SAY began in San Diego in 1971 with strong support from USD and the local Junior League. Initial funding was provided by a loan from the San Francisco based Haigh Scatena Foundation. For the first year the staff consisted of SAY's first Executive Director and a group of volunteers from the USD law school who provided a variety of support services for young persons being adjudicated and their families. Development efforts were directed at trying to provide services that could work with at risk youth before they actually broke the law, rather than after. Both the City and County of San Diego eventually contributed to this effort and allowed us to add youth counseling staff.
By 1977 SAY had a budget of $200,000 and was providing individual counseling, family counseling, alcohol abuse prevention, and tutoring, and the staff was beginning to develop capacity in community development. The agency received a request from the Murphy Canyon Community to begin delinquency prevention services in that community and a second office was opened.
In 1982 SAY completed its 10th year of operation. The agency now had offices in Linda Vista, Clairemont, Murphy Canyon and Tierrasanta and had an annual budget of $528,000. The funding climate was bleak. With leadership from SAY, the delinquency prevention and diversion providers from all over the County gathered to do a fundamental redesign of how diversion was done in the County....a design that was eventually accepted and funded by the Board of Supervisors.
In 1987 SAY had grown to an annual budget of $993,000. Based upon a request from the community SAY began to move services into the Mid City area of San Diego, beginning with SAY's brand new Southeast Asian Juvenile Diversion Project. The agency's relationship with schools became more broad as programs such as the learning disabilities program and the homework clinics were added. Most significantly SAY saw the amazingly rapid growth of the agency's before and after school child care services. By the late 90's these services would grow to over 50 programs throughout the City of San Diego.
In 1992 SAY's programs were fully established in Mid City as well as in their traditional North City Neighborhoods of Linda Vista, Kearny Mesa, Serra Mesa, Tierrasanta, Murphy Canyon and the Navajo area. The budget had grown to 2 million with a staff of 91 and over 600 volunteers. In 1992 SAY began what has now become a 10 year partnership with O'Farrell Community School in which SAY staff were permanently stationed on campus to run the innovative Family Support Services program for the school. SAY began to see collaboration as a way to wrap services around youth and families, and began talking about "one-stop shopping" and integrated service delivery. During these years SAY was instrumental in the formation of several major community based collaborations including the Military Family Cluster, the Linda Vista Collaborative, the North Clairemont Coalition and Mid City For Youth
SAY was in the middle of its most prolific growth period with a 1997 annual budget of 4 million, 151 employees and over 700 volunteers. Much of SAY's services were beginning to be conducted in family resource centers located in neighborhoods. The centers were bringing together multiple providers in one location and beginning to make the dream of integrating services and "one-stop shopping" a reality. The after school programs were also changing as SAY began to provide after school services for the always-challenging middle school population. The community collaborations for which SAY was the fiscal agent were developing new ways of supporting families using outreach, and home visits, and closely linking these services to the Family Resource Centers.
SAY completed its 30th year of operation with a budget of about 12 million dollars and nearly 500 employees. The agency offered a comprehensive and integrated mix of services which include: Delinquency, Drug, and Gang Prevention; Child Care and other After School Enrichment Programs; Community development and outreach to Develop Healthy Communities; Family Development and Preservation; Juvenile Diversion; School Linked and School Based Social Services; Academic Support Services for children and youth; Mental Health Services and Family Support and Self Sufficiency services. SAY's services span the City and some even the County. In the year ending June 2001 over 29,000 individuals received services from the agency.
In April of 2006 SAY began its 35th year. The agency budget grew to nearly 15 million dollars and the breadth of SAY services continued to grow. Most significantly SAY added extensive Child Abuse Prevention services and a variety of Health Related services that help to improve access to health care for many of San Diego’s most vulnerable citizens.
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