A Reason to Celebrate

Heidy Kellison and Yolo Crisis Nursery Supporters in 2014

Heidy Kellison with Yolo Crisis Nursery supporters at a 2014 Yolo County Board of Supervisors Meeting.

I remember so well the day we got the news. It was in April, five years ago. The Yolo Crisis Nursery would close in 30 days. We had just bundled up the last of 12 children to leave for the day with parents and guardians who were working hard to create stable homes for their families. Two children would spend the night with our staff as their parents got immediate help to resolve the crises in their lives. I thought, “What will happen to these children — and all the children who need the nursery’s care — if we close?”

With the departure of our host agency from Yolo County in 2014, Yolo Crisis Nursery’s closure was looming, and a safe future for these young, vulnerable children was in jeopardy.

It took a village, but the nursery remained open, and in December we celebrate our fifth anniversary of incorporation as an independent nonprofit organization, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Inc. Looking back, it took all of us — everyone who donated or volunteered to hold babies, bought a crab feed ticket, built or painted a nursery playground structure or supported the nursery in any way. This milestone anniversary would not have been possible also without the support of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and our community of caring businesses, foundations, service organizations, and the partnership with Yolo County.

In this season of thankfulness, we are so grateful for the work of local visionaries — Heidy Kellison and Becky Heard — whose leadership, determination, and generosity kept the nursery open to welcome children and families with a place of respite and service 24/7/365.

We sincerely thank the individuals, who served on the work group to create our nonprofit organization and to those on our inaugural Board of Directors. We are forever indebted to Karen Adams, Tricia Bosco, Vic Bucher, JD Denton, Jane Eadie, Becky Heard, Heidy Kellison, Liz Malinoff, Sherry Richter, Jamima Wolk and Judy Wolf. The gifts of your time and talents are still felt today.

We are also very grateful for the work of Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza and Gina Daleiden, whose early commitment to the nursery created a partnership with the county that has made a critical difference in improving the health and well-being of Yolo County’s children and families.

Since 2001, more than 5,000 children have been kept safe and their families healthy and whole, thanks to the nursery’s trauma-informed care and wraparound services for families in crisis. Our programs are further validated by the latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirms that what happens to you in childhood can affect your health for a lifetime. CDC data shows a link between childhood trauma and disease later in life, making prevention — the very mission of the Yolo Crisis Nursery — critical.

Every day we know the nursery is protecting our community’s young from the effects of trauma. Last year, the 474 children and 98% of the families we served did not enter the child welfare system.

As Executive Director, I often get asked, “How can you hold up given what you see every day?” Daily, I do see heartbreaking tears and sadness, fear and families struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, unemployment, health challenges, and more, all without a support system.

Yet I also see the shy grin of a 2-year old feeling safe enough to say her first words, the giggles of a 4-year-old recognizing the characters of what has become his first favorite storybook, and the tearful relief of the mother or father who knows their children are safe at last while they begin their recovery from trauma. With our help, those parents will become strong enough to look for a new home, a new job, and a new life for their families. I see it every single day.

Our generous community — our village — is the reason we are here today celebrating our fifth anniversary, and with your continued support we will be here for many more. There are numerous opportunities to help our children and families. Dec. 3 is Giving Tuesday, a global giving movement that follows Thanksgiving and the widely recognized holiday shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Join us and join the movement on Dec. 3 by making a donation to the Yolo Crisis Nursery at www.yolocrisisnursery.org . If you would prefer to help a specific child or family this holiday with essential items and a holiday gift, please email me at hsleuter@yolocrisisnursery.org to adopt a child or family for the holidays, or stop by Third St. Jewelers in Davis or Minute Man Jewelry and Watch Repair at Arden Fair Mall to select an ornament from their giving trees.

Together with all who have given and all who will give to the nursery, we celebrate our anniversary with you — our village — and extend a deeply heartfelt “thank you.”

To make a gift or for more information, visit the Yolo Crisis Nursery website: www.yolocrisisnursery.org or reach us by mail: 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616. If you or someone you know needs our services, please call: 530-758-6680.

This article was written by Heather Sleuter the executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, November 24, 2019. 

There’s no doubt about it, the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s Barn Dance was the place to be last Saturday night. “Amazing night!” “The Moonshine Crazy band was epic!” “This will become a Davis favorite event!” “Who knew that Central Park could be transformed into such a magical place?” are just a few of the comments we’ve received so far.

Thank you so much to our generous and engaging Yolo County community for coming out for a fun-filled evening of live music, food, libations, and dancing under the stars. If you were unable to share in the merriment, not to worry, we’ll see you next fall at the barn dance where we can all come together as a community once again to support our area’s most vulnerable children and their families.

In Coretta Scott King’s words, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members”, and I am here to say, by that gauge, our Yolo County community far exceeds greatness. The Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance would not have been possible without a multitude of selfless community volunteers, sponsors, donors and donations and it is my pleasure to thank them all on behalf of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and its Board of Directors.

I’d like to first express tremendous gratitude and kudos to the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and the Barn Dance’s tireless co-chairs, Sharon Schauer and Veronica Stanton. Credit for the inspiration, creativity, and success of the barn dance belongs with this talented, dedicated, and hard-working group of volunteers.

It was our honor to partner with Nugget Markets as the inaugural Barn Dance event sponsor. Nugget is well-known in our community not only for their excellent stores, but for generously giving back through their community-based philanthropy as well.

Speaking of supporters, it came as no surprise when Martha Bernauer of Lyon Real Estate and co-president of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, eagerly responded “Yes!” when asked to sponsor the Barn Dance raffle prize. Martha took it a step further and enlisted Kim Eichorn and Chris Snow, also of Lyon Real Estate, to share in the honor. Thank you all!

Our deepest appreciation also goes to the Bacon Mania and Buckhorn BBQ food trucks for serving up delicious vittles and donating a portion of their proceeds back to the nursery, and to Clark Pacific for providing and delivering the many straw bales, Recology for delivering and donating the use of their garbage, recycling, and composting containers, Marc Hicks and his security team, and our many other volunteers comprised of members from Davis Soroptimists, Davis Rotary Clubs, the National Charity League, and Phi Delta Theta, not to mention the cooperation of the Davis Farmer’s Market in making sure the space was available when needed and, of course, the Davis Bicycle Hall of Fame for the use of their restrooms.

Every bit of support that’s provided to the Yolo Crisis Nursery directly benefits Yolo County children in crisis. Whether you purchase an event ticket or sponsorship, donate clothes, diapers or formula, or make a monetary donation, it’s all welcome and put to necessary use.

You won’t want to miss our next event, the Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed on March 7. Mark your calendar now and sign up for our newsletter at www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Individual crab feed tickets will go on sale in early January, 2020. Information on sponsorships is available now for the crab feed by contacting Becky Heard (bheard@yolocrisisnursery.org).

I invite everyone who reads this to go onto our website at www.yolocrisisnursery.org and discover its one-of-a kind programs and early intervention services provided in a safe environment to nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents and preserve families. That’s what I did nearly three years ago in response to an Enterprise article. I could not be more proud or honored to know that I’m helping the nursery in its vision that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving and stable home.

Whether it’s holding babies at the nursery, joining the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, applying for the Board of Directors, or making a donation, there is a way for you to touch these children’s lives as well.

— This article was written by JoEllen Welsch is the president-elect of Yolo Crisis Nursery and first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, October 27, 2019. 

The holidays bring much joy, but for those battling mental illness, the many stresses of the season can be overwhelming.

Early last month, Joan, the mother of a newborn baby, reached out to the nursery seeking respite care. Joan delivered her baby to the nursery, completed the paperwork, and said her goodbyes. When Joan did not return for her baby, it quickly became clear she intended to leave her child for good.

Joan suffers from mental illness and had stopped taking her medications. Thankfully, she had listed her parents as an emergency contact. The nursery sprang into action, located the grandparents of the infant, and helped to locate Joan. The nursery’s wraparound service supported the grandparents with care for the baby, and we helped Joan get the care she needed.

A month later, Joan is in treatment, back on medication and has a new job and a new place to live. And most importantly, she is with her child. Joan recently told us, “I am so thankful for the nursery’s help. Without it, I would have lost my baby.”

It is stories like Joan’s that have made my wife, Chris, and me long-term supporters of the Yolo Crisis Nursery both personally and through our business, Fleet Feet in Davis.

In the fall of 2014, Heidy Kellison and Becky Heard asked me to meet to discuss the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Just a few months earlier, these women had led the charge with their bundles of energy to save the nursery after the sponsoring agency departed Yolo County. This left the nursery in jeopardy of closing after serving the county since 2001.

My first thought was they were looking for a donation, but no, it was me.

The grassroots effort to save the nursery had raised enough money to fund 12 months of operations. However, without a new sponsoring agency, it was decided that the best option for long-term success was to become an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. A charter board of directors was being recruited, and they wanted me, a local business owner and nursery supporter, to join them.

My inclination was to say no as my wife, Chris, and I were on the verge of retirement. Instead, I said yes and committed to two years as a board member. I am now finishing my fourth and final year on the board of directors alongside Becky Heard. I am moving on to retirement to enjoy my family and some travel. Becky will remain actively involved by leading the nursery’s development and community outreach.

I signed up to support the nursery, but the experience has enriched my life. Working with this dedicated group of individuals to help the Yolo Crisis Nursery transition from survive to thrive has been meaningful, satisfying, and educational.

In 2015, our nine-member board was tasked with the job of building a plane as it was flying. The board has now grown to 15 members. The plane is flying just fine, only now it needs to fly farther, faster and higher. I know it will.

The incoming board for 2019 includes five new members who are joining a powerhouse of experience, commitment and passion. It is my pleasure to introduce:

  • Wendy Chason, retired Davis Joint Unified School District teacher and librarian. Wendy dedicated her career to children’s education and now, in retirement, is continuing her commitment to helping Yolo County kids.
  • Penny Howard, real estate agent. Penny has experience in Real Estate and Accounting with Yolo County, with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Penny’s commitment to helping people has been the cornerstone of her career and her life.
  • Eric Miller, attorney with Boutin Jones. Eric is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom II and is active in numerous community and charitable organizations.
  • Will Pro, Owner, Will Pro Construction. Will is a Yolo County native and a third-generation builder with expertise in construction and development.
  • Steven S. Willhoff, CPA and partner at Carbahal and Company, joined the board of directors as treasurer. Steve has a wealth of accounting and tax expertise and is actively engaged in helping the children in our community.

The holidays are about giving, enjoying time with treasured family and friends and being thankful for all we have. I am thankful for my time with the Yolo Crisis Nursery. It has enriched my life, helped my community. I encourage you to be grateful and generous to your loved ones and to those in our community, like Joan, who are struggling this holiday season.

The nursery would not exist without the generosity and support of our community. Investing in 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.

— J.D. Denton is a retiring member of Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors.

PRESS RELEASE

Yolo County Association of Realtors Presents Yolo Crisis Nursery with $10,000 Gift

Friday, November 16, 2018: Woodland, CA. The Yolo County Association of Realtors presented the Yolo Crisis Nursery with a donation in excess of $10,000 at their weekly meeting. This donation represents the proceeds of the Association of Realtors’ Annual Golf Tournament and Poker Run held in October and an anonymous gift from a member of the Association. The Yolo Crisis Nursery is honored to receive this gift and deeply touched by the Association’s generosity.

“As an Association we strive to house, feed and clothe the people of Yolo County. This donation of over $10,000 represents a 148% increase over last year’s golf tournament proceeds,” states Nick Marin, Executive Director, Yolo County Association of Realtors. “It is our privilege to give the proceeds of our most successful golf tournament to date to the Yolo Crisis Nursery.”

“Our nursery relies on the generosity of our community to keep our doors open. Thank you for helping to make Yolo County a better place today and nurturing our future by supporting the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community,” says Becky Heard, Vice President, Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. “Last year we cared for 321 families, almost a new family every day. This gift will have a huge impact on the children and families we serve at the Nursery.”

Parenting is hard. Since 2001, The Yolo Crisis Nursery has been there to help. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Nursery offers respite childcare for families in crisis with children ages birth through 5 years old. The Nursery offers wrap-around services to keep families together, help them navigate crises, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Our wrap-around services help parents resolve the problems that brought them to our door. In fact, 97% of our clients do not get referred to or go through Child Protective Services. Our services are voluntary and free of charge. Without the generosity of groups like the Yolo County Association of Realtors and others in our community, the nursery would not exist. To learn more about The Yolo Crisis Nursery or to donate, visit yolocrisisnursery.org. To learn more about the Yolo County Association of Realtors, visit www.yolorealtors.com.

Pictured in photo from left to right: Becky Heard, Jenni Jacobs Garcia, Oscar Lopez, Jane Eadie, Andrea Romo, Crystal Turben, Nick Marin

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Under the best of circumstances, when cancer strikes, the entire family is thrown into crisis. And when that family is already struggling to make ends meet, it is devastating.

Not knowing where to turn, distressed and desperate, Jason called the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Jason’s wife was the caregiver for their children and had been diagnosed with cancer. There were not enough hours in the day for Jason to work for his essential paycheck, get his wife to her life-saving treatments and properly care for their two young children. Money was tight and he simply could not miss any more work. Jason could not do it all himself — he needed help.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery was there for Jason and his family. We welcomed the children into respite care and helped Jason find long-term care for the children. We referred him to community resources to help navigate this challenging time. Mom is now in remission and the family is together, thriving, healthy and so very happy.

In the month of October, we’ve seen splashes of pink everywhere for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The women battling cancer, whether breast cancer or other forms, are mothers and daughters. While literally fighting for their lives, most cancer patients are unable to care for their families and children. The extreme stress children experience when their parent has cancer can leave a lasting impact on them, even into adulthood. Thankfully, the Yolo Crisis Nursery is just a call away for families without a support network. The staff at the Yolo Crisis Nursery are all trauma-trained to minimize the impact on children experiencing family unrest and stress.

Every child and family the nursery serves is unique, but they all are in crisis and need help. The nursery is an oasis for children up to age 5 when their family is in turmoil. We lovingly care for the children and support their parents as they work to resolve the emergency that brought them to our door. Our services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, free of charge, and completely voluntary.

Although currently a member of the board of directors, I started with and have been a part of the Yolo Crisis Nursery for over 15 years. Many of the families we serve are facing dilemmas that few of us can even imagine. To Yolo County families with young children like Jason’s, the nursery’s services are life-altering. I have always believed that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

The Nursery is here today in large part because of the hard work, dedication, and generosity of the Friends of Yolo Crisis Nursery. This is a community group that actively fundraises year round to help the nursery remain open. For the last 6 years, the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery have hosted the Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed, with last year’s event raising nearly $80,000! If you share our belief that all children deserve a safe and loving home, please consider joining our group. The friends meet the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 pm. To learn more, please email friends@yolocrisisnursery.org and be sure to save the date – March 16, 2019 – for this year’s Crab Feed.

There are many ways to get involved with the nursery: volunteering at the Nursery, donating your time and talents to our board of directors, joining the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, making a financial donation, donating supplies from the nursery’s wish list or just by shopping at Amazon and Nugget Markets.

Amazon and Nugget Markets will both donate a percentage of the purchases you make to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Just visit Amazon Smile (http://smile.amazon.com), choose Yolo Crisis Nursery as your selected charity and Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of each purchase you make to the nursery.

At Nugget Markets, if you have a scrip card, simply add the Yolo Crisis Nursery as a beneficiary. If you do not yet have a scripts card, please email mleach@yolocrisisnursery.org to learn more. Once you have set up your scrip card, simply present it at checkout and Nugget will donate a percentage of your total monthly spending to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. These donations truly add up and help the nursery care for the Yolo kids in crisis.

We are grateful for your support. The Yolo Crisis Nursery could not survive without the generosity of our community. Please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org to learn more, get involved, and give to the Yolo Crisis Nursery

This article is by Becky Heard, a member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors and originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on October 28, 2018.