Giving and Gratitude

November begins the holiday season — normally, a treasured time with family and friends. This year will undoubtedly look very different for us all. Even in years without the added stress of a pandemic, for many, the holidays are not always idyllic.

Increased loneliness, anxiety, sadness, and depression are common over the holidays. This year, it’s fair to say that most of us are looking for ways to overcome some degree of melancholy. Psychology research shows that giving and gratitude can help to lift spirits and are closely linked to increased happiness.

Giving Tuesday is an annual global day of generosity, perhaps, this year, ideally timed to help us feel empowered and impactful during a moment of uncertainty, fear, and loss.

Supporting the Yolo Crisis Nursery this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, will give hope to the most vulnerable children in Yolo County. Every family we serve is unique, with specific needs, but each is facing crisis and adversity and often has nowhere else to turn. Your donation can provide an overnight safe stay for a child, childcare essentials and caring support at the moment a family needs it the most. And this year, three amazing donors will double the impact of your gift, by matching dollar-for-dollar all donations up to $20,000!

Your gift to the Nursery will help families like Amanda’s break the cycle of crisis and become stronger together. Amanda, a mother of two, recently moved back to Yolo County after living out of state. Unable to find housing, she and her children moved into her mother’s home where they were exposed to domestic violence. Amanda shared that her mom had a long history of choosing “bad men” and that she herself had been exposed to domestic violence through much of her childhood.

When she met with a Yolo Crisis Nursery caseworker, Amanda was homeless, without a stable income, overwhelmed with her parental responsibilities, and trying to come to terms with the haunting domestic violence experiences of her own childhood. Amanda did not want her children to have the same exposure to violence that she experienced growing up. She reached out in hopes that the Nursery could provide the stability needed for her children to escape the violence in her mother’s home. Amanda was right, the Nursery not only provided respite care for the children, but also the opportunity for her to begin to heal and start anew.

Amanda is remarkably resilient, and she needed to rely on that strength as she began the hard work of starting over again. She engaged with the Nursery’s wrap-around services to participate in parenting classes, address legal issues, find housing, obtain professional training, and engage in counseling.

In less than a year, Amanda has made remarkable accomplishments. She is in stable permanent housing with her two children. Her oldest child is enrolled in school and distance learning at a before- and aftercare program, and her youngest child is now in care at the Yolo Crisis Nursery while Amanda works towards completing nursing school and achieving her goal of becoming a nurse.

Amanda’s commitment, in the face of adversity, to keep her children safe, healthy, and strong is remarkable. Her hard work and resilience will continue to help Amanda achieve her goal of breaking the cycle of violence in her family. All of us at the Nursery are so excited to witness this strong mother attain her goals and build a brighter future for her children.

Having been with the Yolo Crisis Nursery for almost 20 years now, I continue to be amazed at the gratitude of our client families and the generosity of our supporters. Day in and day out, our staff and client families are addressing unimaginable challenges. All too often, the Nursery’s wrap-around approach and services can mean the difference between life and death for the youngest and most vulnerable children in our community

I invite you to start your season of gratitude by giving to a family facing extraordinary challenges. Through your support, the Nursery can avert disaster with well-timed assistance and early intervention. Please join us by making your gift on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, to enact positive change in our community and in the lives of vulnerable children in Yolo County. To learn more about the Yolo Crisis Nursery or to make a donation, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.


This article was written by Becky Heard and originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, November 22, 2020.