So much has changed and yet some things remain the same.
As a member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors, an 18-year member and past president of the Davis Rotary Club, and a passionate advocate for children, I am seeing the potentially devastating challenges the COVID-19 pandemic is creating for young children and their families. COVID has changed the way the Yolo Crisis nursery works, but it has not changed the positive impact the nursery makes on children’s lives.
With so many in our community struggling, the services that charitable organizations — like the Yolo Crisis Nursery — provide are as critically necessary as ever, as demonstrated in Amanda’s story below.
Amanda is an essential worker and a single mother battling mental illness. Amanda and her 4-year-old daughter, Isabella, came to the nursery in April when they found themselves in an impossible situation. Amanda needed to go to work and childcare was scarce due to the shelter-in-place orders.
Without childcare, Amanda’s mental health was stretched to the limit, she risked losing her job, her home, and most importantly, Isabella. The nursery quickly assessed their needs and wrapped them both with compassionate care and services. Unbeknownst to Amanda until assessed by the trauma-trained Yolo Crisis Nursery staff through its intake and screening process, Isabella was identified to be deaf and on the autism spectrum.
Our amazing nursery staff worked with Amanda to help her understand Isabella’s diagnosis and connected her to the medical and social services her family needed. Together with Amanda and Isabella’s doctors, we built a treatment plan.
Isabella thrived at the nursery, as our staff worked with her on non-verbal communication skills and some behavior modifications. Isabella made huge improvements in her social functioning and communication skills while in the nursery’s care.
With the nursery’s help, in just three months, Isabella has a medical plan in place and is enrolled in a preschool with an individual education plan. Amanda is healthy, employed, stable, and is the best mom she can be for Isabella. The pandemic has changed our world, but thankfully, some things have not changed.
The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here to help all families in crisis with children from birth to five years old, and our services are voluntary and provided free of charge. Asking for help is sometimes not easy for parents; it takes courage and love for your child. We understand that parents are doing their very best, but sometimes they need assistance to properly care for their children.
The Nursery is funded by the generosity of individuals, businesses, foundations, granting agencies, and local government. We could not help people like Amanda and Isabella without this ongoing support. Regrettably, we will not be able to gather in person for our annual Barn Dance fundraiser this fall.
While we may not be able to line dance, we can get in line to support Yolo County kids in crisis through the Travis Credit Union Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Initiative. Every dollar donated up to $20,000 by September 30th will unlock a dollar-for-dollar matching gift for the Yolo Crisis Nursery from the Travis Credit Union Foundation.
This is a tremendous opportunity to double your donation and to help more children and families in crisis. To qualify for the matching gift, all donations must go through the Travis Credit Union Foundation.
Please visit www.tcufund.org/ways-to-give/ and select Yolo Crisis Nursery from the dropdown box to donate online or to learn more about how to donate in person or via check. Alternatively, you may also visit a local Travis Credit Union branch and specify that your foundation gift is to benefit the Yolo Crisis Nursery.
As the only crisis nursery in Yolo County, Yolo Crisis Nursery has always been an essential resource and place of hope for families, and it has been especially so for those dramatically impacted by COVID-19. I am extremely proud of the amazing work that our Executive Director, Heather Sleuter, and her team do day in and day out for children and families in Yolo County, no matter the circumstances.
It is my pleasure and honor to serve on the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. The work we are doing as a board to advance our vision that every child grows up in a safe, loving, and stable home is rewarding in ways I could not have imagined.
If you believe that all children deserve to grow up in a safe, loving and stable home and would like to help young families like Amanda and Isabella, I invite you to join us at the Yolo Crisis Nursery.
We are always looking for people who are willing to lend their time and talent to join us. To learn more or to make a gift, please visit our website www.yolocrisisnursery.org. If you think you might be interested in joining the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love the opportunity to get to know you.
— Kay Resler is a member of the board of directors for the Yolo Crisis Nursery. This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on July 26, 2020.