April 23, 2023

Helping Children and Families Thrive

Big Day of Giving is May 4

By Pat Stromberg
Special to The Enterprise

Photo Caption: Yolo Crisis Nursery, protecting children and helping parents be the best Moms and Dads they can be. 

April is Child Abuse Prevention month. Did you know, one in four children will experience abuse and neglect before adulthood? Children experiencing the toxic stress of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are more likely to suffer mental and physical illness as adults. This can negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential. The impact of ACEs on our children, families, and community is costly with a long-term impact. We need to take a preventative approach. 

Since 2001, the Yolo Crisis Nursery has been a safe haven for children younger than 5 years old and their families when they have nowhere to turn. The nursery’s programs protect children from immediate harm and create lasting change by breaking generational cycles of abuse and neglect. The nursery’s professionally trauma-trained staff identify and alleviate the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) and toxic stress on children’s wellbeing and healthy development. Children are incredibly resilient and with early intervention and trauma informed care, the impact of ACEs can be reduced over time. 

The power of the nursery’s programs is most evident through the successes of our clients. I am honored to share a Yolo Crisis Nursery dad’s story in his own words. His dedication and love for his children through tremendous adversity is amazing. 

“I am a dad and a student. Being a dad to my kids is so important to me because I was born into foster care and raised in the juvenile justice system. Six to seven years ago, I had made enough mistakes in my life that hopelessness led to addiction. In early 2022, I was able to turn this all around and get help. 

“Then, on Jan. 13, 2023, my world went up in flames. Our home burned down and my family and I escaped with our lives in our pajamas and slippers. We lost everything including our two kittens. 

“In the first few days after the fire, we bounced around from agency to agency to secure, shelter, clothing and food. The kids and I were all so fragile. It was an unreal feeling to finally get a change of clothes and ditch the pajamas and slippers! 

“Rebuilding was overwhelming and confusing. I called the Yolo Crisis Nursery and was invited to come in. 

“I was greeted with the question, ‘What can we help you with?’ I told them I felt like I was suffocating, and asked for someone to help with my kids so I could breathe again. Then shared my story of being alone with my kids, my children’s healing, the challenges of getting a computer for my master’s program classes, paying rent, finding a job as a caseworker, and my dream to open a community achievement center to address issues like the ones I was currently and had previously experienced.

“Wait — hold up, someone is listening! If I can just have a little time, I can go to interviews to secure a job, so I can pay for my own hotels and buy a car… inhale… just a little time to study, so I don’t lose my way in school, and to have my therapy appointment. No sad look from Eostra, she just had an interested twinkle and said “We can help you.” She didn’t judge me for anything. She understood the depths to my story and what I needed. 

“Eostra sent us home to rest with a care package — generously loaded with toys for my children, much needed underwear and clothes for my toddlers, and food. She asked us to return next week. When we got back to the hotel, I finally was able to breathe as my kids played with the new toys. We shared the rest of the weekend together as a family. That breath gave me the second wind I needed to find a job and new home. 

“Fast-forward 35 days and we had a new loft home, I was employed and current in my master’s program classes, my children enrolled in a wonderful school, and had adopted a new kitten. I remain focused on my family’s healing, my recovery, my education, and my dream to open a community achievement center. 

“Yolo Crisis Nursery’s support and encouragement to continue fighting forward helped me be the dad I wanted to be for my kids after our world went up in flames. We are truly grateful for everyone who has supported my family through this trying time. To those experiencing a challenging time, keep going and don’t give up! Thank you.” 

Last year the Yolo Crisis Nursery served 836 children and their families with tremendous success. In fact, 98% of the respite care families served by the Nursery last year, did not enter child welfare services. The Nursery has never turned a child in need away. We need your support. 

On Thursday, May 4, the Sacramento Regional Community will come together for the Big Day of Giving or BDOG. A 24-hour generosity movement and opportunity to rally around our local nonprofits. We hope you will Give to Help Children and Families Thrive in 2023. Every gift, no matter the size, makes a difference. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Andrew and Thea Minsk, Brian and Stephanie Rubinstein, the Rubinstein Family Foundation, and Michael and Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille, there has never been a better time to give – the first $40,000 in Big Day of Giving donations to the Yolo Crisis Nursery will be matched dollar-for-dollar!

You can schedule your gift now by visiting our website at www.yolocrisisnursery.org or by mailing a check to 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616, or you can donate online on May 4! Thank you for helping children and families thrive in Yolo County. 

— Pat Stromberg is a member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s Board of Directors.