Thankfully, Some Things Remain the Same

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 info@yolocrisisnursery.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. 

Life has been turned upside-down for us all since mid-March. We are so thankful we had our eighth annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed before then. The evening was the last social gathering for so many of us before sheltering in place to help flatten the curve.

As the State begins to reopen, we want to express our deep gratitude for two record-breaking events — Big Day of Giving and Krustaceans for Kids. The proceeds raised through these events are allowing the Nursery staff to serve more families in new and creative ways from the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are so grateful for all who sprinkled the Nursery with Love for the Big Day of Giving during the first week in May. Despite the challenging circumstances in all of our lives, our amazing community rallied to help the most vulnerable children and those hardest hit by the pandemic.

We extend a special thanks to Greg and Amy McNece and the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors for their matching gifts. We are so pleased to have exceeded those generous gifts. Thank you also to all who donated and participated in our Sprinkler Challenge — Yolo County kids felt all that love! The gifts made for Big Day of Giving have a profoundly positive impact at this critical juncture. Thank You!

This year’s Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed was made possible by our generous sponsors, donors, volunteers, and guests, to whom this year we say a very special thank you! We cannot thank our volunteers enough, particularly the event co-chairs Nancy Storm and Martha Bernauer. The year-after-year growth of this sell-out event would not be possible without their leadership and tireless efforts. To the entire Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery team: You are making the world a better place for the children of Yolo County and you have our heartfelt appreciation.

Thank you also Lamppost Pizza, Upper Crust Bakery, Sudwerk Brewing, and Paradise Valley Estates for your delicious donations. And a very special thank you goes to our volunteer servers from the National Charity League and Woodland High School National Honors students.

We would like to recognize and thank our returning Premier Sponsor Sutter Health and King Crab Sponsors Jim and Lucinda Childress, Davisville Management Company, 2nd Street Storage, Aggie Square Apartments, Fountain Circle Townhomes and Almondwood Apartments for their ongoing generosity and support.

Sincere thanks to our generous Dungeness Crab Sponsors: Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Harris and Mary Liu of the Woodland McDonald’s.

To our wonderful Blue Crab Sponsors: Martha Bernauer & Maren Heise, Brooks Painting & Higgins Team Good Home Group, Brown Construction Inc., Marguerite Callahan, Carbahal & Company, Coldwell Banker Select Davis & Woodland, Davis Firefighters Local 3494, Davis Oddfellows & Davis Rebekah Lodge, F Street Dispensary, Steve & Teri Greenfield, Heidy & Peter Kellison, Morse Custom Homes & Remodeling, NakanoKennedySimpson, Recology, Kay Resler, Shottenkirk Honda, Sharon Schauer & Brodie Hamilton, Stromberg Redway Friends, Swim America – Davis, Stewart & Ann Teal, Union Bank, and Welsch Family & Friends – Thank you.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, we would also like to thank our amazing volunteer kitchen crew, bartenders, security team, The Bridge Church, Collegiate Studios, and CK Hicks.

And last but not least, thank you to the numerous businesses, community groups and individuals who donated items for our auction and raffle. Your generosity was a critical piece to our success.

Our local small businesses have always rallied to support those in need in our community, and we encourage our community to shop local to support those businesses in their time of need. If you are interested in helping vulnerable children and families in Yolo County, I hope you’ll consider joining us. Please email bheard@yolocrisisnursery.org to learn more about how you can help the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Visit our website, www.yolocrisisnursery.org, to learn more or join us with a donation or by volunteering.

— This article was written by Steve Willhoff, Yolo Crisis Nursery Treasurer. The article first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on May 24, 2020. 

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.

It is crab season in California and that means the Annual “Krustaceans for Kids” Crab Feed benefitting the Yolo Crisis Nursery is just around the corner! The fun, food, and yes, fundraising is set to begin on Saturday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Woodland Senior and Community Center.

Krustaceans for Kids is an extraordinary crab feed! Volunteer servers will keep your table well-stocked with buckets of delicious, crab, pasta with red sauce, Caesar salad, and delicious bread. It is all-you-can-eat, so come hungry. Beer, wine, and soft drinks will also be available throughout the event at conveniently located no-host bars.

“We’ve had a sell-out crowd for the past few years. Over 500 people attended last year’s Krustaceans for Kids,” said Yolo Crisis Nursery board president JoEllen Welsch. “A successful crab feed again this year will really help keep the nursery financially healthy so that we can continue to serve Yolo County’s at-risk children and their families.”

The Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery has successfully produced this event since 2013, and we are working hard to make sure this year’s crab feed is the best yet. The fun doesn’t end with sumptuous all-you-can-eat food, as the ever-popular giant Raffle and the Live and Silent Auctions will return again with a great line-up of items including a tasty array of homemade desserts.

We are thrilled to have Sutter Health returning as our Premier Sponsor. This type of dedicated support from our community is critical in helping us achieve our vision that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

Last year’s event sold out well in advance, so don’t delay. Get your tickets today. Individual tickets are only $50, and several levels of sponsorship are still available starting at $1,000. They can be purchased now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

All Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed proceeds goes to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. The Nursery is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for children and families in turmoil. Our services are free of charge, and we do not turn away any children. The Nursery’s emergency respite care program is funded by the generosity of our community.

Every child and family the Yolo Crisis Nursery serves is different, but each one is in crisis with little or no support system and all in need of aid. The Nursery keeps young, vulnerable children safe and helps the parents resolve their immediate crises. The Nursery continues to work with and follow families for one year to ensure that they successfully transition out of crisis, the children remain safe, and the family stays whole, such as the case of Sara and her son, Alex.

Sara, a young, pregnant, single, working mom, was on the brink of losing her job because she did not have childcare for her toddler son, Alex. Both of them had suffered abuse. At 4 years of age, Alex had behavioral challenges as a result of the abuse and had been removed from multiple childcare centers.

Sara was proud to be newly on her own with Alex and with a new baby on the way. The thought of losing her job, home and ability to care for her young family was overwhelming and devastating to Sara. Thanks to help from the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Sara was able to keep both her job and home, while helping Alex with behavior modification therapy. We may call it a nursery, but it is oh, so much more.

Please join us on March 7 for all-you-can-eat crab and fun to help our most vulnerable, at-risk Yolo County children, like Alex, avert disaster. Interested in joining the Friends of The Yolo Crisis Nursery? Please email friends@yolocrisisnursery.org. To learn more about the Nursery or to donate, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org

— This article was written by Martha Bernauer and Nancy Storm, co-chairs of the eighth annual Krustacean for Kids Crab Feed benefiting the Yolo Crisis Nursery. The article first appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, January 26, 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. 

It is often said that every choice in life matters. As a long-time member of the Davis community and a pediatrician with a career focused on serving people in vulnerable and underserved communities, I never imagined the impact that a simple act of dropping off holiday donations for children in crisis could have on my own life.

When I stepped inside the Yolo Crisis Nursery, I was immediately struck by the staff’s attentive, respectful, and affectionate care. I looked into the eyes of those young children, and my life was forever changed. I saw fear and pain mixed with a child’s ever-trusting and resilient nature. If ever there is a time to intervene with warmth and kindness, it is during that immediate time of crisis.

I have seen much in my more than 25 years as a board-certified physician working with disadvantaged communities. One of the most impressive aspects of the Yolo Crisis Nursery is the culture of professionalism and commitment to excellence in the service of our clients. Every family at the Nursery is different, but all – adults and children alike — are treated with respect and compassion.

Since opening its doors in 2001, the Nursery has helped thousands of young children and families experiencing crisis—potentially avoiding the trauma of child abuse or neglect. The impact of the Nursery is often best understood through our client’s stories and successes. I want to share a recent success.

Lucas struggled to get up the two steps to enter the Nursery’s front door the first time he arrived. He was just two years old, had a heart condition and was morbidly obese – weighing more than three times the average two-year-old. Lucas’ medical conditions were the result of poor nutrition and neglect. As a physician, seeing this in a child just two years of age was heartbreaking and shocking. Lucas and his family came to the Nursery through a referral from a medical provider. The Nursery was a key piece of a safety plan for Lucas to focus on his physical, emotional and developmental needs.

Lucas began attending our specialized preschool, and the wrap-around services embraced his family with parenting education and connections to services to help them build a healthy lifestyle for their family. After just two months, Lucas is able to climb the stairs into the Nursery’s front door with ease. He has lost 20 pounds, and is able to interact and play with the other children. The journey has just begun for Lucas and his family, but they are all becoming healthier and stronger together. The Yolo Crisis Nursery helps children and families when they need it most, in times of crisis. The services the Nursery offers change lives, and in many cases can be the difference between life and death.

Children 5 years old and younger are the most likely to be victims of abuse, yet fortunately, they are usually quite resilient if intervention is swift and nurturing. Targeted, critically time-sensitive support can make all the difference.

I have been a supporter of the Yolo Crisis Nursery ever since that chilly December day several years ago, and I am proud to be completing my third year as a member of the Board of Directors.

You can also support the Nursery and its critical mission. An easy way to take that first step is to join us on Saturday, October 19, at 6 pm at Central Park in Davis as we kick up our heels for kids at our inaugural Barn Dance. The Barn Dance will be hosted by the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and is sponsored by Nugget Markets. This amazing event will bring our community together for a night of entertainment, dancing, and fun, all to benefit the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

If an evening of good old-fashioned fun is not reason enough to come to the Barn Dance, come for Lucas and the thousands of children in crisis that the Yolo Crisis Nursery has helped since its opening. I invite you to get your Barn Dance Tickets today — they are just $25, and include one beverage ticket. Tickets can be purchased now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

If you cannot come to the Barn Dance, there are many other ways to support the Nursery: volunteer to hold babies, make a financial contribution, or join the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. To donate, get involved, or to learn more about how you can help, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Find out, like I did, how this impactful organization changes lives.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, September 22, 2019, and was written by Samrina Marshall. Samrina is a pediatrician and a board member for the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

Get ready to kick up your heels for kids at the Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance, a one-of-a-kind event, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in Central Park in Davis. The Barn Dance will be hosted by the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Nugget Markets, continuing their long history of local philanthropy, is sponsoring the Barn Dance.

Dance the night away to one of the hottest modern country cover bands — MoonShine Crazy — performing live! MoonShine Crazy is the 2019 Sacramento Music Award-winning “Best Cover Band.” The band includes Jessica Spaid, Mark Coudriet, Ritch Shefke and Dave “Shoobie” Shafer. With top-notch vocal talent, tight harmonies, and excellent musicianship, MoonShine Crazy entertains crowds all over Northern California covering country hits, top 40 and rock classics. We may even get lucky enough to hear a few of MoonShine Crazy’s newly released originals during what is sure to be a fun-filled evening.

Long-time Yolo Crisis Nursery supporters Martha L. Bernauer, Kim Eichorn, and Snow and Associates, all of Lyon Real Estate, have generously donated an amazing raffle prize. Buy a ticket and try your luck at winning a trip to Nashville, the home of country music! The raffle winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize that can be used to cover airfare, hotel, and Grand Ole Opry tickets. We are so fortunate to have the support of this wonderful group of colleagues from Lyon Real Estate. Raffle tickets are $20 each or 3 for $50. The winning ticket will be drawn at the end of the evening; however, you need not be present to win. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person at the Barn Dance.

Come hungry or work up your appetite on the dance floor. Either way, Bacon Mania and Buckhorn food trucks will tempt your taste buds with delicious Barn Dance fare available for purchase. Best of all, you will be supporting the Nursery while you satisfy your hunger since these food trucks have kindly agreed to donate a portion their proceeds to the Yolo Crisis Nursery! Beer, wine, and water will be available for purchase at our conveniently located watering holes.

“The Barn Dance is all about community. It is about bringing our people together for an evening of entertainment, dancing, and good old-fashioned fun to benefit the Nursery,” said Jane Eadie, President of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. “The entire board and our wonderful staff are so appreciative of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s efforts to build community and raise funds for the Nursery. Thank you to this amazing group of volunteers for your year-round fundraising efforts and for hosting the Barn Dance and our annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed every March.”

We are extremely grateful to have Nugget Markets as our inaugural Barn Dance sponsor. It is wonderful to partner with a local family-owned company with a long-standing tradition for giving back to their community. “Since 1926, Nugget Markets has been committed to supporting local non-profits and causes in our community,” said Kate Stille, Director of Marketing, Nugget Markets. “We are excited to be part of the Barn Dance, and more importantly, happy to support the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s mission to protect the most vulnerable children in our community. The value of the Nursery’s work in our community is immeasurable.”

Barn Dance Tickets are just $25, and include one drink ticket for water, beer, or wine. Tickets can be purchased now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org. Western attire is encouraged. Parking will be available at City Hall Lot at 23 Russell Boulevard. When making your Barn Dance plans please consider taking a taxi or using a rideshare service. We anticipate a sell-out crowd, so don’t delay. Get your tickets today! All proceeds go to the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for children and families in turmoil. Our services are free of charge, voluntary, and we do not turn away any children. The Nursery’s emergency respite care program is funded by the generosity of our community. Every family the Yolo Crisis Nursery serves is different, but each one is in crisis and all in need of aid, having little or no support systems of their own. The Nursery keeps their young, vulnerable children safe and helps parents resolve their immediate crises.

The Nursery continues to work with and follow families for one year to ensure that they successfully transition out of crisis, the children remain safe, and the family stays whole. To donate or learn more, please visit: www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 25, 2019, and was written by By Sharon Schauer, member of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and co-chair of the Barn Dance committee.  

Nearly every time I visit the Yolo Crisis Nursery, I am welcomed by Connie Cordero with a warm smile and an infant in her arms. As our longtime Infant Room Teacher, Connie has a special connection with babies that is like no other. Children instantly trust and feel safe with Connie, earning her the affectionate title of “The Baby Whisperer.”

Connie joined the nursery staff in 2003 with a passion to make a difference for Yolo County’s most vulnerable children — those too young to have their own voice or care for themselves. Her goal, no matter how briefly she cares for them, is to leave a lasting impression with each and every child entrusted to her care. And what a difference Connie has made over the last 16 years! All too frequently, children arrive under extreme duress, but Connie’s peaceful and kind presence immediately eases them and makes them feel safe. The nursery has served over 5,000 children since opening its doors, and Connie has touched the lives of almost all of them. She has been their constant.

“It warms my heart to walk into the infant room to see Connie singing, dancing, and playing dress-up with the babies,” said Heather Sleuter, executive director of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. “Connie’s dedication to our clients is extraordinary and the positive impact her work has had on our community is immeasurable. Connie’s contributions are so extensive — she will be almost impossible to replace.”

Connie’s work transcends her direct care for the children. In addition to serving as the Infant Room teacher, she manages our Care Packages program. Through this program, we collect donated essential baby and child items from the community to provide customized care packages for parents to quickly get them necessities and ensure their children are well-cared for and safe. To learn more about donating items or to request a care package, please visit yolocrisisnursery.org/give/#wish-list or call 530-758-6680.

Connie has also played a critical role in shaping the culture of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. She has been responsible for numerous staff and volunteer trainings and she, herself, is a model for respectful, empowering, and compassionate care for our client families.

“Connie has a serene and kind way about her that is also very powerful. Kids come in having been through some pretty terrible stuff. She is able to calm them and make them feel safe and secure,” said Dr. Dave Nakano, retired pediatrician and Yolo Crisis Nursery volunteer. “If there were a picture next to the definition of mother in the dictionary it would be Connie. She may be the most warmhearted person I have ever had the privilege of knowing.”

Every child and family we serve is different, but each one is in crisis and all are in need of aid, having little or no support systems of their own. With a little help at just the right moment, families can avert crises. Rather than free-falling, they instead turn towards a more promising future. Since opening our doors in 2001, the Yolo Crisis Nursery has a 97% success rate for keeping children out of the child welfare system and Connie has been an integral part of that success.

Connie is set to retire in mid-August and, after a 16-year career helping other families, she plans to spend more time with her own children, her nine (soon to be 10) grandchildren, and first great-grandchild. The Board of Directors, Friends of YCN and the entire nursery staff would like to express our deep admiration and utmost appreciation for the selfless service Connie has given to the children of Yolo County. It is our sincere hope that Connie will continue to be a friend of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and come back to visit every now and then.

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

If you would like to help a Yolo County family at just the right moment, please consider supporting the nursery by volunteering to hold babies, joining the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, helping with a fundraising event like our upcoming Barn Dance on Saturday, Oct. 19, or by making a financial donation. If you would like to dedicate a gift to the Nursery in Connie’s honor, you may do so at www.yolocrisisnursery.org/give.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery could not survive without the generosity of our community, and we are grateful for your support. Thank you on behalf of the children and families we serve.

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 4, 2019, and was written by Jane Eadie, President of the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors