Yolo Crisis Nursery: Distressed, Desperate Dad Calls On The Nursery

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.

Sara is a young, pregnant, single mom who didn’t know where to start. There were so many wolves at the door and she had no clue as to which one to take on first, or even if any of them could be driven away.

Her toddler son had just been removed from another childcare center due to behavioral challenges. Without childcare, Sara was on the brink of losing her job, which meant the family would be evicted from their apartment and forced to live on the streets. It seemed she had nowhere to turn.

Then Sara walked through the door at Empower Yolo. Because there was a young child involved, the counselor steered her to the onsite Yolo Crisis Nursery mobile client navigator. The navigator arranged for transportation to the nursery.

The entire staff at the Yolo Crisis Nursery are trauma-informed care trained. They quickly recognized that Sara’s son had suffered “ACEs” (adverse childhood experiences) requiring prompt intervention. ACEs is a polite way of saying the boy had been through some rough times during his important formative early years. The consequences could negatively impact him for the rest of his life.

Sara had been right there with him through it all, so her emotional stability was at risk, too. The nursery staff immediately began working with both mother and child to get them on the road to recovery.

Like loving arms, the nursery’s wraparound services kicked in to help this family. There are a multitude of resources available for families in need, but it is a daunting task to chase them down individually. Nursery staff sorted through all the local programs to direct Sara to the relevant ones and then made multiple referrals to a carefully curated list of partners:

STEAC – For the past 50 years, the Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee in Davis has provided immediate, emergency aid to low income families living in Yolo County, including help with food, housing rental, utilities and job readiness.

Cal Fresh – This federally mandated Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is supervised by the State of California and administered by Yolo County Health and Human Services. It provides monthly benefits to help low-income households purchase healthy and nutritious food.

Help Me Grow – A national program that unites a local community around its children by addressing the need for early identification of behavioral and developmental challenges. The Yolo County office is funded by First 5 Yolo and Yolo County Health and Human Services. Free developmental screenings are available to identify areas of concern, and then provide information and connections to community-based resources.

Child Care Subsidy – A Yolo County Health and Human Services CalWORKs program, which is administered by Yolo County Children’s Alliance. It helps low income parents who need childcare in order to work or attend school.

WIC – Women, Infants & Children is also administered by Yolo County Health and Human Services. This program provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and breast-feeding support.

Thanks to help from the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Sara was able to care for her son and keep both her job and home while working through this difficult time. The nursery helped Sara find long-term childcare for her son and is working with the boy’s new preschool on how to meet his behavioral needs. Sara is preparing to welcome her second baby into a community that is willing to do whatever it takes to help every child grow up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

We may call it a nursery, but it is oh, so much more. Simply put, the Yolo Crisis Nursery specializes in chasing the wolves away.

Yolo Crisis Nursery depends on the love and generosity of our community to help families, like Sara’s, successfully navigate a crisis. To learn more, to help, or to donate, please visit our website www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

This article written by J.D. Denton, member of Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors, was published in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 26, 2018