Protecting Children, Preserving Families Since 2001

I can still remember the trembling of her lips and the fear in her eyes as my mother begged my siblings and me to go to our room and lock the door. We did not want to leave her alone with him, but if we did not, my father’s rage would spill on to us.

As you can probably guess by now, I did not grow up in a safe and stable home. I was born in Mexico and raised by a single mother who came to this country to escape abuse and to build a brighter future for our family. My mother worked two jobs to provide for my siblings and me and still struggled to make ends meet. While growing up, I felt the chronic stress that adversity and abuse cause. This is why I want to do everything in my power to raise awareness and create change so that other children do not have to experience what I did.

Child abuse is an issue that should concern everyone because children are our future. Did you know that 9 million children live in California and that one in four of them experience abuse or neglect at some point in their lives?  April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and as a community, we must unite and fight to raise awareness. All children have a fundamental need for a safe, stable, and loving home, and the time to make this a reality and create change is now.

Growing up in a healthy environment should not be a privilege. It should be every child’s right. It is our shared civic responsibility to help ensure all children grow up in a safe, stable and loving home. Supporting, protecting, and funding this fundamental right will benefit everyone and will allow all our children a real chance to grow into healthy adults who will improve our communities and society as a whole.

For the past 20 years, Yolo Crisis Nursery has worked tirelessly to protect at-risk children while also keeping families together. The nursery is only one of four crisis nurseries in the state. It is unique because it provides trauma-informed emergency childcare for families in crisis while creating a support system that not only helps to mitigate the current crisis but helps avoid new ones in the future. This approach has been very successful. We are proud that 98% of respite care families served at the Yolo Crisis Nursery have not entered child protective services.

Child abuse knows no boundaries. It occurs across all income levels and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Many factors contribute to child abuse and neglect, including stress, family history of violence, poverty, substance abuse and even chronic health conditions.

Today, the nursery’s work is more important than ever. Family stress levels are through the roof as a result of the pandemic. The number of families experiencing crises and adversity has increased enormously. More and more families are in need of support and the Yolo Crisis Nursery is there for our community.  We never turn children away.

My commitment to making a difference for future generations motivated me to become a first-generation college student, and last year I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from UC Davis. I am now applying to graduate school with the goal of obtaining my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Having personally experienced it, I understand how detrimental toxic stress can be on a person’s mental and physical health. Consequently, I want to do everything within my means to raise awareness of its devastating effects and be a part of the solution.

I recently joined the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors because we share a passion to prevent child abuse, preserve families, and create change. Child abuse and neglect is an issue that affects everyone. There is a well-known quote that asserts “we need to be the change that we want to see,” and I invite you to join me in being a part of that change.

On May 6, the Sacramento regional community will come together for the Big Day of Giving. It is a 24-hour generosity movement and an opportunity to rally around our local nonprofits after a uniquely challenging year. Every gift, no matter the size, makes a difference!

We hope you will give from your heart to the Yolo Crisis Nursery to help us build safe, stable, and loving homes for Yolo County children to grow up in. Thanks to the generosity of the MJ & MP Whelan-Miille Family Charitable Fund’s donation of  $5,000  and Alan and Mary Buckpitt’s donation of $1,000, they have come together to match the first $6,000 in Big Day of Giving donations dollar-for-dollar!

Your gift will help the Nursery provide services to protect children and help at-risk families achieve stability.

We encourage those who are able to please make a gift on May 6. You can schedule your gift now by visiting our website at or by mailing a check to 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is saving children’s lives and transforming families. We all need to be the change we hope to see, and your gift will directly support the frontline work that the Nursery is doing to keep our community’s most vulnerable children safe and their families whole.

This article was written by Erika Y. Cisneros, Member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. The article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on April 25, 2021.

Life has been turned upside-down for us all since mid-March. We are so thankful we had our eighth annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed before then. The evening was the last social gathering for so many of us before sheltering in place to help flatten the curve.

As the State begins to reopen, we want to express our deep gratitude for two record-breaking events — Big Day of Giving and Krustaceans for Kids. The proceeds raised through these events are allowing the Nursery staff to serve more families in new and creative ways from the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are so grateful for all who sprinkled the Nursery with Love for the Big Day of Giving during the first week in May. Despite the challenging circumstances in all of our lives, our amazing community rallied to help the most vulnerable children and those hardest hit by the pandemic.

We extend a special thanks to Greg and Amy McNece and the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors for their matching gifts. We are so pleased to have exceeded those generous gifts. Thank you also to all who donated and participated in our Sprinkler Challenge — Yolo County kids felt all that love! The gifts made for Big Day of Giving have a profoundly positive impact at this critical juncture. Thank You!

This year’s Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed was made possible by our generous sponsors, donors, volunteers, and guests, to whom this year we say a very special thank you! We cannot thank our volunteers enough, particularly the 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. 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.

Thank you also Lamppost Pizza, Upper Crust Bakery, Sudwerk Brewing, and Paradise Valley Estates for your delicious donations. And a very special thank you goes 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 Sponsors Jim and Lucinda Childress, Davisville Management Company, 2nd Street Storage, Aggie Square Apartments, Fountain Circle Townhomes and Almondwood Apartments for their ongoing generosity and support.

Sincere thanks to our generous Dungeness Crab Sponsors: Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Harris and Mary Liu of the Woodland McDonald’s.

To our wonderful Blue Crab Sponsors: Martha Bernauer & Maren Heise, Brooks Painting & Higgins Team Good Home Group, Brown Construction Inc., Marguerite Callahan, Carbahal & Company, Coldwell Banker Select Davis & Woodland, Davis Firefighters Local 3494, Davis Oddfellows & Davis Rebekah Lodge, F Street Dispensary, Steve & Teri Greenfield, Heidy & Peter Kellison, Morse Custom Homes & Remodeling, NakanoKennedySimpson, Recology, Kay Resler, Shottenkirk Honda, Sharon Schauer & Brodie Hamilton, Stromberg Redway Friends, Swim America – Davis, Stewart & Ann Teal, Union Bank, and Welsch Family & Friends – Thank you.

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, and CK Hicks.

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 was a critical piece to our success.

Our local small businesses have always rallied to support those in need in our community, and we encourage our community to shop local to support those businesses in their time of need. If you are interested in helping vulnerable children and families in Yolo County, I hope you’ll consider joining us. Please email to learn more about how you can help the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Visit our website,, to learn more or join us with a donation or by volunteering.

— This article was written by Steve Willhoff, Yolo Crisis Nursery Treasurer. The article first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on May 24, 2020. 

“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

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, 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

— Jennifer Thayer is a Yolo Crisis Nursery board member.

mcnece_bigdog-webIf you could see what Greg McNece has seen, you might be inspired to join him in supporting the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

In 2004, he visited the Nursery on a Rotary service project to help build storage.

“I was impressed with the caring staff and at the same time heartbroken by the sight of the small children in need,” says McNece, vice president of Davisville Management Co.

McNece has been a Nursery supporter ever since. “I admire and support the Yolo Crisis Nursery because they are a well run organization that is meeting an important need in our community for those who are most vulnerable,” he says.

When he heard about the Nursery’s participation in this year’s BIG Day of Giving on May 3, he and  Davisville Management agreed to match donations DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR up to $10,000.

So, if you decide to support the Nursery, your donation will be DOUBLED to go twice as far to help Yolo County children and families. The Nursery’s goal on May 3 is to raise $20,000 to support our emergency childcare (day or night) and wrap-around services for parents and guardians.

TO SUPPORT THE NURSERY on the May 3 BIG Day of Giving, go to and select the Nursery. Thank you!

#BIGDoG2016 is a local initiative to increase philanthropy in the Greater Sacramento region. Starting at midnight on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, donations will be accepted through with a goal to inspire and unite our community in supporting hundreds of local nonprofits. The project is brought to you by your local community foundations, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Placer Community Foundation, and Yolo Community Foundation.