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