The impact of addiction is the subject of two plays that will be performed by San Diego State University theatre students Thursday through Sunday.
One of the plays, “Finding Our Way,” was written by inmates at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. The inmates are in the Out of the Yard program, which is facilitated by the Playwrights Project.
The play is a series of reflections along the path of addiction.
The second play, “Other People’s Kids,” is about four youth who try meth.
The executive director of the Playwrights Project, Cecelia Kouma, joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to discuss how the plays came to fruition.
The words that rang out over a brooding blues-guitar riff at the Horton Grand Theatre on Sunday told a story of both struggle and resilience: “She ain’t seen peace for a while, but you can still see the sun in her smile.”
Those lyrics were from “Justine’s Peace,” a “spoken soul” piece by Kendrick Dial that was among 11 creative works unveiled at a free public showcase for Intrepid Theatre’s new program “Exiled Voices: The Refugee Art Experience.”
Struggle and resilience were common components in the real-life stories of the 13 students whose experiences were interpreted into art for the program, a partnership between Intrepid and SAY San Diego Crawford Community Connection.
The Crawford High students are all refugees; many of them had spent most of their lives in refugee camps before coming to San Diego, and some have been here only a matter of months.
For decades, San Diego County has been at the epicenter of a pervasive domestic methamphetamine industry. Although no longer regarded as the “meth capital of the United States,” San Diego remains on the front line of the meth epidemic.
The illegal stimulant has exacted a heavy toll on local residents: The San Diego County Medical Examiner‘s office reported 311 meth-related deaths in 2015. That’s the most meth-related deaths in county history.
Knowing people who have suffered from 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 meth addiction.
At SAY (Social Advocates for Youth) San Diego, we hold a vision of opportunity, equity, and well-being for all San Diegans. Our team takes a public-health-focused approach to raising awareness, increasing prevention, and reducing misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, through community collaboration and empowerment.
SAY San Diego’s commitment to collaboration inspires “Do Something About Meth,” our creative partnership with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California and the Playwrights Project. Together, we’ve commissioned, developed and produced “Other People’s Kids,” a play written by Mabelle Reynoso. “Other People’s Kids” tells the true stories of San Diegans caught up in the inter-generational web of meth addiction. With candor and empathy, the play examines the painful struggles of addiction while offering a message of hope.
by Robert Hall
Media Specialist at SAY San Diego’s North City Prevention Coalition
Do you watch those ripped-from-the-headlines TV dramas? “Breaking Bad” told the story of a big-time methamphetamine cooker and how his life was corrupted by his actions. Realistically, though, not too many of us can relate to the car chases, shootouts, and explosions that made “Breaking Bad” a success.
“Other People’s Kids,” however, tells stories that hit closer to home because it’s about how meth impacts real people and families. Mabelle Reynoso of the Playwrights Project developed the play based on stories of real San Diegans whose lives were touched by methamphetamine.
When Divine Ngabire thinks back on her first impressions of the United States, one image in particular seems to stick with her:
“The beautiful lights,” she says, recalling that moment three years ago when she arrived as a refugee from Mozambique. “I came here at nighttime, and we passed through downtown, and it was so beautiful.”
In her time at Crawford High in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood, Divine has cast more than a little illumination of her own. The senior serves as a translator for other students on campus, sings at campus events (“We Are the World” is a favorite) and is starting a new-arrivals club with some friends to help other refugees get settled in.
“That’s her nature — she helps out,” says Kathryn Cloward, a San Diego singer-songwriter who has come to know Divine well over the past month or so.
“She’s an amazing human being. But we wouldn’t know this if we didn’t get to hear her story.”
And telling that story — or singing it, actually — is just what Cloward plans to do. The musician is one of 12 San Diego artist-mentors who are partnering with Crawford students in Intrepid Theatre Co.’s innovative new project “Exiled Voices: The Refugee Art Experience.”
The idea behind the one-of-a-kind initiative, launched with SAY San Diego Crawford Community Connection, is for the artists — painters, poets, choreographers, actors and more — to first soak in all they can about the refugees and their journeys, literal and otherwise.
Round after round, Bob Steber showed up – as Swiss-watch steady as the bordering Pacific.
Since the moment the tournament now known as the Farmers Insurance Open blasted its first tee shot at Torrey Pines Golf Course in 1968, Steber has been there.
He found the paint-peeling rocket John Daly ricocheted off the stands on No. 18 under a small table at a merchandise tent. He stood sentry over Phil Mickelson’s ball as a national TV audience watched Lefty mop up a playoff win in 2001. He hovered just eight feet away as Craig Stadler infamously kneeled on a towel under a tree in 1987, leading to a disqualification unlike any other.
The 80-year-old volunteer will walk onto the course one more time, later this month, as part of the 1,000 living, breathing cogs that keep a tournament like the Farmers Insurance Open chugging.
Then Steber will step away from the event that began as the San Diego Open at the San Diego Country Club in 1952. He caddied at the tournament that year, by the way.
Steber is both walking historian and part of the history itself at the PGA Tour stop.
Chula Vista’s Bob Steber has volunteered at the Farmers Insurance Open each year since it moved to Torrey Pines Golf Course in 1968. As part of The Century Club’s Champions for Youth campaign, Bob is competing in the PGA Tour’s Volunteer Challenge. His charity of choice? SAY San Diego! If Bob collects the most votes by 11 a.m. on January 28, SAY will receive $10,000 in Steber’s name.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the holiday season is the increased attention and care that’s given to our communities, especially to those in need.
That’s why The O’Farrell Charter School is dedicated to giving back to the community – and to its families – in many ways.
“During the holiday season, reaching out and giving to others helps our students understand they’re part of a larger community,” said Anne Mathews, The O’Farrell Charter School’s principal. “They recognize that their acts of kindness help others.”
There are numerous ways in which OCS students can get involved with helping their community, from participating in the holiday canned food drive to buddying up with younger classmates to make gifts for family members.
Joe Buehrle, MSW, is Vice President of Organizational Planning at SAY (Social Advocates for Youth) San Diego. He has a myriad of experience working with diverse populations as a creative community organizer and social justice advocate. Joe Buehrle is interested in multi-sector approaches to advance collective impact strategies and bring sustainable social change.
Tell us about your path to management:
I landed in social work because I knew I wanted to work in human services and the versatility of the field provided me the comfort of knowing I would not be locked into just one type of work. I got my BSW and worked in foster home licensing for four years and then clinical case management for a year. When researching graduate programs, I knew that my long-term career goal was not to do one-on-one clinical work or therapy. I was interested in communities, community development and systems change issues. I applied and got accepted to the University of Michigan where they had a social systems emphasis which both deviated from the traditional management route and the clinical route, but, was on par with my interest in community development and community engagement. During my graduate program, I was part of the Community Based Initiative Fellowship that placed me in Detroit for my internship. There I worked in low income housing and resident engagement where I really loved the work that I did and learned a lot. After I finished my program, I moved to San Diego and served as the Director of the Military Family Resource Center at SAY San Diego for seven years. As Director, my time was split between coordinating the family center and being the facilitator to the military family collaborative, which brought together over 100 organizations that served the military and their family. A few months ago, I was offered the position I hold currently as Vice President of Organizational Planning for SAY San Diego. SAY San Diego is a comprehensive multi-service agency that serves infants through adults with various programs and support.
Whisknladle Hospitality Hosts “A Day of Giving” to Meet Urgent Human Needs!
SAY San Diego Named Beneficiary for November 15 Giving Event!
San Diego CA (October 24, 2016)—To kick off the holiday season, the well-known hometown San Diego restaurant group Whisknladle Hospitality is donating a day of earnings to 45-year-old hometown youth, family, and community service nonprofit SAY San Diego. 2016 marks the second year of the Whisknladle drive for SAY San Diego. In 2015, Whisknladle raised nearly $10,000 for SAY at the “Day of Giving” event. Arturo Kassel, Partner & Chief Executive Officer was delighted by the results in 2015 and hopes 2016 is an even bigger fundraiser for SAY. “We’re pleased and honored to be working once again with SAY San Diego for this year’s Day of Giving fundraiser. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us at Whisknladle Hospitality to give back to the community and support an organization that’s doing such incredible things in our community. There are a lot of families in San Diego County that benefit from the many services provided by SAY and we’re happy to help with their efforts in any way we can.”
In an effort to put the brakes on sobering statistics related to teenagers driving under the influence, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine will join forces with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) to reduce alcohol-impaired driving among San Diego youth ages 15 to 20…
…To further support teens in making the right choice about drinking and driving, SDPD and Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego will collaborate with UC San Diego School of Medicine to deliver sober driving education at local high schools and implement a social media campaign focusing on prevention and intervention strategies.