December 26, 2023

Grateful and Hopeful as 2023 Concludes

Over the past two years, I have had the immense privilege of serving as the president of the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s board of directors.

What started, for me, as a one-year term has ended up being six life-changing years (the most recent two as president). As I reflect on this time and prepare to transition to past president, I am inspired by what can be accomplished when dedicated community members join together for what really matters.

There are so many causes for celebration, but top of mind is the successful conclusion of the Nursery’s capital campaign for a new Nursery facility. Overseeing groundbreaking of the new facility is one of the highlights of my career. When I imagine the children and families that will soon walk through those new Nursery doors and be welcomed by our extraordinary Nursery staff, I feel hope for the future. 

It feels like our world is changing every day, and not always for the better. For many families that the Nursery serves, there are very real day-to-day challenges: food insecurity remains high (in October, a whopping 28% of Californian households with children reported being food insecure) and the cost of living is still a stretch for many (Yolo County’s cost of living is 13% higher than the national average).

Not everyone has the resources, stability, and security that so many of us enjoy. There are many of us, including me, who have never had to choose between gas and groceries, or between new shoes for our children or our cell phone bill, and yet this is the reality for so many people. And, while poverty itself is not neglect or abuse, it is a sad and undeniable fact that poverty and mistreatment of children go hand in hand.

This is precisely why the Yolo Crisis Nursery exists: so that families who need help have some place to go. The research on poverty and child welfare is abundantly clear: investing in and supporting families decreases instances of child abuse and neglect. No one chooses to find themselves in a position with nowhere to go, and yet this is who the Nursery serves. 

It is true that the need for the Nursery will never go away (at least, not anytime soon). It is also true that the Nursery has, over the last year, achieved amazing outcomes and ensured that so many families and children remain stable and safe.

More than 5,000 care packages of basic needs were distributed and nearly 3,000 safe stays (at the Nursery’s loving, home-like environment) were provided for children whose caretakers found themselves temporarily unable to provide them a safe environment. These are incredible outcomes that make a world of difference for the clients we serve.

The Nursery’s services are free for clients and made possible by the generosity of donors. I invite you to consider a year-end gift, which you can make online at  yolocrisisnursery.org/donate or send by mail to Yolo Crisis Nursery 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616. 

I want to express my deep gratitude to the board. Yolo Crisis Nursery’s board of directors are talented professionals who volunteer their time, talents, and expertise to help the children of Yolo County. Their dedication, energy, and generosity has not gone unnoticed.

My heartfelt thanks to outgoing board member Will Pro, Owner, Will Pro Construction. I am thrilled to welcome new board members Eric Lovell (Area Finance Officer, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento) and Robin Hansen (Emerita Professor of Pediatrics, UC Davis).

I am also delighted that the following members will be joining the Board leadership team: Jeremy Higgins (incoming President), Thomas Barth (incoming Vice President), and Joan Smith-Maclean, M.D. (incoming Secretary). 

Despite the enduring challenges and pressing needs of families, witnessing the Nursery’s accomplishments in the last year fills my heart with unwavering hope. I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season. 

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on December 24, 2023, and was written by Yolo Crisis Nursery Board President Jennifer Thayer.