It’s Crab Season!

Crab season is here and what is better than the community feel of a good old-fashioned crab feed? One of my favorites has always been the Yolo Crisis Nursery Crab Feed hosted by the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. It is hands down the best crab of the season and a fantastic way to support the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

As with most events since the onset of COVID, the Yolo Crisis Nursery Crab Feed has gone virtual. To our delight tickets are selling quickly, so get yours soon to secure your delicious crab dinner. Each dinner includes delicious fresh crab, Caesar salad, pasta, roll and a cookie; order your dinner tickets at www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

To keep everyone safe and healthy, we are taking COVID-19 precautions and here is how it will all work: First, order your dinner online at www.yolocrisisnursery.org, then on Saturday, March 13, at your selected time between 4 and 6 p.m., drive through for a masked, contactless, dinner pick-up at the University Park Inn and Suites Conference Site, 1121 Richards Boulevard, in Davis. You can then return home to enjoy your dinner and favorite beverage at your leisure.

Following dinner, we invite you to join our entertaining virtual event from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. In addition to securing some really exciting auction items, the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery have plenty of fun planned for the virtual event. Registration for the virtual event is complimentary and all are encouraged to pre-register via www.yolocrisisnursery.org. On March 8, 2021, the online silent auction will open, and you will be able to preview the live auction lots. Be sure to check out the impressive lineup so you can get your winning bid in!

As a recent addition to the Nursery’s Board of Directors, I share in the hope that our community will support this year’s virtual effort the same as it has our past in-person events. As always, all proceeds from the dinner and virtual event will support the Yolo Crisis Nursery. This has been an incredibly challenging year for the clients we serve, as well as for our dedicated staff who have seen a dramatic rise in the need for our services.

The Nursery is Yolo County’s beacon of hope for families with young children who are in crisis. It helps care for the children but also addresses the root causes of the crises to get families back on their feet and help them grow stronger together. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Yolo Crisis Nursery never turns a child away. Last year the Nursery served almost 700 Yolo County children and distributed over 2,700 care packages filled with essential items for families with young children in need.

Our community’s ability to help others in their time of need is one of the things I love most about Yolo County. Having lived and worked here all my life, I have seen and felt the compassion and generosity. As a former police officer now realtor, and dad to three amazing daughters, I am called to help others. As a community, I believe that positive and healthy childhoods are a cornerstone of our community’s compassion and success and that we need to look out for those who are struggling and lend them a helping hand.

We are so fortunate to have the Yolo Crisis Nursery in Yolo County. It is a unique and amazing resource, and I am honored to be the newest member of its Board of Directors. We are a volunteer board from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, but we are united in our dedication to the Nursery’s vision that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

This past year has truly been like no other. With so many children and families in need, the Nursery needs your support now more than ever. I invite you to join me and my family for a good old-fashioned crab dinner and a much-needed night of virtual community fun to help children and families in need.

With your support, the Yolo Crisis Nursery can work with more families to adapt and overcome challenges. To learn more about the Yolo Crisis Nursery or to make a donation, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on February 28, 2021 and is written by Jeremy Higgins, a member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors.

JoEllen Welsch – Davis Enterprise Letter to the Editor, published February 11, 2021

I have had the great honor and privilege of serving on the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors since January 2017. During my tenure, I have been continually impressed with the generosity of the Yolo County community in which I live, and since the onset of COVID, I am in absolute awe. In the past year, the Nursery has experienced a remarkable increased response to our outreach efforts to help us meet the surge in demand for our services. Our hearts are overflowing by the response and also for the unsolicited giving from a multitude of individuals, organizations, and institutions.

On an average day — pre-COVID — the children and families that we serve were already experiencing challenges involving domestic violence, mental and physical health emergencies, substance abuse and addiction, homelessness, sudden job loss, and other adversities. As you can imagine, every issue weighing on our client children and families has been exacerbated by the reverberating effects of the pandemic, and the number of referrals to the Nursery for critical assistance has substantially risen. Yolo Crisis Nursery is an essential provider for children and families whose situations went from urgent to potentially catastrophic with the arrival of COVID in our community.

Following strict safety mandates, the doors to the Nursery have remained open 24/7 to the infants and children who need us and to the families of essential workers with nowhere else to turn. COVID has taxed the Nursery’s staffing and resources like never before, but as our executive director, Heather Sleuter, frequently reminds me, “we figure it out” because we never say no and we never turn anyone away.

I am deeply proud of my compassionate community, and on behalf of our entire organization — our staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors—and from the children and families that we serve, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

JoEllen Welsch
President, Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors

It has been over 10 months since the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in Yolo County. In that time, much has been asked of all of us, from flexibility, bravery and resilience to fortitude, patience and austerity. At Yolo Crisis Nursery, we have also seen firsthand the even greater impact this time of uncertainty, grief and upheaval has had on our community’s most vulnerable young children and families.

Yet, today, even as we are called on to address worrying increases in domestic violence, homelessness, and mental health emergencies, it is not difficult to conjure a deep sense of gratitude, which comes from knowing that we at the Nursery are not meeting these challenges alone.

Recently, a former Yolo Crisis Nursery parent took the time to share this note: “We need caring and compassionate people more than anything, especially now. You are front line workers not just in this pandemic, but always, for every crisis. As a family who benefited directly from your compassionate work, and also just as fellow caring humans, we are forever grateful for and inspired by the strength, dedication, kindness, proficiency and understanding with which you provide crucial services to our community.”

I couldn’t agree more. Today, I am grateful for our staff at the nursery who have never wavered in their commitment to our mission. The work of protecting children from abuse and neglect requires building and maintaining supportive, trusting and empowering relationships with families. Every day our staff continues tirelessly to innovate and adapt to changing safety protocols, never losing sight of the importance of staying connected with the people we serve.

I am grateful for our Board of Directors and volunteers who have rallied in so many ways to guide and support the nursery through this unprecedented time. Their steadfast contributions of time, talent, and resources make it possible for us to respond nimbly to the evolving needs of vulnerable children and families.

I am grateful for our fellow nonprofits and service providers working diligently to collaborate in the best interest of children and families during a time of greatly increased need and decreased resources.

Many of the families we serve are essential workers facing health and safety hazards they never anticipated, while coping with serious hardships and childcare challenges as they struggle to make ends meet each month. I am grateful the Nursery can be a resource for families who contribute so much to our community.

Whether it is the gift of a warm coat, a care package of formula and diapers, or a safe stay for a child while a parent addresses hardship — we see and hear the gratitude and relief when a family in crisis understands that they are not alone.

In addition to gratitude, I look ahead to 2021 with a sense of hope. Just today, I learned that a single father, Frank, who came to us months ago on the brink of homelessness, has secured a job promotion and stable housing where he can safely raise his young son with autism. With the support of the Nursery and our collaborators, Frank can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stories like Frank’s and so many others help me see that light too.

As this challenging year comes to a close, and we look to 2021 with hope for health, happiness, and a return to some version of normal, I invite you to join us with an end of year gift to the Yolo Crisis Nursery to ensure that families, like Frank’s, see and feel the hope of the new year. To donate or learn more about the Yolo Crisis Nursery, please visit our website www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article written by Heather Sleuter, executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on December 27, 2020

Safety, compassion, community, commitment, respect, and hope are the values that Yolo Crisis Nursery embraces 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Every child we serve receives 100% of our dedication to maintaining those values, along with our further commitment to embrace their parents in our wrap-around services to help preserve their family so that they can grow up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

When parents and caregivers experience high levels of stress without resources, support or relief to help manage their crises, child abuse, and neglect increases. In this unprecedented period of uncertainty due to COVID-19, there are more families than ever experiencing extreme stress.

When parents aren’t able to work, poverty and homelessness will increase, leading to prolonged toxic stress on families that will result in increased domestic violence, substance abuse, child abuse, psychiatric issues, and other serious situations. In these uncertain times, the Yolo Crisis Nursery will focus on the safety of our community’s most vulnerable children as well as the safety of our staff.

We will keep providing services to help children whose safety is at the highest risk within the guidelines of national and local health officials. We are monitoring the CDC guidelines and are in contact with state, local and county health officials regularly to ensure our staff, children, and their families are kept as safe as possible.

Yolo County’s recent shelter-at-home mandate will help reduce the risk of further spread of the virus and save lives. We understand that COVID-19 is causing concern and upheaval for us as individuals and for our community. We are feeling this and our community’s children feel it too. Children may be agitated or confused as they are undoubtedly unsettled by the drastic changes to their normal routines and unavoidable ominous news that surrounds us all.

Now more than ever, it is important that we recognize and guide those in our community who might need extra assistance to the help they need. Yolo County is filled with generous and compassionate people and together we all do make a difference. Together we can weather this crisis with grace, dignity, and minimize the suffering for our community.

During this time, the Yolo Crisis Nursery is developing online resources, and information to help families stay strong and resilient. If you have not already liked the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery page on Facebook, please join our community for the latest updates.

We are working to bring in child and family specialists as well as other experts. We plan to cover key topics like how to discuss the virus with children, parental self-care, as well as ideas to keep children engaged and learning during this challenging time. Please like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

We invite you to join us, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org to learn more about the nursery, or to make a donation. Thank you Yolo County, we are stronger together.

— This was written by Heather Sleuter is the executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and first appeared in Davis Enterprise on March 22, 2020.