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

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.

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