Gratitude Recognition and Sincere Thanks

Gratitude Recognition and Sincere Thanks

Life has been turned upside-down for us all since mid-March. We are so thankful we had our eighth annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed before then. The evening was the last social gathering for so many of us before sheltering in place to help flatten the curve.

As the State begins to reopen, we want to express our deep gratitude for two record-breaking events — Big Day of Giving and Krustaceans for Kids. The proceeds raised through these events are allowing the Nursery staff to serve more families in new and creative ways from the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are so grateful for all who sprinkled the Nursery with Love for the Big Day of Giving during the first week in May. Despite the challenging circumstances in all of our lives, our amazing community rallied to help the most vulnerable children and those hardest hit by the pandemic.

We extend a special thanks to Greg and Amy McNece and the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors for their matching gifts. We are so pleased to have exceeded those generous gifts. Thank you also to all who donated and participated in our Sprinkler Challenge — Yolo County kids felt all that love! The gifts made for Big Day of Giving have a profoundly positive impact at this critical juncture. Thank You!

This year’s Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed was made possible by our generous sponsors, donors, volunteers, and guests, to whom this year we say a very special thank you! We cannot thank our volunteers enough, particularly the event co-chairs Nancy Storm and Martha Bernauer. The year-after-year growth of this sell-out event would not be possible without their leadership and tireless efforts. To the entire Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery team: You are making the world a better place for the children of Yolo County and you have our heartfelt appreciation.

Thank you also Lamppost Pizza, Upper Crust Bakery, Sudwerk Brewing, and Paradise Valley Estates for your delicious donations. And a very special thank you goes to our volunteer servers from the National Charity League and Woodland High School National Honors students.

We would like to recognize and thank our returning Premier Sponsor Sutter Health and King Crab Sponsors Jim and Lucinda Childress, Davisville Management Company, 2nd Street Storage, Aggie Square Apartments, Fountain Circle Townhomes and Almondwood Apartments for their ongoing generosity and support.

Sincere thanks to our generous Dungeness Crab Sponsors: Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Harris and Mary Liu of the Woodland McDonald’s.

To our wonderful Blue Crab Sponsors: Martha Bernauer & Maren Heise, Brooks Painting & Higgins Team Good Home Group, Brown Construction Inc., Marguerite Callahan, Carbahal & Company, Coldwell Banker Select Davis & Woodland, Davis Firefighters Local 3494, Davis Oddfellows & Davis Rebekah Lodge, F Street Dispensary, Steve & Teri Greenfield, Heidy & Peter Kellison, Morse Custom Homes & Remodeling, NakanoKennedySimpson, Recology, Kay Resler, Shottenkirk Honda, Sharon Schauer & Brodie Hamilton, Stromberg Redway Friends, Swim America – Davis, Stewart & Ann Teal, Union Bank, and Welsch Family & Friends – Thank you.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, we would also like to thank our amazing volunteer kitchen crew, bartenders, security team, The Bridge Church, Collegiate Studios, and CK Hicks.

And last but not least, thank you to the numerous businesses, community groups and individuals who donated items for our auction and raffle. Your generosity was a critical piece to our success.

Our local small businesses have always rallied to support those in need in our community, and we encourage our community to shop local to support those businesses in their time of need. If you are interested in helping vulnerable children and families in Yolo County, I hope you’ll consider joining us. Please email to learn more about how you can help the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Visit our website,, to learn more or join us with a donation or by volunteering.

— This article was written by Steve Willhoff, Yolo Crisis Nursery Treasurer. The article first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on May 24, 2020. 

Helping Families Navigate Through Uncertainty

Helping Families Navigate Through Uncertainty

I am so inspired by the compassion, creativity, and resilience of our community and local businesses, yet I find myself with a sense of uncertainty — somewhere between what was and what will be.

For me, the pandemic has emphasized how necessary my personal and community connections are to my emotional and physical well-being. I’ve managed to find creative and technological methods for sustaining those relationships, but for some, it’s not so easy.

That’s where the Yolo Crisis Nursery comes in. The nursery continues to provide community support and understanding for Yolo County’s most vulnerable children and their families in crisis during the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, history informs us that with stress and crisis, all too often, comes neglect and abuse.

Without a doubt, physical distancing is a unique challenge for our community that impacts us all in different ways During this time we know that the hardest hit are our community’s most vulnerable — the children whose families are facing serious and often life-threatening crises like abuse, mental illness or extreme poverty during this pandemic.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here for children and their families as a place of hope and help as they navigate this period of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is serving children to provide services to those whose safety is at the highest risk within the guidelines of national, state, and local health officials. The children who have come to the Nursery in the last month have had very high needs.

Our trauma-trained staff has seen undiagnosed children, and through our screening process helped to identify major medical issues such as deafness and Autism. While providing compassionate care for these children, we worked with them and their families to get the medical care and resources they need to help properly care for those elevated needs.

We have children onsite at the Crisis Nursery during the day and overnight. The number of children having experienced abuse and neglect is high, and it is anticipated that number will grow even higher as the pandemic and its effects wears on. Our compassionate caregivers are working with these children to comfort and support them and to help them to heal.

Yolo Crisis Nursery case managers are working with families to provide wrap-around services and to connect them to additional resources in our community for support. We are in regular communication with our nursery families to ensure their children are safe and cared for.

We also provide the childcare essentials that parents need, along with those currently recommended by local and national health officials to help keep them and their children healthy.

In addition to our crisis nursery program, we continue to offer our in-home parenting education programs (Family Life Skills and Attachment Biobehavioral Catch-up or ABC) by way of doorstep curriculum delivery/pick-up followed by video and phone sessions.

These two programs are critical to help children and parents navigate life’s challenges in a time of uncertainty. Also, for the first time, we are taking our family engagement night virtual this month to continue to build and sustain our client families’ support network during this isolating, stressful time.

Our committed staff continues to adapt and find creative ways to help families navigate the pandemic while also managing family crises of abuse, mental illness, unemployment, and homelessness.

Through our community care package program, we are seeing an increased need for diapers, wipes, formula, and other childcare essentials. Sadly, we expect to see this need increase significantly over the coming weeks and months.

Currently, our most pressing need is for unrestricted funds to help support our families through their crises.  In the first week of May, we are participating in two planned generosity movements — Giving Tuesday Now on May 5 and Big Day of Giving on Thursday, May 7.

If you are able to donate at any level, we hope you will give from your heart and help us sprinkle the Nursery with love the first week in May by making a donation.

Thanks to the generosity of Greg and Amy McNece, the first $10,000 in donations will be matched dollar for dollar! Your gift will help the Nursery provide services to protect children while also helping at-risk families remain as stable as possible through this pandemic.

We encourage those who are able to participate by making a single gift in the first week of May. You can schedule your gift now at or by visiting our website the first week in May or mailing a check to 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616.

None of us know when the pandemic will end nor the full extent of how our lives will be changed, but for now we can all sleep better knowing that the Yolo Crisis Nursery is in the frontlines keeping our community’s most vulnerable children safe and their families whole.

— This article was written by JoEllen Welsch is the president of Yolo Crisis Nursery and appeared in the Davis Enterprise on April 26, 2020. 

Stronger Together

Stronger Together

Safety, compassion, community, commitment, respect, and hope are the values that Yolo Crisis Nursery embraces 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Every child we serve receives 100% of our dedication to maintaining those values, along with our further commitment to embrace their parents in our wrap-around services to help preserve their family so that they can grow up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

When parents and caregivers experience high levels of stress without resources, support or relief to help manage their crises, child abuse, and neglect increases. In this unprecedented period of uncertainty due to COVID-19, there are more families than ever experiencing extreme stress.

When parents aren’t able to work, poverty and homelessness will increase, leading to prolonged toxic stress on families that will result in increased domestic violence, substance abuse, child abuse, psychiatric issues, and other serious situations. In these uncertain times, the Yolo Crisis Nursery will focus on the safety of our community’s most vulnerable children as well as the safety of our staff.

We will keep providing services to help children whose safety is at the highest risk within the guidelines of national and local health officials. We are monitoring the CDC guidelines and are in contact with state, local and county health officials regularly to ensure our staff, children, and their families are kept as safe as possible.

Yolo County’s recent shelter-at-home mandate will help reduce the risk of further spread of the virus and save lives. We understand that COVID-19 is causing concern and upheaval for us as individuals and for our community. We are feeling this and our community’s children feel it too. Children may be agitated or confused as they are undoubtedly unsettled by the drastic changes to their normal routines and unavoidable ominous news that surrounds us all.

Now more than ever, it is important that we recognize and guide those in our community who might need extra assistance to the help they need. Yolo County is filled with generous and compassionate people and together we all do make a difference. Together we can weather this crisis with grace, dignity, and minimize the suffering for our community.

During this time, the Yolo Crisis Nursery is developing online resources, and information to help families stay strong and resilient. If you have not already liked the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery page on Facebook, please join our community for the latest updates.

We are working to bring in child and family specialists as well as other experts. We plan to cover key topics like how to discuss the virus with children, parental self-care, as well as ideas to keep children engaged and learning during this challenging time. Please like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

We invite you to join us, please visit to learn more about the nursery, or to make a donation. Thank you Yolo County, we are stronger together.

— This was written by Heather Sleuter is the executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and first appeared in Davis Enterprise on March 22, 2020.

Keeping Children Safe

Keeping Children Safe

“The Nursery is like family to me, I don’t know where we would be without you,”
said Megan, a Yolo Crisis Nursery parent.


Every child deserves a safe and loving place to be and the Yolo Crisis Nursery provides just that. The Yolo Crisis Nursery has made a positive change in the lives of over 5,000 children and families since opening our doors in 2001. We work to prevent child abuse and neglect while helping parents resolve the crises that brought them to the Nursery. The impact of these services on local children, families and our community are best understood through our clients’ stories, such as Megan’s.

Megan managed to keep her family together and her 2 and 4 year old children safe by living with her mother. When her mother unexpectedly passed away, Megan’s life slowly and steadily spiraled out of control. Without her mother, Megan was unable to pay the rent by herself, and she soon lost their home, leaving her and her children homeless.

Pregnant, and with her young children in tow, Megan couch-surfed at friends’ homes for a while. To make matters even worse, unanticipated car repairs began to wear her down, and Megan sank into a deep depression. Fortunately, this young, pregnant Yolo County mom found her way to the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

The Nursery wrapped Megan and her children with loving care from the moment they arrived. “We cared for the kids day and night for eight days, while Megan received in-patient medical care,” said Heather Sleuter, executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. “Our focus was to get Mom healthy and reduce the traumatic experiences for her children.”

After her treatments, we helped Megan find a new home. The children continued to visit the Nursery by day and spend the night in their new home. While in our care, the staff cared for the children with special attention to the lingering effects of the trauma from their grandmother’s death, their homelessness, the approaching birth of their new sibling, and their mother’s depression.

After getting settled into her new home, the Nursery staff helped Megan find a preschool closer to their new neighborhood. In the coming weeks, the children will be welcomed back to the Nursery when Megan gives birth to her third child. “The Nursery is like family to me,” said Megan, “I don’t know where we would be without you.”

“This family really illustrates why we exist,” says Heather Sleuter. “If a parent’s problems keep escalating, we aim to intervene and de-escalate the crisis, providing support so the family can remain intact and the kids suffer as little trauma as possible.”

Ninety-eight percent of families served by the Yolo Crisis Nursery do not enter the child welfare system. That figure is a key measure of the success of two of the Nursery’s signature programs: emergency/respite care for children and wrap-around services for parents. But the stories like Megan’s behind the numbers are why we are here. “We know that preventing children from separating from their parents is best whenever possible,” Heather emphasizes. “We want to protect kids not only from physical harm but from toxic stress as well.”

The Yolo Crisis Nursery’s emergency respite care is funded by the generosity of our community. It is because of this support from individuals, organizations, foundations, and businesses that we are here today to help families like Megan’s and others like them.

As the mother of two young girls myself, I cannot imagine being in Megan’s situation and it’s reassuring to know that there are many ways to help at-risk families with young children in our community. You can volunteer to hold babies, make a financial contribution, or join the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. I invite you to visit to donate, get involved, or to learn more about how you can help.

— This article is written by Jennifer Thayer a Yolo Crisis Nursery board member. It originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on February 23, 2020. 

Crab Feed Returns on March 7

Crab Feed Returns on March 7

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 on Saturday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Woodland Senior and Community Center.

Krustaceans for Kids is an extraordinary crab feed! Volunteer servers will keep your table well-stocked with buckets of delicious, crab, 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,” said Yolo Crisis Nursery board president JoEllen Welsch. “A successful crab feed again this year will really help keep 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 has 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 sumptuous all-you-can-eat food, as the ever-popular giant Raffle and the Live and Silent Auctions will return again with a great line-up of items including 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.

Last year’s event sold out well in advance, so don’t delay. Get your tickets today. Individual tickets are only $50, and several levels of sponsorship are still available starting at $1,000. They can be purchased now at

All Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed proceeds goes 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 child and family the Yolo Crisis Nursery serves is different, but each one is in crisis with little or no support system and all in need of aid. The Nursery keeps 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, such as the case of Sara and her son, Alex.

Sara, a young, pregnant, single, working mom, was on the brink of losing her job because she did not have childcare for her toddler son, Alex. Both of them had suffered abuse. At 4 years of age, Alex had behavioral challenges as a result of the abuse and had been removed from multiple childcare centers.

Sara was proud to be newly on her own with Alex and with a new baby on the way. The thought of losing her job, home and ability to care for her young family was overwhelming and devastating to Sara. Thanks to help from the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Sara was able to keep both her job and home, while helping Alex with behavior modification therapy. We may call it a nursery, but it is oh, so much more.

Please join us on March 7 for all-you-can-eat crab and fun to help our most vulnerable, at-risk Yolo County children, like Alex, avert disaster. Interested in joining the Friends of The Yolo Crisis Nursery? Please email To learn more about the Nursery or to donate, please visit

— This article was written by Martha Bernauer and Nancy Storm, co-chairs of the eighth annual Krustacean for Kids Crab Feed benefiting the Yolo Crisis Nursery. The article first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, January 26, 2020. 

Pin It on Pinterest