SAY was recognized by the San Diego County Office of Education for its dedication to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEAM) education in our after school programs. Thank you to SAY’s Donna Wilson, Hope Wolfe, Marissa Lujan, and all of the STEAM leaders for your hard work and commitment to this important initiative! Congrats!
Angie works as a Case Manager at SAY San Diego’s Crawford Community Connection (CCC), a school-based family resource center located on the campus of Crawford High School in Mid City. Some of Angie’s many responsibilities include matching students and families within the Crawford community with the services they need, organizing the yearly Prom Drive and New Arrival Scholarship events, and overseeing on-campus youth leadership programs.
Though Angie is relatively new to SAY’s staff team, she’s a veteran of the organization. While attending Hoover High School in City Heights, Angie was a student leader with SAY’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention program. She spent all four years in high school helping to educate and engage the community about drug and alcohol abuse prevention through town halls, media events, City Council meetings, and other initiatives. Angie says her experience with the youth leadership program helped prepare her for the future. “By the 10th grade I was learning public speaking skills, how to write a media release, and how to interact with people from all facets of life. Those skills helped me stand out in college applications.”
Angie was the first person from her family to attend college. While at UCSD, she remained dedicated to public service, acting as a success coach and mentor to other first-generation college students. After graduation, Angie took an office job where she had limited interaction with others. It was during this time that she recognized how much she enjoys helping others and engaging with the community – a realization that brought her back to SAY and the City Heights community.
Angie is thankful to be back living and working in the community she grew up in. “I love this area and can resonate with the population. I’ve been in their shoes. I tell students regardless of what you are going through now, you’re going to be ok.” One of her fondest moments was the time she was able to be a sounding board to a female Crawford student who just needed an adult female to talk to; a woman who would listen without judgement. “There seems to be a need for female mentors who can lend an ear, and I’m happy to be there for students who want to be heard.”
SAY San Diego is proud to have people like Angie on our team. She is a model for how SAY’s youth leadership opportunities can benefit both the student and those they engage with later on. She is just one example of the many staff members who provide critical support to clients and community members who need it most.
SAY San Diego is deeply grateful to have benefited from the insights and hard work of our two Board Fellows, Alicia Arambula, SDSU MSW candidate, and Tina Brilli, SDSU MBA candidate. They provided us with research, analysis, and recommendations for our organizational priority of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. It was SAY’s second year participating in this excellent program, organized and implemented by the Social Policy Institute at SDSU School of Social Work, which matches second year graduate students with nonprofits.
Bob Waller loves to teach. That’s why after a 39-year career in the business world, followed by a second career teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), Bob is only semi-retired. He still teaches ESL part time and also volunteers twice a week as a homework helper at one of SAY San Diego’s after school programs. Bob says, “I keep volunteering because of the students. They are so smart and fun to be around. I love that they treat each other equally and don’t see differences. It’s refreshing.”
Bob could easily kick up his feet and relax in the afternoons, but instead he chooses to spend every Tuesday and Thursday helping kids in SAY’s after school program complete their homework. While he admits he’s not an expert in New Math, he’s always available to provide much needed homework help to any child who needs or wants it. It’s not uncommon to see several kids rush over to him at study time, which makes him feel appreciated. And he’s making a difference.
Student success stories motivate Bob to keep volunteering. He remembers one student a few years ago who was always struggling in school and had disciplinary issues. Bob started working with the student regularly and helped focus her energy on school work. It didn’t take long for the student to become more interested in her homework than acting out. Currently, Bob is helping a second grader catch up to his peers. “The kids are very bright. Sometimes they just get a little behind. It feels good when I can help bring them back into the fold.”
Beyond loving his volunteer experience, Bob enjoys being part of SAY San Diego and is a fan of the staff. “I have nothing but good things to say about everyone that I’ve worked with. SAY is a very well-run organization and a nice place to be two days a week.”
With nearly 4,000 students in SAY San Diego’s before and after school programs, we are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers like Bob who help our kids succeed every day.
To celebrate Month of the Military Child, SAY’s Healthy Start Military Family Resource Center worked with Grandma Sparky to provide a Blue Ribbon Ceremony honoring students at a local elementary school comprised of 95% military children. Grandma Sparky motivates youth to understand that they make a difference in their community and pushes them to reach their dreams.
SAY San Diego has begun a new partnership with the San Diego Family Justice Center (FJC) this month. The FJC, operated by the San Diego City Attorney’s office, provides an array of needed support services for victims and survivors of family violence. SAY’s child development team will assist with their on-site Child Watch, and as a referral resource for their clients. During National Child Abuse Prevention month, we are pleased to further expand this central focus of SAY’s mission, in the area of child well-being, child abuse prevention, and family strengthening.
Thank you to the San Diego County Employees’ Charitable Organization (CECO) for awarding a $500 grant to equip the parent-infant room at SAY San Diego’s Early Childhood Center! SAY is grateful to CECO’s President Mavette Trinidad Sadile, and the countless County employees who make our work possible!
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.
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.