Stronger Together

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.

For many families, the holidays and New Year mean coming together and celebration. The biggest concern may be checking gifts off everyone’s list and, perhaps, avoiding politics at the dinner table. Yet this is also an important time to recognize families facing crisis in our community. These families are not only trying to make ends meet, they also wonder how they will provide care for their children.

Fortunately, the Yolo Crisis Nursery, a nonprofit dedicated to helping parents and children in crisis, can provide respite care and help for these families. Over nearly two decades, the Nursery has helped over 5,000 children and families in Yolo County. The Nursery understands how an emergency can upend a family and is here to help.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery’s work is best illustrated by its clients’ successes. “Frank,” a loving and hard-working father, was willing to share his remarkable story of how the Nursery helped him during his time of need. Frank suddenly found himself with his world turned upside down. “Mary,” his partner and mother of his 2-year old son “Jack,” went missing. Mary suffers from mental illness, and for reasons unknown, she did not come home.

Frank was devastated by Mary’s departure, as was his son. They were suddenly alone, with no support network. Prior to her departure, Frank worked full-time as a landscaper, while Mary cared for Jack. Their budget was tight, but they got by. Now with Mary gone, Frank was at a tipping point. With no one to care for Jack and no paid leave remaining at work, Frank was between a rock and a hard place — if he stayed at home to care for Jack, he would lose his job.

Thankfully, Frank was willing to ask for help, and a community member referred him to Yolo Crisis Nursery. Frank and Jack were welcomed into the Nursery, and the highly trained staff quickly went to work. Through the intake process, trauma-informed staff identified that Jack was autistic. They quickly coordinated additional medical screenings, check-ups, and initiated other critical services.

The Nursery also provided temporary childcare for Jack, who was nurtured, fed nutritious meals, and enjoyed an enriching curriculum through the onsite preschool. Jack thrived in the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s care, achieving many developmental milestones. Meanwhile, Frank was able to maintain his full-time job, while also working closely with Nursery’s staff to navigate his son’s diagnosis and his childcare crisis. With the Nursery’s help, Frank avoided losing his job and home. Most importantly, he avoided losing Jack.

Recognizing that Frank’s crisis was not temporary, the Nursery also connected him with community resources and helped him find long-term childcare. The Nursery also helped him develop a support network of other parents which help one another through challenges. One of the members of this group even looked after Jack when he had a fever while Frank had to work. Not knowing if or when Mary will return, Frank continues to work to build a better life for himself and his son.

Although every family the Nursery serves is unique, they all have one thing in common — they are in crisis and in need of help. When families are in crisis, young children are the most vulnerable. The statistics are shocking. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 1 in 7 children experienced abuse and neglect in 2018.

In a recent interview with PBS, California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris said, “the single greatest unaddressed public health threat that is facing our nation today is an issue of early adversity.” These trends make prevention — the very mission of the Yolo Crisis Nursery — critical.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here to help all families in crisis with children from birth to 5 years old. Services are voluntary and provided free of charge. The Nursery understands it takes courage for mothers and fathers to ask for help and that these parents are looking out for what is best for their children.

I am honored to be a member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board, and as a new father myself, I continue to be amazed by the work the Nursery’s dedicated staff does for families and children in need. The Yolo Crisis Nursery is funded by the generosity of our community.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, and the families who rely on the Nursery, we extend a heartfelt thank you to our amazing community for your continued support. If Frank’s story resonated with you, we encourage you to take a moment to learn more about the Nursery’s services and consider joining us to help prevent child abuse and neglect in Yolo County. To donate, to learn more or to join us, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article was written by Eric Miller a member of the Board of Directors for Yolo Crisis Nursery. The article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, December 22, 2019.

*For privacy reasons, we changed the client names for this column.

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. 

Every child deserves a safe and loving place to be and the Yolo Crisis Nursery provides just that. The Yolo Crisis Nursery has made a positive change in the lives of over 5,000 children and families since opening our doors in 2001. We work to prevent child abuse and neglect while helping parents resolve the crises that brought them to the Nursery. This is often best understood through our clients’ stories. Today I will share Tom’s.

Tom was happily married and the proud father of Logan (4) and Alyssa (2) with a baby boy on the way when suddenly, one of the most joyous days turned tragic for Tom and his family. Due to unforeseen complications, Tom’s wife died unexpectedly during the birth of their youngest son, Oliver. Now a heartbroken and grieving widower, this loving father of three was left to wonder how he could make it through even one day, let alone the future months and years.

With no family or support network nearby, Tom was overwhelmed. He had always worked while his wife was the primary caregiver for the children. Suddenly he was alone and in need of assistance. Thankfully, the Yolo Crisis Nursery was there to help. The Nursery’s trauma-trained caregivers looked after Logan, Alyssa, and Oliver while Tom took the necessary time to make arrangements and plan for the future as a solo parent of three young children.

While in our care, the children received an abundance of love and support, as well as healthy meals, playtime and the rest their growing bodies needed. The Nursery embraced Tom and the kids with our wrap-around services. We connected Tom with the help he needed to parent and lead his family through their shared loss, including referrals for daycare, developmental screenings, counseling, and a grief support group.

While nothing will remove the pain or loss, I feel fortunate that we have the Nursery in our community to help children and families in crisis. The Yolo Crisis Nursery’s services are always voluntary and free of charge to parents and caregivers and are 100% funded by the generosity of our community.

Although every family the Nursery serves is unique, they all have one thing in common — they are in crisis and in need of help. A family crisis can arise for many reasons such as the loss of a parent, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, sudden job loss or homelessness, and countless other challenges. The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here to help all families in crisis with children from birth to 5 years old.

When families are in crisis, young children are the most vulnerable. Child abuse and neglect is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as a significant public health problem in the United States with an estimated one in four children experiencing abuse or neglect at some point in their lives. As a loving husband and adoring father myself, Tom’s story and these stark statistics really resonate with me.

With a young daughter of my own, I cannot begin to imagine being in Tom’s shoes. What would I do if I was suddenly thrust into this difficult situation? Luckily, the Yolo Crisis Nursery exists and is available to help those in need. I admire Tom’s courage and love for his family. Asking for help is never easy. We are fortunate to have a Crisis Nursery in our community. If you are in crisis or know a family who needs assistance, please call 530-758-6680 or visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org. We are here to help anytime day or night.

This year, join me in recognizing all of the amazing Dads in your life on Father’s Day with a gift in their honor to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. We will mail him a card displaying a beautiful finger-painting picture with your personalized message inside. Best of all, it will arrive in plenty of time for Father’s Day. Simply go to  www.yolocrisisnursery.org/cards/, make a minimum donation of $25, include a personal message, and we’ll take care of the rest.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, and the families who rely on the Nursery, we extend a heartfelt thank you to our amazing community for your continued support. To donate, to learn more or join us, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

 

  • This article was written by Steve Willhoff, Treasurer of Yolo Crisis Nursery and appeared in the Daivs Enterprise on May, 26, 2019.

“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 www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

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 www.yolocrisisnursery.org/cards/, 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 www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— Jennifer Thayer is a Yolo Crisis Nursery board member.

Foster families have a critical role in our community. They not only care for children in crisis, but they foster love among us. It takes a very special family to love and welcome a child of any age at any time, day or night.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is a resource to help foster families care for their children. The goal of our Foster and Kinship program is to support foster children and their families to ensure a smooth transition for everyone. Through this program, Yolo Crisis Nursery offers daycare for the first 30 days of a foster placement.

Wendy has worked with the Yolo Crisis Nursery for nine years as a foster parent. She has fostered five children for varying lengths of time, from as little as five days to adopting two of her foster children into her forever family. Wendy picked up her oldest child, James, at the hospital when he was just 2 days old and had to return to work just five days later. Without the help of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Wendy would not have been able to return to work, since many daycare facilities are not licensed to care for infants younger than 8 weeks old.

“The Nursery has been invaluable. Not only did they care for James, but the wraparound services aided me as a parent with everything from navigating paperwork to checking in on my emotional well-being,” Wendy said. “With foster children, there isn’t a nine- or 10-month ramp-up where you can plan. Most times you get a call on a Friday and are back to work Monday.”

“James’ adoption was a long and emotional process that took nearly four years. The Nursery was there to support James and our family every step of the way,” Wendy said. “I was overjoyed when James’ adoption was finalized and he became my first forever child.”

When Lia was born, Wendy received a call from the hospital that there was a 2-day-old newborn girl who needed a home. “We immediately took her into our hearts and family,” Wendy said. “Lia had some challenges ahead of her. She was born tox-positive for methamphetamine. Due to drug exposure in the womb, Lia was very lethargic in her first five months of life, so much so that we had to wake her up to even eat. The Yolo Crisis Nursery was a critical part of Lia’s care plan.”

“The nursery staff was amazing,” Wendy continued. “They took the time to get to know Lia and knew exactly what she needed. At just 10 months of age, Lia was thriving and began meeting all her major milestones. Then, just a week shy of her first birthday, the court ordered that Lia be reunited with her birth father. The families met in a park and Wendy reluctantly handed Lia back to her birth father. This was a major emotional challenge for Wendy and her family, especially Lia’s older brother, James.

Three months to the day after Wendy said goodbye to Lia, she got a call that Lia was in the ICU. Lia was just 15 months old. Her injuries were severe and classified by the courts, law enforcement and Child Protective Services as non-accidental — they were the result of abuse. The doctors told Wendy that Lia may never fully recover from her injuries and would likely require round-the-clock nursing care for the rest of her life.

It turns out Lia is a fighter and had other plans, though. “The staff from the Yolo Crisis Nursery were some of Lia’s first visitors in the hospital,” Wendy said. When Lia returned to the Nursery after her traumatic injuries, their trauma-trained caregivers were able to help her through seizures and follow the care plan designed by Lia’s doctors and parents.

“Three days after her third birthday, we were able to adopt Lia and she officially and forever became a part of my family,” Wendy said. Less than a month later, crisis struck again when Wendy was suddenly single. This is incredibly difficult and emotional time for any family, but especially Wendy’s given the challenges James and Lia had recently endured.

“The Nursery provided amazing care and support for us during this time of crisis,” Wendy said. “I could not have made it through the last few years without the support and commitment of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. They are our extended family.”

Wendy is optimistic about the future and unreservedly adores her amazing kids more with every passing day. Both James and Lia are flourishing thanks to the loving support they received from their foster family, the Nursery and the community.

To help children in crisis like Lia and James, please consider making a donation to the Yolo Crisis Nursery or attending our upcoming annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed benefit on March 16. Tickets are going fast and will sell out soon! We expect a large and festive crowd, who will enjoy all-you-can-eat crab and pasta, a no-host bar, silent auction, giant raffle, dessert auction and live auction with our auctioneer, Dr. John Chuck. Get your tickets and sponsorships today at www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on February 24, 2019 and was written by Heather Sleuter, Executive Director of the Yolo Crisis 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.

Marie, a young single mother, was due to work the night shift and was without care for her 22-month-old son. Marie relied on a friend to watch her son at night, but at the last minute, her friend backed out. With her shift about to start and no one to care for her son, Marie was frantic and faced with a difficult choice – until someone suggested the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

The nursery responded immediately by picking up the child and caring for him for several nights. Marie worked with the Nursery’s team to find regular overnight childcare. With a little help, the crisis was averted. Marie was able to keep her job, her home, and most importantly, ensure her son was safe.

As I reflect back on my near two-year term on the Board of Directors and look forward to my upcoming term as Vice-President of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, I can’t help but reflect back on why I chose it. My reasons are many, but can all be encapsulated by the story of Marie and her 22 month-old son.

Unfortunately, Marie’s story is not uncommon. In Yolo County, roughly 20 percent of our community lives below the poverty level. Many families are facing dire challenges, labor under high levels of stress, and function without a support network.

Who bears the brunt of these crises? Most often it is the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community, children from birth to age 5. The levels of abuse and neglect correspond with high levels of family stress. California has the highest incidence of abuse and neglect in the country. Closer to home, Yolo County’s rate of abuse and neglect has historically been comparable to or higher than the state for children ages birth to 5 years.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here to help. We serve young children up to age five and their families. The nursery offers wrap-around services to keep families together, help them navigate crises, and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Yolo Crisis Nursery offers voluntary and free, nurturing childcare for ages birth through 5 years, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Equally important, Yolo Crisis Nursery’s wrap-around services help parents resolve the problems that brought them to our door. The nursery strives to preserve families. Families that stay whole become stronger. Children are less likely to become troubled teens. The cycle is broken.

Since opening its doors in 2001, the Yolo Crisis Nursery has served approximately 4,000 children with a 98% success rate of keeping children out of the child welfare system. Over the past year the Nursery served 47% more children and 13% more families than the previous year.  Last year a child entered the nursery doors 2,549 times for crisis nursery respite services. 54% of these children were from families at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and 64% of these children might have been at risk of domestic violence.

Every family the Yolo Crisis Nursery serves is different, but each one is in crisis, and all in need of aid with little or no support systems. The nursery keeps their young, vulnerable children safe and helps the parents resolve their immediate crises. And they continue to work with and follow families for a year to ensure that the family successfully transitions out of the crisis, the children remain safe, and the family stays whole.

Marie’s story reminds us that with a little help at just the right moment, families can avert crises. Rather than free-falling, they turn towards a more promising future. The Yolo Crisis Nursery works to empower families, so they and their children can thrive.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery has changed my life in countless ways not only by being a Board member, but also as an active supporter and donor.  If you, too, would like to help a Yolo County family at just the right moment, please consider donating today. The Yolo Crisis Nursery could not survive without the generosity of our community, and we are grateful for your support. Please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org to learn more, get involved, and give to the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

 

This article was written by JoEllen Welsch, Vice President-Elect, Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. It was originally published in the September 23, 2018 issue of the Davis Enterprise.