Yolo Crisis Nursery: Dispelling the myths of need

By From page A4 | September 19, 2012

By Becky Heard and Heather Jeppeson

As Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, we field a number of questions from the community about our clients, their emergencies and outcomes. Without a doubt, many of our clients suffer extreme hardship few of us can imagine.

Scenarios about parenting while escaping domestic violence, enduring sudden homelessness and facing fatal medical conditions are so severe, it’s tempting, even for us, to create comfortable mental barriers, believing these situations are unlikely to be part of our personal fate.

Of course, we know this isn’t true; tragedy is part of life. But in order to have a stronger grasp on the nursery’s mission, sometimes it’s helpful to learn and be reminded about some of the less acute experiences that might lead someone to seek services.

In this way, we can be more deeply connected to a resource for our community (now in its second decade of service) that has helped thousands avoid child abuse and neglect and work through life’s bumpy roads.

Here’s an example:

A seemingly happy family (father, mother and 2-year-old girl) was suddenly ripped apart when the mother decided she could no longer cope with the responsibilities of raising a family. Dad, in his final month of graduate school, knew the demands of school, employment and child rearing were taking a toll on him and his wife, but he thought they would work through it, especially when relief was in sight.

Without warning, Dad, who already was working part-time and studying around the clock to finish his degree, became a full-time parent. Since they had moved to Davis strictly for school, there was no accessible family support.

Believing he had only one option, Dad contacted UC Davis to withdraw from the program, just weeks shy of his degree.

In the midst of processing his request, a staff member decided to probe further into Dad’s plight. And, as luck and grace would have it, the individual knew about the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

That very afternoon, the little girl began a 30-day stay at the nursery, reuniting with Dad for a time each day. Their modest income continued and, most importantly, graduate school would not have to wait, or worse, fade away forever.

There’s no question that it’s horrendous to be abandoned by a family member. We know it took a great deal of strength for this tiny family to move on without a wife and mother. But in the context of the life-threatening conditions we wrote about earlier, this is a more relatable heartbreak.

None of us is immune from misfortune, but the worst time to be tested is when our children are young, dependent and vulnerable.

We never know when our current capacity will shift to incapacity — a time when we will be the ones needing help. We simply know that such a change is inevitable.

That’s why, if you’re currently able, we ask you to support the Yolo Crisis Nursery by attending the Sunrise Rotary Club’s Oktoberfest on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Davis Farmers Market Pavilion in Central Park, Fourth and C streets. Tickets are available at www.davisrotary.org.

To help sustain the nursery with a regular financial contribution, please call 530-758-6680.

You can help

What: Oktoberfest presented by Davis Sunrise Rotary, featuring German sausages, Sudwerk beer, polka music and dancing

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Davis Farmers Market Pavilion, Fourth and C streets

Tickets: $25 each, available at www.davisrotary.org

Benefits: Yolo Crisis Nursery and NAMI-Yolo, the National Alliance on Mental Illness

— Becky Heard and Heather Jeppeson are co-presidents of Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Their column is published monthly.

Special to The Enterprise

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