Community Partner Spotlight: Walden Family Services

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JLSD is a proud partner of Walden Family Services.  A nationally-recognized foster care, adoption, and youth services agency that shares Henry David Thoreau’s vision for personal growth, our individual rights and responsibilities as members of a community, and a life that celebrates the richness of natural diversity.

Their staff of highly trained social work professionals and licensed therapists supports birth, foster and adoptive families and the community in caring for more than 265 children and youth—many who have physical or developmental disabilities, behavioral or mental health challenges, who identify as LGBTQ, or who are part of large sibling groups. Preparing families to care for children with special health care needs or disabilities allows kids to grow up in families, rather than in hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, or group homes and congregate care facilities. Most important, living with a family helps children and youth build relationships, which are the foundation for learning, social-emotional well-being, and successful, fulfilling lives.

Headquartered in San Diego County, Walden Family Services operates district offices throughout Southern California. Walden holds accreditations from a number of regional and national organizations, including the California Alliance of Child and Family ServicesCARF and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children—All Families initiative. Walden staff also serve on the Cultural Competency Committee of the national Foster Family-Based Treatment Association.

Walden Family Services has been helping foster children and adoptive families throughout Southern California for 41 years.  To learn even more about this incredible community partner, click here.

Solutions Summit 2017

What is the Junior League’s Solution Summit? – Members of the Junior League of San Diego and community partners continuously working toward improving the lives of Transition-Age Foster Youth (TAY) in San Diego County.

image4[1] Speakers: Dairrick Hodges, Judge Sharon Kalemkiarian, Veronica Castillo (Photo: Eric Gonzales Photography)

 

This year’s Solutions Summit, held at the San Diego Central Library on March 22 and 23, focused primarily on establishing potential solutions to solve TAY issues related to 3 issues: (1) pregnancy and prevention, (2) housing, and (3) sexual exploitation. The themes were determined by a steering committee and decided on by Just in Time’s LEAP Council, as this year’s Solutions Summit team hoped to add more of a TAY voice to the event.

Over 60 community partners, each with a TAY connection, participated in this year’s event and lent themselves to the following potential initiatives:

  1. Developing an app that helps with decision making to prevent human trafficking
  2. Creating a video series to teach TAY parenting skills and relationship norms
  3. Two new conferences for TAY and their supporters – one including resources related to housing, and the other focused on pregnancy prevention.

All potential outcomes will be reviewed by the Junior League to determine whether TAY Task Forces will be able to assist in implementing the initiatives.

image2[1]Speaker: Councilwoman Lorie Zapf

 

Community Partner Spotlight: Voices for Children

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JLSD is a proud partner of Voices for Children.  They believe every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and to that end, will review and monitor every court file in the system, provide a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to every child in the foster care system who needs one, and advocate to improve the lives of foster children.

Voices for Children’s 1,500 CASA volunteers come from every ethnicity, background, income level, age, and profession. They pass several levels of screenings and interviews, and pass our rigorous training program of 35+ hours. Being a CASA is an extraordinary responsibility, not something suited to everyone. And those who do qualify are the elite and the best; one child described them as “big brothers with super powers.” CASAs who reported their time last year have donated approximately 64,000 hours. According to Independent Sector, the leadership network for America’s charitable and philanthropic sector, this contributed time could be valued at nearly $1.7 million.

Their volunteers perform miracles, often changing lives and bringing joy to their case children, yet also face anger, rejection, and mistrust from children who have been betrayed by adults. The stakes are very high for these children, yet studies show that CASA volunteers make a significant difference in the lives of their children.

Learn more about this incredible community partner here.

Community Partners Breakfast

The Junior League of San Diego’s Community Outreach Council hosted the 5th Annual Community Partners Breakfast on February 16th at the downtown Girl Scouts Headquarters. This collaboration of JLSD TAY advocates and community leaders enjoyed a buffet breakfast while discussing future plans for JLSD’s upcoming Solution Summit 22 – 23 March 2017 , and on-going efforts and outcomes by our TAY Task Forces.
Laura Tancredi-Baese, CEO of Home-Start, and Susie Terry, Project Specialist with the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program and Homeless Education Services, San Diego County Office of Education, each spoke about TAY and how housing policies impact their success and growth.

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Laura Tancredi-Baese of Home Start.

Brand of Brothers Event Huge Success

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On February 23rd the Junior League of San Diego hosted the very first Brand of Brothers at The Waterfront Park for TAY Men in our community:

· Over 70 young TAY men attended the event
· They were entertained by  Gill SOTU
· They were inspired by Dairrick Hodges
· They got pampered with free haircuts and hygiene kit backpacks
· They got professional and casual clothing
· They received services and counseling in career, mental health, sex/family planning, housing

The event was a big success and we couldn’t have done it without our community partners: Think DignityUrban Street AngelsSea World San DiegoSan Diego Urban Beats, SDYS Outreach, Scissorhandz Barbershop – Inside Famart, Project Aware, County of San Diego Parks and Recreation, Barrios Tacos, Churros “El Tigre”Transit San Diego

 

 

First Annual Brand of Brothers Event

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Did you know that 52% of California’s male inmates have been in the foster system? Unfortunately, this is no coincidence. At age 18, foster youth are exited from the foster system, often with little to no monetary or familial support. Sadly, many resort to illegal measures in order to survive. Fortunately, in San Diego there are organizations who are teaching these young men to self-advocate and be successful, contributing members to our city.

In order to strengthen these efforts, The Junior League of San Diego, along with community partners, have developed the Brand of Brothers resource event where young men will “shop” for suits and interview clothing, receive haircuts, get legal advice, and enjoy a supportive and encouraging environment.

The Making of Brand of Brothers

During a previous JLSD Solutions Summit, a Community Partner Vina Sandal, a social worker at San Diego County Health and Human Services, brought forth the idea that JLSD should collaboratively host a wellness event geared towards transition aged youth (TAY) males. Until now, there has not been a male-only wellness event for transition aged youth. The event encompasses nearly all of the TAY Task Force concepts, which are the outcomes and road maps created at Solutions Summit. These include men’s mental health, legal aid, health services, career preparedness, family planning, and financial literacy.

As soon as JLSD took the lead on accepting the opportunity to host Brand of Brothers, Vanessa Arteaga, mental health provider and Director at TAY Academy and Dairrick Hodges, social worker at The SOULcial Worker and Director at Urban Beats jumped on board.

Suit Up for Success

On February 23rd from 2:00-5:30 PM, JLSD will host the very first Brand of Brothers at The Waterfront Park. One hundred fifty male transition aged youth will come together to be outfitted and styled with free business attire, receive haircuts, lunch, entertainment by Gill Soto, health and wellness tips, family planning information, and legal resources.

 

 

Community Partner Spotlight: Home Start’s Maternity Shelter Program

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JLSD is a proud partner of Home Start’s Maternity Shelter Program (MSP).  This program provides safe, secure and supportive housing with intensive case management services for pregnant and parenting young women who are between 18 and 24 years old, and their dependent children. MSP assists these young women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, develop the skills necessary to live independently while providing a safe and stable home for themselves and their children.

Founded in 2009, as part of a pilot program funded by The United Way, this unique program was created as a response to the growing demand for housing for young mothers who were homeless.  Although called a shelter, this program does not provide emergency housing. Instead they take a comprehensive approach toward bolstering these mother’s parenting and self-sufficiency skills so they can parent safely and independently after living in their program for 18-24 months. JLSD and the Impact Committee provide dinner to the 20 residents, five times a year, in a family style setting.

Learn more about The Maternity Shelter Program here.