, all to benefit the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

If an evening of good old-fashioned fun is not reason enough to come to the Barn Dance, come for Lucas and the thousands of children in crisis that the Yolo Crisis Nursery has helped since its opening. I invite you to get your Barn Dance Tickets today — they are just $25, and include one beverage ticket. Tickets can be purchased now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

If you cannot come to the Barn Dance, there are many other ways to support the Nursery: volunteer to hold babies, make a financial contribution, or join the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. To donate, get involved, or to learn more about how you can help, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Find out, like I did, how this impactful organization changes lives.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, September 22, 2019, and was written by Samrina Marshall. Samrina is a pediatrician and a board member for the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

Inaugural Barn Dance Coming Oct. 19

Inaugural Barn Dance Coming Oct. 19

Get ready to kick up your heels for kids at the Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance, a one-of-a-kind event, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in Central Park in Davis. The Barn Dance will be hosted by the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Nugget Markets, continuing their long history of local philanthropy, is sponsoring the Barn Dance.

Dance the night away to one of the hottest modern country cover bands — MoonShine Crazy — performing live! MoonShine Crazy is the 2019 Sacramento Music Award-winning “Best Cover Band.” The band includes Jessica Spaid, Mark Coudriet, Ritch Shefke and Dave “Shoobie” Shafer. With top-notch vocal talent, tight harmonies, and excellent musicianship, MoonShine Crazy entertains crowds all over Northern California covering country hits, top 40 and rock classics. We may even get lucky enough to hear a few of MoonShine Crazy’s newly released originals during what is sure to be a fun-filled evening.

Long-time Yolo Crisis Nursery supporters Martha L. Bernauer, Kim Eichorn, and Snow and Associates, all of Lyon Real Estate, have generously donated an amazing raffle prize. Buy a ticket and try your luck at winning a trip to Nashville, the home of country music! The raffle winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize that can be used to cover airfare, hotel, and Grand Ole Opry tickets. We are so fortunate to have the support of this wonderful group of colleagues from Lyon Real Estate. Raffle tickets are $20 each or 3 for $50. The winning ticket will be drawn at the end of the evening; however, you need not be present to win. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person at the Barn Dance.

Come hungry or work up your appetite on the dance floor. Either way, Bacon Mania and Buckhorn food trucks will tempt your taste buds with delicious Barn Dance fare available for purchase. Best of all, you will be supporting the Nursery while you satisfy your hunger since these food trucks have kindly agreed to donate a portion their proceeds to the Yolo Crisis Nursery! Beer, wine, and water will be available for purchase at our conveniently located watering holes.

“The Barn Dance is all about community. It is about bringing our people together for an evening of entertainment, dancing, and good old-fashioned fun to benefit the Nursery,” said Jane Eadie, President of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. “The entire board and our wonderful staff are so appreciative of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s efforts to build community and raise funds for the Nursery. Thank you to this amazing group of volunteers for your year-round fundraising efforts and for hosting the Barn Dance and our annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed every March.”

We are extremely grateful to have Nugget Markets as our inaugural Barn Dance sponsor. It is wonderful to partner with a local family-owned company with a long-standing tradition for giving back to their community. “Since 1926, Nugget Markets has been committed to supporting local non-profits and causes in our community,” said Kate Stille, Director of Marketing, Nugget Markets. “We are excited to be part of the Barn Dance, and more importantly, happy to support the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s mission to protect the most vulnerable children in our community. The value of the Nursery’s work in our community is immeasurable.”

Barn Dance Tickets are just $25, and include one drink ticket for water, beer, or wine. Tickets can be purchased now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Western attire is encouraged. Parking will be available at City Hall Lot at 23 Russell Boulevard. When making your Barn Dance plans please consider taking a taxi or using a rideshare service. We anticipate a sell-out crowd, so don’t delay. Get your tickets today! All proceeds go to the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for children and families in turmoil. Our services are free of charge, voluntary, and we do not turn away any children. The Nursery’s emergency respite care program is funded by the generosity of our community. Every family the Yolo Crisis Nursery serves is different, but each one is in crisis and all in need of aid, having little or no support systems of their own. The Nursery keeps their young, vulnerable children safe and helps parents resolve their immediate crises.

The Nursery continues to work with and follow families for one year to ensure that they successfully transition out of crisis, the children remain safe, and the family stays whole. To donate or learn more, please visit: www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 25, 2019, and was written by By Sharon Schauer, member of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and co-chair of the Barn Dance committee.  

‘Baby Whisperer’ Connie Cordero Retiring After 16 Years

‘Baby Whisperer’ Connie Cordero Retiring After 16 Years

Nearly every time I visit the Yolo Crisis Nursery, I am welcomed by Connie Cordero with a warm smile and an infant in her arms. As our longtime Infant Room Teacher, Connie has a special connection with babies that is like no other. Children instantly trust and feel safe with Connie, earning her the affectionate title of “The Baby Whisperer.”

Connie joined the nursery staff in 2003 with a passion to make a difference for Yolo County’s most vulnerable children — those too young to have their own voice or care for themselves. Her goal, no matter how briefly she cares for them, is to leave a lasting impression with each and every child entrusted to her care. And what a difference Connie has made over the last 16 years! All too frequently, children arrive under extreme duress, but Connie’s peaceful and kind presence immediately eases them and makes them feel safe. The nursery has served over 5,000 children since opening its doors, and Connie has touched the lives of almost all of them. She has been their constant.

“It warms my heart to walk into the infant room to see Connie singing, dancing, and playing dress-up with the babies,” said Heather Sleuter, executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. “Connie’s dedication to our clients is extraordinary and the positive impact her work has had on our community is immeasurable. Connie’s contributions are so extensive — she will be almost impossible to replace.”

Connie’s work transcends her direct care for the children. In addition to serving as the Infant Room teacher, she manages our Care Packages program. Through this program, we collect donated essential baby and child items from the community to provide customized care packages for parents to quickly get them necessities and ensure their children are well-cared for and safe. To learn more about donating items or to request a care package, please visit yolocrisisnursery.org/give/#wish-list or call 530-758-6680.

Connie has also played a critical role in shaping the culture of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. She has been responsible for numerous staff and volunteer trainings and she, herself, is a model for respectful, empowering, and compassionate care for our client families.

“Connie has a serene and kind way about her that is also very powerful. Kids come in having been through some pretty terrible stuff. She is able to calm them and make them feel safe and secure,” said Dr. Dave Nakano, retired pediatrician and Yolo Crisis Nursery volunteer. “If there were a picture next to the definition of mother in the dictionary it would be Connie. She may be the most warmhearted person I have ever had the privilege of knowing.”

Every child and family we serve is different, but each one is in crisis and all are in need of aid, having little or no support systems of their own. With a little help at just the right moment, families can avert crises. Rather than free-falling, they instead turn towards a more promising future. Since opening our doors in 2001, the Yolo Crisis Nursery has a 97% success rate for keeping children out of the child welfare system and Connie has been an integral part of that success.

Connie is set to retire in mid-August and, after a 16-year career helping other families, she plans to spend more time with her own children, her nine (soon to be 10) grandchildren, and first great-grandchild. The Board of Directors, Friends of YCN and the entire nursery staff would like to express our deep admiration and utmost appreciation for the selfless service Connie has given to the children of Yolo County. It is our sincere hope that Connie will continue to be a friend of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and come back to visit every now and then.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery offers voluntary, free, nurturing crisis and respite childcare for ages birth through 5 years, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Equally important are our wrap-around services that help parents resolve the problems that brought them to our door. The nursery strives to preserve families. Families that stay whole become stronger.

If you would like to help a Yolo County family at just the right moment, please consider supporting the nursery by volunteering to hold babies, joining the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, helping with a fundraising event like our upcoming Barn Dance on Saturday, Oct. 19, or by making a financial donation. If you would like to dedicate a gift to the Nursery in Connie’s honor, you may do so at www.yolocrisisnursery.org/give.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery could not survive without the generosity of our community, and we are grateful for your support. Thank you on behalf of the children and families we serve.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 4, 2019, and was written by Jane Eadie, President of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors

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