Meet Ann

Ann is a busy working mom, juggling many responsibilities both at home and on the job. As a military spouse who travels frequently for work, Ann has an added challenge coordinating childcare with her active-duty husband. Thankfully for Ann, even on long days when she can’t pick her daughter up from school right away, she knows that Nola is safe, happy, and well-cared for by SAY San Diego’s after-school PrimeTime staff.

When Ann’s husband received orders to move to San Diego three years ago, it wasn’t an easy transition for their daughter, Nola. Military children move an average of 6-9 times during their school careers, and this was her first move. The added support of SAY’s after-school program at a school located in a military neighborhood made the transition easier for Nola, who was able to interact with other kids who have been through military moves and with SAY staff well-versed in helping kids acclimate. “Nola just loves to be there, running around and having playtime with her friends,” comments Ann.

SAY offers low-cost and free before and after school programs at more than 40 sites, and the added benefit is the reassurance the programs provide for working parents like Ann. “The kids are well cared for by teachers who are warm and comforting,” she says of SAY’s PrimeTime program. “My mind is at ease knowing that she is safe on campus. I can’t say enough about the staff. They are amazing.”

The program also helps Nola academically, as the staff are available to help with homework and answer any questions the kids may have. “It’s reassuring to know that if my husband and I have to work late, Nola’s homework will already be done by the time we pick her up,” Ann muses, noting that those precious extra minutes leave more time for family.

Ann and her husband are like so many of the hardworking parents that SAY partners with every day to make life better for their children.

STEMPower Conference

On Saturday, March 9, Donna Wilson and Marissa Lujan from of SAY’s Child and Youth Development team attended the STEMPower Conference at the San Diego County Office of Education. Their science display explained what SAY San Diego is teaching our youth about lights and current.

Social Host Ordinance

The City of San Diego updated its Social Host Ordinance law to include marijuana and other drugs in addition to alcohol. SAY San Diego’s Lisa Bridges, Program Manager with the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention program, spoke to NBC 7’s Danny Freeman.

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$107,200 Raised!!!

Thank you to everyone who supported SAY San Diego’s Champions for Youth campaign! We raised $107,200 to support children and families in our programs, our most successful campaign ever! With your support, we more than doubled the number of donors from last year, which helped us earn $54,000 in bonus funds!

Love Your Heart

Love Your Heart!

In partnership with Live Well San Diego, SAY’s Healthy Start Military Family Resource Center provided free blood pressure screenings to the public on Love Your Heart Day, February 14. Love Your Heart is a one-day annual event where organizations from across the U.S. and Mexico join together to promote heart health.

SAY Partners with the San Diego Waves to Provide After-School Basketball Sessions

SAY San Diego is pleased to announce our partnership with the new San Diego Waves basketball team. Waves basketball players and members of their Dance Team are volunteering with SAY San Diego’s after-school programs to provide children with demonstrations, instruction, practice and fun. SAY San Diego’s President and CEO, Nancy Gannon Hornberger remarked, “It is a big thrill, quite honestly, for SAY San Diego youth, families and staff alike, to partner with San Diego Waves! The Waves role models, who have such a strong commitment to personal excellence and to community service, will have a huge positive impact on the thousands of young people who are part of the daily fabric of our programs.”

SAY San Diego and the Waves make a great team. The Waves mission is to create an uplifting professional sports environment that creates role models for children and provides affordable family fun with a positive community impact. Jen Moore, Vice President of Business Operations at Waves San Diego, commented, “SAY San Diego’s focus on engaging the community with a holistic approach that enriches youth, empowers individuals and families, and engages communities is a perfect fit for the vision of the San Diego Waves Basketball team.”

The San Diego Waves are a new team in The Basketball League (TBL). The team holds the following core values: Mutual respect; a commitment to excellence, innovation, integrity and quality in everything they do; and a culture of hard work, character, teamwork, integrity, and above all, community. The team embodies these core values by building community relationships through support of local charities and causes. The players and dancers spend a significant amount of time volunteering in San Diego County. They have worked with woman’s shelters; supported toy drives; participated in charity auctions; and ran a basketball clinic for homeless men in recovery. Now they are volunteering on multiple days per week to provide support to children in SAY San Diego after-school programs!

The San Diego Waves love to involve their fans in the game experience as active participants, not merely spectators. If you would like to attend a game, note that the San Diego Waves offer all SAY San Diego families free children’s tickets with an adult ticket purchase. Use the promo code “SAY” online or at the door. https://www.sandiegowavesbasketball.com/single-game-tickets/

SAY San Diego has a Bright Forecast for 2019!

By Nancy Gannon Hornberger, CEO

We are pleased to welcome clients and community partners to our new main office at 4775 Viewridge, in Kearny Mesa. We have designed meeting spaces with community partners in mind and hope that many groups and organizations will use them. Please also stay tuned for an open house in the coming weeks!

In collaboration with San Diego County Probation Department, the San Diego County District Attorney has provided new support to SAY San Diego to expand our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Program. This program is designed to engage and support adults who have committed misdemeanors to heal trauma, set and act upon goals, and build communication and relationship skills. Once completed, clients are eligible to have their court cases dismissed. As a result of this expanding partnership, SAY will grow its already robust CBT program, to serve approximately 1,400 more participants, countywide.

Many thanks to Country Friends for recent support of our Bridges to Success fund, which bridges gaps and meets urgent needs by providing emergency funds for our clients and families who experience financial challenges.

The turning of each year brings an opportunity to once again say THANK YOU, and to invite your ideas and involvement in the new year! Best wishes for 2019.

Peer Support and Mentorship

By Julia Duggs
UCSD REAL Collective, Student Coordinator & Mentor

SAY San Diego is pleased to partner with the R.E.A.L. Collective at O’Farrell Charter School’s Family Support Services (FSS). The R.E.A.L. Collective—which stands for Relationships, Education, Agency, and Leadership—aims to support O’Farrell youth with the help of UC San Diego mentors in an after-school peer support group. O’Farrell and UCSD students meet as a group once a week to participate in fun, yet challenging community-building and social-emotional learning activities. The R.E.A.L. Collective is a space for students to express themselves, find community, grow as critical thinkers, and transform into active members of their communities.

As a new program to O’Farrell, the first semester of activities placed emphasis on cultivating positive mentor-mentee relationships to allow youth self-expression to flourish. Some of the students’ favorite activities were playing basketball with their mentors, creating experimental slime, and designing ugly Christmas sweaters. In December, the R.E.A.L. Collective had the opportunity to take a field trip to the Birch Aquarium. The students explored the world of marine biology by trying on cold water immersion suits from scientific expeditions. With the guidance of Birch volunteers, the students were able to closely discover marine life, like sea anemones and sea cucumbers, in the aquarium’s tide pools.

As the R.E.A.L. Collective transitions into the New Year, UCSD mentors will begin to implement strategies for advancing O’Farrell students’ academic performance, volunteer experiences, and college/career interests. The R.E.A.L. Collective also looks forward to fostering a stronger support network among the students’ families.

A Note from a SAY Youth

“You’ve made these hard times easier for me and my family.”

Every holiday season, SAY receives countless notes from families thanking our Holiday Hopes program supporters. Some of the messages are a mix of drawings and simple words from children just learning to write. Some are from parents struggling to put into words how the kindness of strangers has made a difference. Some are like the note below, written last week by David, a youth who is old enough to understand that his family lives in poverty and wise enough to understand what SAY support means to his family.

SAY helps thousands of youth like David every day. Whether it’s a gift for the holidays or support for our work throughout the year, your donations make a difference. Beyond the financial impact of your contribution, your gift is also a reminder to kids like David that they are not alone.

If you have already contributed to help people like David and his family, thank you very much for your support. If you are considering an end-of-year gift, please donate to SAY through our Champions for Youth campaign. Farmers Insurance and The Century Club of San Diego will automatically add to your donation. It’s the best way to give to SAY now through January 27, 2019.

CLICK HERE to donate to SAY through Champions for Youth.

Shoes for Jessica

Bringing Joy to the Holiday Season

 

These shoes belong to a wonderful 5-year-old girl named Jessica, who loves to draw and dance. These shoes are the only pair she has worn since school started this fall. Jessica lives with her recently divorced father, who arrives diligently after work every day to pick her up from the SAY after school program. When SAY staff noticed Jessica taking leftover snack-time food home, they began working with the school to offer the father support. They continually tried to open the door for a conversation, but the father is a man of few words and desperate to provide for his daughter on his own. Last week, the father realized he could not do everything by himself. “I need help,” he said very quietly and simply to the SAY school site leader. He asked for food, shoes, and winter clothing for his daughter.

Thanks to the generous supporters of SAY’s Holiday Hopes program, our staff was able to respond immediately. This holiday season, Jessica will have food, clothing, and a new pair of shoes. Although Jessica’s father never asked for toys, SAY’s donors enabled us to give him gift cards to make the holiday season extra special for Jessica this year. He was overcome with emotion when he realized that he would have this opportunity to bring comfort and joy to his daughter.

So, as you celebrate the holidays with your loved ones this year, please take a moment to imagine the squeals of joy from little Jessica when her father surprises her with gifts she never expected. Imagine her pulling on her new socks and shoes, donning her new jacket, and dancing outside for everyone to see. And if you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ll be able to picture the tears in her quiet dad’s eyes, too.

Thank you very much for making a difference for Jessica and hundreds more just like her.

Warm wishes and Happy Holidays from all of us at SAY San Diego!

P.S. A gift of $10 can change a person’s world. It provided little Jessica with a new pair of shoes! If you are considering a gift to SAY San Diego to help people like Jessica over the holidays and beyond, please donate through our Champions for Youth campaign. Farmers Insurance will add to any gift of $10 or more through this campaign now through January 27, 2019! It’s the best way to donate to SAY and 100% of your charitable gift goes to SAY!

CLICK HERE to donate to SAY through Champions for Youth.