‘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

Volunteers Help Protect Children, Families

Volunteers Help Protect Children, Families

“Volunteer” is a word that we are fortunate to hear frequently in our generous community. With so many worthwhile organizations in need of volunteers, the challenge can be in finding just the right fit.

Over the years, I have volunteered with numerous organizations and my reasons for choosing them have varied from their genuine need, to the suggestion of a friend, to a mission that resonates to my core. It’s hearing the heartbreaking yet inspirational stories, such as “Judy’s,” that reaffirms my commitment to the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

As Judy rocked her newborn daughter, “Erica,” in the hospital, she was overwhelmed with love. She realized that as a young mother responsible for an innocent baby, her life would never be the same. Alone in the hospital room with her daughter, Judy also felt scared, isolated and unsure of what would come next, and these feelings were for good reason. Judy’s spouse, Erica’s father, was physically abusive, and Judy struggled with drug addiction to escape the pain.

Erica was born premature and had to remain in the hospital for additional care, but Judy was released. Upon returning home after giving birth, Judy was severely beaten. Determined to see Erica, she returned to the hospital the next day to hold her baby girl. The hospital staff saw the bruising and were greatly concerned, triggering them to alert security. Judy was terrified, so she immediately fled the hospital.

After fleeing the hospital, her spouse retaliated with even more physical abuse and held her captive in their home. He did not allow her to leave for any reason, not even to visit Erica in the hospital.

When no parent or family appeared at the hospital for Erica, the authorities had no choice but to declare her abandoned. The newborn was discharged from the hospital into a foster home. One day, an opportunity finally presented itself. Trembling with fear, Judy escaped captivity. Resolute to find Erica, she reached out to her local women’s shelter for help. Judy connected with the Yolo Crisis Nursery for support as she reunited with Erica.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery cared for Erica while Judy worked towards a brighter future. Judy’s physical injuries from the abuse were so severe that she required reconstructive surgery. We cared for Erica while Judy was in the hospital and healing from surgery. For Judy, the physical healing was just the beginning. She needed time to recover emotionally and to address her addiction issues through counseling.

Judy worked hard to heal and to rebuild a happy and stable life for sheand Erica. She secured and sustained a job, moved into a home, and purchased a vehicle for her family. Judy has remained sober and retained full custody of Erica. She graduated from needing the nursery’s services and just last week said, “I am forever grateful for the Yolo Crisis Nursery. I could not be where I am today without your loving care and support.”

Before joining the Board of Directors, I thought I knew what the nursery did. I had donated financially in the past and understood that the families served were in need and had very young children. I now know that Judy’s story is just one of many where the nursery prevented a crisis from escalating and turning into a tragedy.

As a new member of the Board of Directors, I toured the nursery and my understanding and appreciation of the available services increased significantly. My concern for families in need in our community also increased. The Yolo Crisis Nursery Executive Director and her team provide trauma-informed care for the children, parenting education, wrap-around services and a tremendous amount of support for our client families, and they do it in an incredible way.

No child is turned away, so the nursery team regularly overcomes challenges to ensure the children are safe and the families receive the needed services. If you are interested in touring the nursery yourself or with a small group of friends, please request an appointment via email at bheard@yolocrisisnursery.org.

My experience with the Yolo Crisis Nursery has touched my heart in ways I never imagined. It has also introduced me to an incredible group of fellow board members. We all come to the board with diverse backgrounds, professions, and experience, but we are unified in our commitment to serve the most vulnerable in our community — children ages zero to five and their families.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery always has a need for more volunteers. Supporting the nursery could include volunteering to hold babies, joining the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, making a financial donation, becoming a member of our Board of Directors or helping with a fundraising event like our upcoming Barn Dance on Oct. 19. Please consider this my invitation for you to join us with your time, talents or a financial contribution.

I promise that it will change your life, and you will be glad you did. To learn more, please visit our website www.yolocrisisnursery.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my dear friend for asking me to join the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

  • This article was written by Pat Stromberg, Yolo Crisis Nursery Board Member and appeared in the Daivs Enterprise on June 23, 2019.
Yolo Crisis Nursery: A Father’s Love

Yolo Crisis Nursery: A Father’s Love

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. This is often best understood through our clients’ stories. Today I will share Tom’s.

Tom was happily married and the proud father of Logan (4) and Alyssa (2) with a baby boy on the way when suddenly, one of the most joyous days turned tragic for Tom and his family. Due to unforeseen complications, Tom’s wife died unexpectedly during the birth of their youngest son, Oliver. Now a heartbroken and grieving widower, this loving father of three was left to wonder how he could make it through even one day, let alone the future months and years.

With no family or support network nearby, Tom was overwhelmed. He had always worked while his wife was the primary caregiver for the children. Suddenly he was alone and in need of assistance. Thankfully, the Yolo Crisis Nursery was there to help. The Nursery’s trauma-trained caregivers looked after Logan, Alyssa, and Oliver while Tom took the necessary time to make arrangements and plan for the future as a solo parent of three young children.

While in our care, the children received an abundance of love and support, as well as healthy meals, playtime and the rest their growing bodies needed. The Nursery embraced Tom and the kids with our wrap-around services. We connected Tom with the help he needed to parent and lead his family through their shared loss, including referrals for daycare, developmental screenings, counseling, and a grief support group.

While nothing will remove the pain or loss, I feel fortunate that we have the Nursery in our community to help children and families in crisis. The Yolo Crisis Nursery’s services are always voluntary and free of charge to parents and caregivers and are 100% funded by the generosity of our community.

Although every family the Nursery serves is unique, they all have one thing in common — they are in crisis and in need of help. A family crisis can arise for many reasons such as the loss of a parent, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, sudden job loss or homelessness, and countless other challenges. The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here to help all families in crisis with children from birth to 5 years old.

When families are in crisis, young children are the most vulnerable. Child abuse and neglect is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as a significant public health problem in the United States with an estimated one in four children experiencing abuse or neglect at some point in their lives. As a loving husband and adoring father myself, Tom’s story and these stark statistics really resonate with me.

With a young daughter of my own, I cannot begin to imagine being in Tom’s shoes. What would I do if I was suddenly thrust into this difficult situation? Luckily, the Yolo Crisis Nursery exists and is available to help those in need. I admire Tom’s courage and love for his family. Asking for help is never easy. We are fortunate to have a Crisis Nursery in our community. If you are in crisis or know a family who needs assistance, please call 530-758-6680 or visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org. We are here to help anytime day or night.

This year, join me in recognizing all of the amazing Dads in your life on Father’s Day with a gift in their honor to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. We will mail him a card displaying a beautiful finger-painting picture with your personalized message inside. Best of all, it will arrive in plenty of time for Father’s Day. Simply go to  www.yolocrisisnursery.org/cards/, make a minimum donation of $25, include a personal message, and we’ll take care of the rest.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, and the families who rely on the Nursery, we extend a heartfelt thank you to our amazing community for your continued support. To donate, to learn more or join us, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.


  • This article was written by Steve Willhoff, Treasurer of Yolo Crisis Nursery and appeared in the Daivs Enterprise on May, 26, 2019.
Yolo Crisis Nursery: Give Today to Help Them Grow

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Give Today to Help Them Grow

“Camila” and “Ramone” loved each other and adored their two children, “Mateo,” 3½, and “Mia,” 9 months. Life was good for this young family, and they had many plans and dreams for their future. However, those plans were destroyed one afternoon at a family barbecue when Ramone and his brother engaged in a fatal altercation. Sadly, Mateo and Mia witnessed the deadly dispute.

The family was overwhelmed with shock, grief, and anger. With Ramone in jail, Camila and the children’s lives were turned upside-down. Mateo and Mia were traumatized and, since Camila had no job, the family lost their home. Camila had nowhere to turn. Devastated and without resources, Camila was anxious and frightened. She was forced to start a new life raising her children — alone, this time.

Not a moment too soon, Camila, Mateo, and Mia found the Yolo Crisis Nursery. The nursery’s trauma-informed team immediately embraced Camila and her children with wrap-around services, including much-needed counseling. Camila was not alone anymore and began to build a new life for her family, while Mateo and Mia were in the expert hands of the nursery’s trauma-informed staff.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery staff worked with the counselors and Camila to support and help the children through this crisis, most especially Mateo, who could recall every detail of the fatal afternoon. Not only did the nursery help Camila find a job, daycare, and a new home, the team worked with Camila, the counselors, and the new daycare to ensure a seamless transition for Mateo and Mia.

Fast-forward eight months, the children are supported and Camila has earned a promotion at work. The family is doing well, but is still in recovery.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here with open doors, arms and hearts for children like Mateo and Mia because of the generous support from our community. On May 2, our big-hearted community will come together again for the Big Day of Giving. Please join us by making a donation to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Your gift will help other children in crisis like Mateo and Mia. Children, knowingly or not, are at a crossroads in their young lives. Your gift has a profoundly positive impact at this critical juncture.

Big Day of Giving is also an opportunity to double your gift. Greg and Amy McNece of Davisville Management Company have generously offered to double all donations to the Yolo Crisis Nursery on May 2, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000.

“Amy and I are blessed to be a part of Yolo Crisis Nursery,” Greg McNece said. “As we consider community needs, we understand that the work of the nursery is both urgent and important. The organization provides desperately needed stability, support, and love to help vulnerable children in the most critical moments.”

Are you interested in giving, but you will be out of town or busy on May 2? You can schedule your donation today. To learn more, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

If giving mom the gift of helping a child in crisis for Mother’s Day is more your style, simply make a donation in her name, and we will send her a card displaying the beautiful finger-painting pictured above with your personalized message. Best of all, it will arrive in plenty of time for Mother’s Day. Simply go to www.yolocrisisnursery.org/cards/, make a minimum donation of $25, include a personal message, and we’ll take care of the rest!

On behalf of our board of directors, I would like to thank Greg and Amy McNece of Davisville Management and all of our generous donors for your continued support. The Yolo Crisis Nursery board of directors is committed to the nursery’s mission and Big Day of Giving. As a small sign of our appreciation for the support we receive from our community, 100 percent of the nursery’s board of directors have made financial gifts to the nursery in support of this event.

All Big Day of Giving donations directly support our 100-percent community-funded respite care programs and intervention services. Donating to 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.

— Jennifer Thayer is a Yolo Crisis Nursery board member.

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Oh What a Night!

Yolo Crisis Nursery: Oh What a Night!

The Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed was a record breaker this year — raising more than $91,500 for the Yolo Crisis Nursery!

This exceeded our wildest dreams and was made possible by our generous sponsors, donors, volunteers and guests, to whom we say thank you, thank you, thank you. All money raised goes directly to supporting our community-funded respite care programs for Yolo County children and families in crisis.

Fun facts about the seventh annual “Krustaceans for Kids” Crab Feed:

* Number of event sponsors: 41
* Number of guests: 526
* Pounds of crab served: 1,450
* Pounds of pasta: 60
* Breadsticks and rolls served: 1,328
* Cases of wine: 14
* Kegs of beer: 3
* Volunteers working the event: 100-plus

We are deeply grateful to our community for turning out in such force, demonstrating once again their unified support for the nursery’s programs to prevent child abuse, nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents, and preserve families. Thank you to everyone involved with the event for their commitment to the nursery and to Yolo County’s most vulnerable children and their families.

It takes a village, and I cannot thank our volunteers enough, particularly 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. The Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed is produced entirely by a small group of volunteers. Thank you to the amazing Crab Feed Committee: Judi Berry, Marge Callahan, Linda Dullum, Lynn Evert, Maren Heise, Rita Lundin, Liz Malinoff, Sharon Schauer, Patti Sparks, Veronica Stanton, Lynette Temple, and Connie Zuercher. 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.

To the ever-entertaining John Chuck, thank you for leading us in the fun and fundraising last weekend. Thank you also to Lamppost Pizza, Upper Crust Bakery, Sudwerk Brewing, and Paradise Valley Estates for your delicious donations. And a very special thank you 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 Sponsor Jim and Lucinda Childress for their ongoing generosity and support.

Sincere thanks to our generous Dungeness Crab Sponsors: 2nd Street Storage, Aggie Square Apartments, Almondwood Apartments, Dignity Health, Fountain Circle Townhomes, Kaiser Permanente and Diane Makley.

To our wonderful Blue Crab Sponsors: Martha Bernauer, Lyon Real Estate, Ron Brown Construction, Carbahal & Company, Coldwell Banker Select, Davis Ace Hardware, Nicole Davis, Edward Jones, Davis Oddfellows and Davis Rebekah Lodge, Eadie Family, Kim Eichorn, Carole Franti, Howard Real Estate Services, Heidy and Peter Kellison, Van Dermyden Maddux, Morse Custom Homes and Remodelling, David Nakano, Recology, Kay Resler, Schottenkirk Honda, Sola Bee Farms, The Perfect Window, Stewart & Ann Teal, Union Bank, and Steve and Evon Willhoff — thank you.

Bretton Woods, Brooks Painting, Davis Fire Fighters Local 3494, Nugget Markets, Purves & Associates, Sharon Schauer, John Sleuter, Swim America, Lois Wolk, and Helen Thomson — many thanks for your Snow Crab sponsorship.

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, CK Hicks and Sue Barnes.

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 is a critical piece to our unprecedented success this year.

If you are interested in helping the most vulnerable children and families in Yolo County, please consider joining the fun and fundraising for the Yolo Crisis Nursery by lending your time and talents to the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Simply email friends@yolocrisisnursery.org or join us on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Carlton Senior Living Center. The rewards are priceless, not to mention the laughter and warm community you’ll encounter in the Friends’ group.

The Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s next event is the inaugural Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance on Oct. 19 — save the date and get ready to kick up your heels for kids!

Visit our website, www.yolocrisisnursery.org, or subscribe to our e-newsletter to learn more about our upcoming events or to learn more about the Nursery. We hope to see you soon!

— Jane Eadie is the president of the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

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