Helping Kids to Spring Forward—Our Afterschool Advantage!

nancyafterschoolblogSAY San Diego’s commitment to enriching the lives of children and youth, supporting their healthy development, and making life a bit easier for working families includes our major extended-learning programs before and after school. All facts point to the resulting afterschool advantage. Effective afterschool programs, like ours, boost academic performance, particularly in the key areas of reading and math. They also improve attendance, school engagement, personal aspirations, and positive health outcomes—including improved diet and exercise habits, healthy peer relationships, graduating high school, and attending post-secondary school—while reducing risk factors.[i]

Tips for Parents: Your Role in School Success

By Donna Wilson, Child & Youth Development Program Supervisor, with special thanks to teacher Susan Bulloch and retired teacher Donna Moyer for their contributions.

Studies show that children’s academic achievement is directly influenced by their parents’ involvement in their education. Learn how you can bolster your student for success.

A Teacher’s Expectation of Parents

Students, teachers, and parents all share responsibility in the education of a child. As a parent, here’s a minimum level of involvement most teachers expect:

Prevention is at the Heart of SAY San Diego’s Approach

heartsPrevention is truly at the heart of SAY San Diego’s approach—and has always been. Notably, the science of prevention has advanced greatly over the years, in our area of social services, just as it has in public health and medicine. One area of emphasis has been reproductive health. Reproductive health is not only a critically important area of well-being for youth, it is one where evidence-based prevention efforts have led our county to join the nation in achieving historically low rates of teen pregnancy. Not long ago, San Diego had teen pregnancy rates that were 72–74 out of every 1000 births, now we are 22 out of every 1000 births—the lowest rate on record (CDC, 2016).

5 Tips for a Healthy, Loving Relationship

holdinghandsBy Raul Roman, SAY San Diego Case Manager and Certified Trainer, World Class Relationships Curriculum

Love in a relationship cannot flourish without a strong foundation. Empathy, authenticity, and acceptance are all traits that support healthy relationships. Here are 5 tips to keep the love alive:

  1. Communication: This is key in any relationship, especially when first engaging in a partnership. Talk about what’s important to you and how you’re feeling.
  1. Goals: Set shared and agreed-upon goals. Focus on things you want to accomplish together and independently. For example, a shared goal would be to schedule more date nights, and an independent goal might be to learn a new skill.
  1. Support: Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader. Back his/her dreams and personal goals. For instance, if your partner really wants to continue school, be encouraging.
  1. Initiative: Do not rely on your partner or others to meet your needs. Assume responsibility for your own needs. No blaming or guilt trips. For example, if you’d like your partner to rub your shoulders, let him/her know.
  1. Re-kindle: If you feel you have reached a plateau or rut, go back to what worked during your honeymoon phase. Continue to find ways to keep the flame burning. Maybe visit a favorite restaurant you used to love, or watch a favorite movie together.

A (Too-Often-Silent) Epidemic in Need of Everyone’s Attention

In a KPBS article, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, the county’s chief deputy medical examiner, said his office sees meth-related deaths almost every day. He reported a dramatic increase in methamphetamine-related deaths—more than the flu and homicides combined. Here in San Diego the meth epidemic is especially acute. Knowing people who have suffered meth addiction and death is part of my personal and professional experience. I have friends and colleagues who have lost loved ones—including teenagers—to meth, or have lost children, spouses, and friends to the justice system because of the ravages of addiction. At SAY San Diego, we hold a vision of opportunity, equity, and well-being for all San Diegans, and we have a talented team that takes a public health approach to raising awareness, increasing prevention, and reducing misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, through community empowerment, collaboration, and structural changes that include better practices, systems, and policies.

A reading of Other People's Kids. Photo by William Parno
A reading of Other People’s Kids. Photo by William Perno

In partnership with U.S. Attorney for Southern California Laura Duffy, the Playwrights Project, and many others we’ve taken one especially creative approach to increasing awareness of this issue in our community. Other People’s Kids is a play we’ve collectively commissioned, developed, and produced that retraces the tragic and complicated experiences of individuals, children, teens, parents, families, and entire communities when meth use and addiction become part of everyday life, and which offers hope and insight for healing. We are very grateful to all of our partners, including the County Probation Department, Second Chance, and the McAlister Institute, as well as many brave and generous individuals who shared their life stories to inform this production.

Don’t miss out! This moving and informative play will be performed at 7 p.m., March 16-18 at San Diego State University’s Experimental Theatre. Performances will also feature Finding Our Way, a play about recovery written by inmates at Donovan Correctional Facility.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

…to Say Thank You, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Arigato, Xiexie, Danke, and Spasibo!

Holiday Card2016 Annual Report: Each year, in late fall, we take stock of SAY San Diego’s accomplishments as an agency and document them in an annual report of our progress. 2016 was a meaningful and exciting year at SAY San Diego. Our 45th! We are truly indebted to our terrific workforce, exceptional volunteers, and many talented and generous community partners and donors, all of whom fuel our work. Never doubt your critical importance. For a 36-year-old mother, SAY’s counseling staff recently helped her to change her life—making the difference between living in continual fear of domestic abuse; unable to keep her children safe, and finding a safe pathway forward, with her family intact, healthy and thriving. Please explore the multiple approaches and impacts SAY advances to save and improve lives in our 2016 Annual Report.

10 Things To Know About Synthetic Drugs

Retired San Diego County Deputy Sheriff and SAY San Diego Prevention Specialist William Perno is a subject-matter expert on synthetic drugs. Mr. Perno has testified in support of synthetic drug legislation at the California State Assembly and provided trainings to community groups, school districts, students, teachers, parents, health care and prevention providers, drug-free community coalitions, policy makers and law enforcement throughout California. Mr. Perno was recently recognized by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, as a key educator and an activist who assisted in the creation of the new synthetic drug ordinance in San Diego. 

Serving Those Who Serve Our Nation

A message from President & CEO Nancy Gannon Hornberger

Soldier Dad with Two KidsVeterans Day, November 11, commemorates the signing of the armistice ending WWI, and honors the bravery and service of all Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans Day also gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we’re now doing and can do even better to serve those who serve our nation. San Diego County has one of the nation’s largest populations of active duty, transitioning and Veteran military members and their families in the country.

At SAY San Diego, we have a dedicated focus on serving military families who, like service members, devote themselves to the mission of serving and supporting everyone else and our nation. Military families are resilient, have extraordinary can-do attitude, respond optimistically to adversity and the unexpected, and often emerge strengthened, more resourceful and more confident. Yet, challenges of stress, trauma, social isolation and economic insecurity experienced by military families are daunting—far beyond the challenges faced by non-military families.

Healthy Boundaries Testimonial

Mother and childIn honor of Domestic Violence Month, I’d like to give thanks to SAY San Diego for giving me the opportunity to partake in the treatment of learning healthy boundaries with Andria (my instructor). A lot of us grow up with domestic violence and then become a part of domestic violence as adults. We go from being the children of victims to the person being assaulted. And although the easy thing to say is “just get out,” our childhood trauma binds us to a life that we are accustomed to. The lack of confidence and self-worth crushes our spirit.

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