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.
For more information, please contact Chris Jewell, VP of Child and Youth Development:
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.
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!
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.