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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Vanguard Donates Proceeds from Birthday Event to Yolo Crisis Nursery

On Monday, July 30, 2007, the People's Vanguard of Davis celebrated its first birthday with an event that drew over 120 people and up to 150 people at the Davis Odd Fellow's Hall. The decision was made for this event to not be a fundraiser for the People's Vanguard of Davis. Instead, we decided to donate the excess proceeds to an organization called The Yolo Crisis Nursery.

According to director Sonja Tollefsen,
"The Yolo Crisis Nursery is a child abuse prevention program, we offer services to families in Yolo County that are in crisis, that need a place for their children to be kept in a safe happy environment while they tend to their crisis situation."
They can care for children up to 30 days for overnight care, and for families that are using our emergency day respite, they can use their services 30 days within a six month period.

I am thrilled to announce that the People's Vanguard of Davis, was able to cut a check to the Yolo Crisis Nursery for $500 that I delivered personally yesterday. In addition, Sonja Tollefsen, who has been director since early 2006, came to the event on Monday to make a pitch to the audience to donate to their cause. She reported to me, that they were able to raise an additional $500 at the event itself. She said she was so excited about that success that she was hardly able to sleep on Monday night.

In total, the Vanguard's event raised $1000 for this great organization.

Such funding is vital to organizations like this that do not receive direct money from the government.

According to Ms. Tollefsen,
"Currently we are receiving United Way Funds, and we have previously received First Five of Yolo County and Permanent Endowment funds. Those have been larger donors. Our fundraising efforts are ongoing because there are no direct government funding streams for programs like ours. So we are constantly doing fundraising events, grant writing, and accepting donations from the community, doing events, service groups, things like that to raise funds.

Pretty much everything you would see in our nursery from the toys to the furniture, diapers, food, clothing, all of those items, in-kind items are donated from community members, and we have a wish-list we can provide for people interested in providing items for us, so that they can see what kind of items we are in need of."
(To see their current wish-list, please click here)

I got a great chance to visit the facilities yesterday. Ms. Tollefsen came out with a two week old boy in her arms, snuggling away. He had been with them for about two weeks and they have located a good foster family for him. He was a tiny guy weighing around six pounds.

Ms. Tollefsen told me they 14 staff members and are fully staffed. 3 or 4 of these staff members are on-call staff who do not have actual shifts, but they do fill in when shifts become available. They have at least two people on duty around the clock, with a seven, and eight, and a nine hour shift.

A number of the children are only there during the day, in fact, at present there is only one child staying overnight --(a very adorable baby who is only a few weeks old).

Ms. Tollefsen told me that there is a variety of reasons for the use of day services.
"Families needs vary, for day services it could be legal appointments, medical appointments, job searching, could be a number of items, could be a mom who maybe works, got a job for one day and maybe doesn't have [child] care."
When I was there, the children were playing in the backyard before the heat of the day set in. During the course of the interview, I found myself inundated with the small children who seemed drawn to me.

They have a wide-variety of activities including a preschool.

"We have a preschool program for our two to five year olds with a preschool teacher that works with them on colors and numbers and learning how to interact in a preschool environment, interact with their peers. And there's always art and craft activities, reading, and general play."

I asked Sonja Tollefsen what she wanted the community to know about the Yolo Crisis Nursery.
"I want the community to know that we're here for starters. We are a program that requires the support of the community. We need donations as well as volunteers."
The Vanguard has done a number of amazing things in its first year that I never dreamed possible, however, being able to give to an organization like the Yolo Crisis Nursery is by far the most rewarding of all them.

To go to the Yolo Crisis Nursery's website, please click here.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting