Yolo Crisis Nursery: Fostering Love

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Fostering Love

Foster families have a critical role in our community. They not only care for children in crisis, but they foster love among us. It takes a very special family to love and welcome a child of any age at any time, day or night.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is a resource to help foster families care for their children. The goal of our Foster and Kinship program is to support foster children and their families to ensure a smooth transition for everyone. Through this program, Yolo Crisis Nursery offers daycare for the first 30 days of a foster placement.

Wendy has worked with the Yolo Crisis Nursery for nine years as a foster parent. She has fostered five children for varying lengths of time, from as little as five days to adopting two of her foster children into her forever family. Wendy picked up her oldest child, James, at the hospital when he was just 2 days old and had to return to work just five days later. Without the help of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Wendy would not have been able to return to work, since many daycare facilities are not licensed to care for infants younger than 8 weeks old.

“The Nursery has been invaluable. Not only did they care for James, but the wraparound services aided me as a parent with everything from navigating paperwork to checking in on my emotional well-being,” Wendy said. “With foster children, there isn’t a nine- or 10-month ramp-up where you can plan. Most times you get a call on a Friday and are back to work Monday.”

“James’ adoption was a long and emotional process that took nearly four years. The Nursery was there to support James and our family every step of the way,” Wendy said. “I was overjoyed when James’ adoption was finalized and he became my first forever child.”

When Lia was born, Wendy received a call from the hospital that there was a 2-day-old newborn girl who needed a home. “We immediately took her into our hearts and family,” Wendy said. “Lia had some challenges ahead of her. She was born tox-positive for methamphetamine. Due to drug exposure in the womb, Lia was very lethargic in her first five months of life, so much so that we had to wake her up to even eat. The Yolo Crisis Nursery was a critical part of Lia’s care plan.”

“The nursery staff was amazing,” Wendy continued. “They took the time to get to know Lia and knew exactly what she needed. At just 10 months of age, Lia was thriving and began meeting all her major milestones. Then, just a week shy of her first birthday, the court ordered that Lia be reunited with her birth father. The families met in a park and Wendy reluctantly handed Lia back to her birth father. This was a major emotional challenge for Wendy and her family, especially Lia’s older brother, James.

Three months to the day after Wendy said goodbye to Lia, she got a call that Lia was in the ICU. Lia was just 15 months old. Her injuries were severe and classified by the courts, law enforcement and Child Protective Services as non-accidental — they were the result of abuse. The doctors told Wendy that Lia may never fully recover from her injuries and would likely require round-the-clock nursing care for the rest of her life.

It turns out Lia is a fighter and had other plans, though. “The staff from the Yolo Crisis Nursery were some of Lia’s first visitors in the hospital,” Wendy said. When Lia returned to the Nursery after her traumatic injuries, their trauma-trained caregivers were able to help her through seizures and follow the care plan designed by Lia’s doctors and parents.

“Three days after her third birthday, we were able to adopt Lia and she officially and forever became a part of my family,” Wendy said. Less than a month later, crisis struck again when Wendy was suddenly single. This is incredibly difficult and emotional time for any family, but especially Wendy’s given the challenges James and Lia had recently endured.

“The Nursery provided amazing care and support for us during this time of crisis,” Wendy said. “I could not have made it through the last few years without the support and commitment of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. They are our extended family.”

Wendy is optimistic about the future and unreservedly adores her amazing kids more with every passing day. Both James and Lia are flourishing thanks to the loving support they received from their foster family, the Nursery and the community.

To help children in crisis like Lia and James, please consider making a donation to the Yolo Crisis Nursery or attending our upcoming annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed benefit on March 16. Tickets are going fast and will sell out soon! We expect a large and festive crowd, who will enjoy all-you-can-eat crab and pasta, a no-host bar, silent auction, giant raffle, dessert auction and live auction with our auctioneer, Dr. John Chuck. Get your tickets and sponsorships today at www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on February 24, 2019 and was written by Heather Sleuter, Executive Director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Crab Feed Fundraiser Set for March 16

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Crab Feed Fundraiser Set for March 16

Jane Eadie, president of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors, joins Martha Bernauer and Nancy Storm, co-presidents of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery

It is crab season in California and that means the Annual “Krustaceans for Kids” Crab Feed benefitting the Yolo Crisis Nursery is just around the corner! The fun, food, and yes, fundraising is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Woodland Senior and Community Center, 2001 East St.

Krustaceans for Kids is an extraordinary crab feed! Volunteer servers will keep your table well-stocked with buckets of delicious, fresh crab with melted butter and cocktail sauce; pasta with red sauce; Caesar salad; and delicious bread. It is all-you-can-eat, so come hungry. Beer, wine and soft drinks will also be available throughout the event at conveniently located no-host bars.

“We’ve had a sell-out crowd for the past few years. Over 500 people attended last year’s Krustaceans for Kids and over $74,000 was raised for the Nursery,” said Yolo Crisis Nursery Board President Jane Eadie. “A successful crab feed this year will go a long way towards keeping the nursery financially healthy so that we can continue to serve Yolo County’s at-risk children and their families.”

The Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery have successfully produced this event since 2013, and we are working hard to make sure this year’s crab feed is the best yet. The fun doesn’t end with all-you-can-eat food, as the Silent Auction and ever-popular Giant Raffle are back, as well as the Live Auction with a great lineup of items that begins with a tasty array of homemade desserts.

We are thrilled to have Sutter Health returning as our Premier Sponsor. This type of dedicated support from our community is critical in helping us achieve our vision that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

Individual tickets are only $50, and several levels of sponsorship are still available starting at just $500. They can be purchased now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Last year’s event sold out well in advance, so don’t delay. Get your tickets today!

All Krustacean for Kids Crab Feed proceeds go to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. The Nursery is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for children and families in turmoil. Our services are free of charge, 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 with little or no support systems. The Nursery keeps their young, vulnerable children safe and helps the 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.

Why we do it

Recently, we received a call from one of our clients to say thank you. Jennifer and her young son James were shaken to the core by a brutal domestic violence attack. They were working hard at starting over when their past came back to haunt them in the middle of the night. Jennifer and James escaped that night with their lives, but both were traumatized.

Little James could recall every horrifying detail of the attack, and Jennifer sank into a deep depression. Our nursery team worked with James in our trauma-trained respite care and preschool program, while Jennifer was being treated for depression and attending to the necessary legal issues.

Jennifer and James are doing much better now. James is thriving in preschool and Jennifer is employed and just purchased a home. Jennifer and James are proof that we cannot erase the past, but with help, we can work to make the future as bright as possible. This is the reason we do what we do and why the Crab Feed, our major fundraising event, is so important.

Join us on March 16 for all-you-can-eat crab and fun to help our most vulnerable, at-risk Yolo County children, like James, avert disaster. Interested in joining the Friends of The Yolo Crisis Nursery? Please email friends@yolocrisisnursery.org. To learn more about the Nursery or to donate, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article was written by Martha Bernauer and Nancy Storm are co-Presidents of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and appeared in the Davis Enterprise on January, 27th 2019

Yolo Crisis Nursery: New Year Brings a New Chapter.

Yolo Crisis Nursery: New Year Brings a New Chapter.

The holidays bring much joy, but for those battling mental illness, the many stresses of the season can be overwhelming.

Early last month, Joan, the mother of a newborn baby, reached out to the nursery seeking respite care. Joan delivered her baby to the nursery, completed the paperwork, and said her goodbyes. When Joan did not return for her baby, it quickly became clear she intended to leave her child for good.

Joan suffers from mental illness and had stopped taking her medications. Thankfully, she had listed her parents as an emergency contact. The nursery sprang into action, located the grandparents of the infant, and helped to locate Joan. The nursery’s wraparound service supported the grandparents with care for the baby, and we helped Joan get the care she needed.

A month later, Joan is in treatment, back on medication and has a new job and a new place to live. And most importantly, she is with her child. Joan recently told us, “I am so thankful for the nursery’s help. Without it, I would have lost my baby.”

It is stories like Joan’s that have made my wife, Chris, and me long-term supporters of the Yolo Crisis Nursery both personally and through our business, Fleet Feet in Davis.

In the fall of 2014, Heidy Kellison and Becky Heard asked me to meet to discuss the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Just a few months earlier, these women had led the charge with their bundles of energy to save the nursery after the sponsoring agency departed Yolo County. This left the nursery in jeopardy of closing after serving the county since 2001.

My first thought was they were looking for a donation, but no, it was me.

The grassroots effort to save the nursery had raised enough money to fund 12 months of operations. However, without a new sponsoring agency, it was decided that the best option for long-term success was to become an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. A charter board of directors was being recruited, and they wanted me, a local business owner and nursery supporter, to join them.

My inclination was to say no as my wife, Chris, and I were on the verge of retirement. Instead, I said yes and committed to two years as a board member. I am now finishing my fourth and final year on the board of directors alongside Becky Heard. I am moving on to retirement to enjoy my family and some travel. Becky will remain actively involved by leading the nursery’s development and community outreach.

I signed up to support the nursery, but the experience has enriched my life. Working with this dedicated group of individuals to help the Yolo Crisis Nursery transition from survive to thrive has been meaningful, satisfying, and educational.

In 2015, our nine-member board was tasked with the job of building a plane as it was flying. The board has now grown to 15 members. The plane is flying just fine, only now it needs to fly farther, faster and higher. I know it will.

The incoming board for 2019 includes five new members who are joining a powerhouse of experience, commitment and passion. It is my pleasure to introduce:

  • Wendy Chason, retired Davis Joint Unified School District teacher and librarian. Wendy dedicated her career to children’s education and now, in retirement, is continuing her commitment to helping Yolo County kids.
  • Penny Howard, real estate agent. Penny has experience in Real Estate and Accounting with Yolo County, with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Penny’s commitment to helping people has been the cornerstone of her career and her life.
  • Eric Miller, attorney with Boutin Jones. Eric is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom II and is active in numerous community and charitable organizations.
  • Will Pro, Owner, Will Pro Construction. Will is a Yolo County native and a third-generation builder with expertise in construction and development.
  • Steven S. Willhoff, CPA and partner at Carbahal and Company, joined the board of directors as treasurer. Steve has a wealth of accounting and tax expertise and is actively engaged in helping the children in our community.

The holidays are about giving, enjoying time with treasured family and friends and being thankful for all we have. I am thankful for my time with the Yolo Crisis Nursery. It has enriched my life, helped my community. I encourage you to be grateful and generous to your loved ones and to those in our community, like Joan, who are struggling this holiday season.

The nursery would not exist without the generosity and support of our community. Investing in the nursery is not just investing in the future of the children we serve, it is investing in the future of our community. To learn more about the Yolo Crisis Nursery, to get involved or to donate, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— J.D. Denton is a retiring member of Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors.

Got Wings? Every Child Needs and Angel

Got Wings? Every Child Needs and Angel

The Friends of The Yolo Crisis Nursery are selling Angel Wings this holiday season for a suggested donation of $5. All money raised from the sale of the Angel Wings will go to the Yolo Crisis Nursery to help children and families in turmoil.

The Angel Wings are sure to spread holiday cheer and the spirit of giving with a donation to help children in crisis. The Angel Wings make a great gift, or a festive gift tag and are a wonderful addition to your holiday presents.  Get your Wings today at the following retail locations:

  • 3rd Street Jewelers, 903 3rd St, Davis, CA 95616
  • Beyond the Garden Gate, 1015 Olive Dr, Davis, CA 95616
  • Coldwell Banker, 502 2nd Street, Davis, CA 95616
  • Lyon Real Estate, 401 2nd St, Davis, CA 95616
  • Lyon Real Estate, 507 Main St, Woodland, CA 95695
  • Pinkadot, 238 E St, Davis, CA 95616
  • Spa Central, 1111 Kennedy Pl #6, Davis, CA 95616
  • Yolo Fliers Club, 17980 Co Rd 94B, Woodland, CA 95695

Parenting is hard. Since 2001, The Yolo Crisis Nursery has been there to help. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Nursery offers respite childcare for families in crisis with children ages birth through 5 years old. The Nursery offers wrap-around services to keep families together, help them navigate crises, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Our wrap-around services help parents resolve the problems that brought them to our door. In fact, 97% of our clients do not become clients of Child Protective Services. Our services are voluntary and free of charge. Without the generosity of our community, the nursery would not exist. To learn more about The Yolo Crisis Nursery or to donate, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

Yolo Crisis Nursery: The Love and Understanding of a Grandparent’s Perspective

Yolo Crisis Nursery: The Love and Understanding of a Grandparent’s Perspective

If you’ve ever cared for a young child, you are familiar with the anxiety in trying to comfort an infant or toddler with a high fever at 3 a.m.

Your mind races with concern for the child, wondering when the fever will break and if they need to see a doctor, followed with the realization that you need to be at work in just a few hours. You know the dread of having to make a choice between your child and a job interview or medical appointment, cancelling a work meeting you organized or explaining your late arrival again to a boss because another babysitter bailed at the last minute.

As a single mom, I faced many of these decisions when my daughter was young. My daughter is now grown, and I am a proud grandmother of two beautiful girls. I am also retired and in the fortunate position of being able to help in caring for my grandchildren when these situations arise. Our family is very fortunate, unlike many moms and dads in our community who do not have a safety net and need to make difficult choices as parents of young children.

Even worse, numerous families in our community face very serious, sometimes life-threatening, circumstances due to severe health challenges, job loss, homelessness or domestic violence.

As a parent and grandparent, I understand what a safety net of love and support can do for young children and their parents. That is why I assist the talented staff and dedicated Board of Directors and volunteers of the Yolo Crisis Nursery to raise support for the nursery’s mission: to provide early intervention services in a safe environment to nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents and preserve families.

Yolo Crisis Nursery offers a combination of trauma-informed emergency and respite childcare with wrap-around services for parents. This model is unique in California. In fact, the nursery is one of only four crisis nurseries in the entire state. The nursery is unique not only for the services offered, but also because it is a home and a place of hope and help for Yolo County families. The nursery has had great success in protecting local children and preserving their families.

Last year, 97 percent of families receiving nursery services:

  • Completed a referral to support services.
  • Reported a reduction in stress after using our services.
  • Did not become a part of the child welfare system.

The success of the nursery is vital to keeping our Yolo County kids safe, with 64 percent of clients reporting being at risk of domestic abuse and 54 percent of the children experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Giving Tuesday
Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized holiday shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27. It is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity.

Won’t you join me in kicking off the giving season by donating to the Yolo Crisis Nursery on Giving Tuesday? The holidays are a wonderful time to give back to our community, especially to our children whose families are experiencing extreme stress, trauma or crisis. Your donation will help to keep this vitally important work serving Yolo County’s young children and their families alive.

Our gifts provide critical support so that a local mom or dad will never have to make a difficult choice or leave a young child in an unsafe situation. Together we will realize Yolo Crisis Nursery’s vision of every child in Yolo County growing up in a safe, loving and stable home.

If you or someone you know needs emergency or respite childcare, contact Yolo Crisis Nursery at 530-758-6680. Nursery services are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Gifts to the Yolo Crisis Nursery can be made on the nursery’s website: www.yolocrisisnursery.org or by mail to Yolo Crisis Nursery, 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616. The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here because of the generous support of our community. We thank you!

— Cam Stoufer has been the Fund Development Director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery since 2014. Reach her at cstoufer@yolocrisisnursery.org.

This article is by Cam Stoufer and originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on November 25, 2018.

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