Growing Problem: Teens turn to flower seeds to score dangerous high

By Richard Allyn, Reporter

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – It’s a growing problem throughout parts of the nation – teens turning to common plant seeds as a type of party drug to score a cheap but risky high.

Authorities throughout the country and even Canada are warning that teens are using easily accessible plant seeds, including Blue Morning Glory, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Yellow Jasmine, Foxwood, Oleander and others, to get an inexpensive high – but one that could be costly to the user’s health. Teens are ingesting the seeds by either swallowing them whole or crushing them to produce a tea…

Former San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy William Perno now works as a drug prevention specialist for the non-profit SAY San Diego.

“What parents need to know is that the landscape has completely changed from when they were teens themselves. What I would say to parents is to have that conversation with your child,” said Perno.

“Death does not discriminate. Death does not care what age you are, what gender, what race. You make that wrong choice – it can be fatal,” he said.

For more information on local drug prevention resources, visit the San Diego Drug Prevention Resources website.

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SAY San Diego Announces its Annual Fundraiser­, Play 4 SAY!


Contact: Jessica Gonzales, Communications Manager
(858) 715-2484 desk, (619) 665-1894 mobile,

“Get in the Game” for Kids and Families!

SAN DIEGO, Liberty Station (May 22, 2017) – A leading youth, family, and community strengthening nonprofit, SAY San Diego officially announces its summer date for its 5th annual lawn games fundraiser, Play 4 SAY! It’s fun that directly supports kids and families!

On Thursday, July 27, from 5–7:30 p.m., Play 4 SAY will bring business professionals and community leaders together for an evening of grown-up, lawn game fun at Liberty Station’s Ingram Plaza, emceed by media sponsor 10 News. Approximately 70 teams of three people will compete in rounds of popular lawn games including bocce ball, cornhole, and ladder golf provided by game sponsor The evening will end with finalists vying for first place through a friendly giant tumble tower playoff. Players and non-playing guests alike are invited to enjoy an array of tasty refreshments, compliments of local restaurants and vendors. More than 20 auction packages offer even more ways to win.

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How Parents Can Prevent Underage Drinking

By Robert Hall
Media Specialist at SAY San Diego North City Prevention Coalition

Emily Corrow, Natalie English and MADD’s Cristi Walker talking about underage drinking prevention on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego

Thanks to KUSI TV, SAY San Diego Elevated gave thousands of San Diego parents a nudge to talk to their kids about alcohol.

“When we shout and we slam our doors and blast loud music it sounds like we don’t listen, but we do,” student Emily Corrow told KUSI’S Lisa Remillard. “Parents are a big influence on our lives.”

“Three out of four teens do listen to their parents when it comes to talking about alcohol,” explained fellow teen Natalie English. “For my parents, it was really important that I knew the consequences and what could happen in my life if I didn’t listen to them.”

Corrow and English are members of SAY San Diego Elevated at Serra High School. They appeared on KUSI’s “Good Morning San Diego” along with Cristi Walker from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  The interview on April 21 was the culmination of MADD San Diego’s Powertalk 21 campaign.

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Celebrate Earth Day by Opening the Outdoors

Thank you to the San Diego Foundation for choosing SAY San Diego as one of its Opening the Outdoors Program grantees! This year, 31 nonprofits, including SAY San Diego, will collaborate to leave a lasting impact in the region by:

  • Engaging more than 10,000 youth
  • Working alongside more than 2,000 volunteers
  • Improving 5,000 acres of natural space
  • Installing 2,000 native plants across the region
  • Building and enhancing 7 miles of trail systems

“SAY San Diego will provide unique experiences for underserved youth in central and southeast San Diego by connecting the environment with the arts. Students will become outdoor advocates and learn how to use photography to document and raise awareness about the importance of topics, such as conservation and environmental justice. The project will culminate in a community-wide exhibition where 100 students will present their visual findings to local leaders and promote civic engagement of environmental challenges.”

Read the Complete Article on The San Diego Foundation website

New VP of Child and Youth Development

We are very pleased to announce that Christine Jewell has been selected as the new Vice President for the Child and Youth Development Unit at SAY San Diego. Chris will step up in May as her long-time colleague, supervisor, and mentor, Sandy Johnson, retires at the end of April. Chris has most recently served as Senior Director for Child and Youth Development with a dedicated and exemplary track record of 30 years with the unit. She began her career with SAY in 1987 following her service as a Physical Education and Health Education Teacher. Congratulations Chris!

Inmates At Donovan Prison Write About Addiction In New Play

By Maureen Cavanaugh, Brooke Ruth

Credit: courtest of Cecilia Kouma. San Diego State University theatre students are pictured rehearsing.

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.

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Intrepid Theatre showcases young refugees’ stories

From the San Diego Union-Tribune
By James Hebert

refugeestories20170315The 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.

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New Play Contains Powerful Message about Meth Addiction in San Diego

By Nancy Gannon Hornberger

other-peoples-kids-640x360For 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.

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Other People’s Kids

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.

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Intrepid Theatre turns refugees’ stories into art

From the San Diego Union-Tribune
By James Hebert

Hodman Hassan shares a laugh with theater artist Monique Gaffney at Crawford High. (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)
Hodman Hassan shares a laugh with theater artist Monique Gaffney at Crawford High. (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

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.

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