I can still remember the trembling of her lips and the fear in her eyes as my mother begged my siblings and me to go to our room and lock the door. We did not want to leave her alone with him, but if we did not, my father’s rage would spill on to us.
As you can probably guess by now, I did not grow up in a safe and stable home. I was born in Mexico and raised by a single mother who came to this country to escape abuse and to build a brighter future for our family. My mother worked two jobs to provide for my siblings and me and still struggled to make ends meet. While growing up, I felt the chronic stress that adversity and abuse cause. This is why I want to do everything in my power to raise awareness and create change so that other children do not have to experience what I did.
Child abuse is an issue that should concern everyone because children are our future. Did you know that 9 million children live in California and that one in four of them experience abuse or neglect at some point in their lives? April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and as a community, we must unite and fight to raise awareness. All children have a fundamental need for a safe, stable, and loving home, and the time to make this a reality and create change is now.
Growing up in a healthy environment should not be a privilege. It should be every child’s right. It is our shared civic responsibility to help ensure all children grow up in a safe, stable and loving home. Supporting, protecting, and funding this fundamental right will benefit everyone and will allow all our children a real chance to grow into healthy adults who will improve our communities and society as a whole.
For the past 20 years, Yolo Crisis Nursery has worked tirelessly to protect at-risk children while also keeping families together. The nursery is only one of four crisis nurseries in the state. It is unique because it provides trauma-informed emergency childcare for families in crisis while creating a support system that not only helps to mitigate the current crisis but helps avoid new ones in the future. This approach has been very successful. We are proud that 98% of respite care families served at the Yolo Crisis Nursery have not entered child protective services.
Child abuse knows no boundaries. It occurs across all income levels and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Many factors contribute to child abuse and neglect, including stress, family history of violence, poverty, substance abuse and even chronic health conditions.
Today, the nursery’s work is more important than ever. Family stress levels are through the roof as a result of the pandemic. The number of families experiencing crises and adversity has increased enormously. More and more families are in need of support and the Yolo Crisis Nursery is there for our community. We never turn children away.
My commitment to making a difference for future generations motivated me to become a first-generation college student, and last year I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from UC Davis. I am now applying to graduate school with the goal of obtaining my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Having personally experienced it, I understand how detrimental toxic stress can be on a person’s mental and physical health. Consequently, I want to do everything within my means to raise awareness of its devastating effects and be a part of the solution.
I recently joined the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors because we share a passion to prevent child abuse, preserve families, and create change. Child abuse and neglect is an issue that affects everyone. There is a well-known quote that asserts “we need to be the change that we want to see,” and I invite you to join me in being a part of that change.
On May 6, the Sacramento regional community will come together for the Big Day of Giving. It is a 24-hour generosity movement and an opportunity to rally around our local nonprofits after a uniquely challenging year. Every gift, no matter the size, makes a difference!
We hope you will give from your heart to the Yolo Crisis Nursery to help us build safe, stable, and loving homes for Yolo County children to grow up in. Thanks to the generosity of the MJ & MP Whelan-Miille Family Charitable Fund’s donation of $5,000 and Alan and Mary Buckpitt’s donation of $1,000, they have come together to match the first $6,000 in Big Day of Giving donations dollar-for-dollar!
Your gift will help the Nursery provide services to protect children and help at-risk families achieve stability.
We encourage those who are able to please make a gift on May 6. You can schedule your gift now by visiting our website at www.yolocrisisnursery.org or by mailing a check to 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616.
The Yolo Crisis Nursery is saving children’s lives and transforming families. We all need to be the change we hope to see, and your gift will directly support the frontline work that the Nursery is doing to keep our community’s most vulnerable children safe and their families whole.
This article was written by Erika Y. Cisneros, Member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. The article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on April 25, 2021.