Today marks the first day the Junior League of San Diego (JLSD) joins The Little Black Dress Initiative(#TheLBDI) – a global mission to “Make Poverty Unfashionable.”
When we consider the symptoms of poverty – homelessness, unemployment, food insecurity and limited education – foster youth are disproportionately affected.
The Junior League of San Diego has a long-standing tradition supporting foster youth. Therefore, throughout this #TheLBDI week, February 6-10, 2017, our Junior League of San Diego members will wear one black dress for five days to spark a conversation about foster youth and how everyone can help break their cycle of poverty.
The Junior League of San Diego invites YOU to join the cause. Lend your voice to our mission to “Make Poverty Unfashionable.” When you see see your JLSD friend, neighbor, or colleague supporting The Little Black Dress Initiative this week, consider:
sharing your own experience with poverty, #TheLBDI #JLSDDoesLBD
sharing your efforts to help others overcome poverty, #TheLBDI #JLSDDoesLBD
sharing the name of a local organization working effectively to eliminate poverty in our community, #TheLBDI #JLSDDoesLBD
sharing your support of the Junior League of San Diego member’s commitment to “Making Poverty Unfashionable,” by donating to the Annual Fund. #TheLBDI #JLSDDoesLBD
Beach Bingo Bash was indeed an amazing bash! Thank you to everyone who donated and participated, and a big thank-you to our great host, Wonderland Ocean Pub. We raised over $8,000 for JLSD, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Take Wing, a program helping transition-age foster youth. Frankie V did an awesome job hosting for us; thank you so much! Again, we appreciate all those that participated and donated; the event was a great success!
Pull out those leis and Hawaiian shirts, get your stampers ready, and head to Wonderland Ocean Pub on January 29th at 7pm for Beach Bingo Bash!
Ticket prices are $25 per person, which includes admission and the first round of bingo (must be 21 years of age). There will be prizes for the winner of each round, great raffle giveaways, and a goods drive with proceeds benefitting the Junior League and our community partner, San Diego Youth Services, whose program called Take Wing provides transitional housing for at-risk and emancipated foster youth in San Diego.
Join us! Not only can you have a great time and support an amazing cause, you can conquer your friends at bingo at the same time! Purchase your tickets here!
We are so proud that JLSD’s Mentoring Program has paired 14 transition-aged youth, or TAY, with dedicated JLSD members in its inaugural year. Mentor/mentee pairs communicated regularly, met one-on-one at least once monthly, and participated in a monthly group activity. The program is rapidly growing as it is publicized and recognized by members of the TAY community who are eager to participate.
On April 18, 2014, the Mentoring Program received San Diego Family and Youth Roundtable’s Gallant Knight Award from the San Diego Family and Youth Roundtable, which is awarded to an organization that valiantly advocates for those members of the community who cannot advocate effectively for themselves. JLSD’s Mentoring Program was among winners that included some of San Diego’s most well known philanthropists.
We should all feel very proud of TAY and the work JLSD is doing in our community. Congratulations to all TAY participants and supporters!
*Pictured: The amazing Emily Green and her former student, Luis Porraz, who recited an original poem as part of the acceptance speech. Great job, Luis!!
The Daisy and Tulip Provisional Members from the La Jolla and Pacific Beach areas successfully completed their first event with the Junior League of San Diego, with “Evening with the Stars” on March 2, 2014. A red carpet affair held at BarWest in Pacific Beach, guests were treated to a premium viewing experience of the 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony.*
Benefits went to the Mira Costa Junior College’s Resources Assistance for Former Foster Youth (RAFFY) program. VIP tables had hosted Freixenet Carta Nevada champagne, ceviche from the top-rated seafood on Yelp.com, Oscar’s Mexican Food, delicious homemade mini cupcakes, and signature themed cocktails. They had a fun twist on the raffle, where guests could put their raffle tickets in one of nine boxes corresponding to each of the Best Picture nominees. At the end of the night, after “12 Years a Slave” won, only that box was used to draw the winner’s ticket for the grand prize–VIP table service at BarWest and a 1-night stay at the Omni Hotel downtown!
Jaymie Gonzaga, a guidance counselor from Mira Costa College, was the guest speaker. He gave a poignant and eloquent speech about the former foster youth in his program, rallying everyone in the house around his cause. These ladies did a great job not only of raising funds, but also of raising awareness about the Junior League of San Diego’s focus area.
*This event not affiliated with or sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Many JLSD leaders recently received valuable information on Transitional Age Youth (TAY) from two separate, yet interrelated, community needs assessment meetings. More than 30 local providers of TAY services attended the League’s Community Partners Breakfast held January 23.
Each organization described their TAY program as providing assistance with basic living skills to assist the vulnerable population of Transitional Age Youth, ages 13-27. All efforts were in conjunction with AB12, a relatively new legislation, which provides assistance to Transitional Age Youth until age 21 as opposed to the typical age of 18. Many identified areas of opportunity within those ages 16-18 consisted of increasing self sufficiency via: improving independent living and social skills, problem solving, financial management, education and professional skills, behavioral health resources, employment, transportation, and legal assistance. Similar gaps were found in discussing the 18-21 age group, emphasizing early transition before the 21st birthday when many benefits expire. Differences in chronological vs. emotional age in maturity levels in meeting this young adult population’s needs were addressed. Attendees were very receptive to JLSD’s commitment to serving transition age foster youth and many connections were made!
A second event at Promises2Kids (P2K) provided insight to available resources, gaps in services, and areas of opportunity in these areas. Of the 26 attendees, (eight college & eighteen high school students), 10 work part-time, 19 attend school full-time, with an average grade point of 3.22. Many volunteer in the community and seek professional degrees or graduate degrees. Many stated financial, health, emotional support, time constraints, and lack of mentors as current stressors in their lives with this fear continuing after transitioning. Earlier and easier access to services and collaboration via one central repository was listed as a need in improving the overall transition process. Many students credited their support system (CASAs, P2K, counselors, ROTC, and Guardian Scholars) while others desired a stronger connection with these types of services. With collaboration of community services central to the discussion, students also shared they are successful members of the community despite the stigma often associated with being labeled foster age youth. “We don’t need pity and merely want to be accepted for what we can offer society as young professionals if given the proper resources”.
Interested in learning more about the Junior League’s work with transition age foster youth? Consider joining the Community Council next year! Contact the Community Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JLSD Advocacy Committee holds successful community impact forum addressing the needs and challenges of transition-age foster youth. From legislation to community involvement – the advocacy committee is hitting the ground running for foster youth.
By: Maggie Sayre
Junior Delegate, State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC)
Advocacy Committee Member
Diving in to our focus area early in the league year! The advocacy committee held an informative and motivating community impact forum urging people to get involved in helping transition-age foster youth. Our committee is working hard with community leaders to help change the dynamic of the foster youth stigma. We want to have positive stories that motivate community involvement and encourage support at all levels. This forum was a great start in achieving that goal.
The event was comprised of a welcome message by our JLSD President, Alison Bushan, a screening of the documentary ‘Aging Out – Case Closed’ following the life of a youth aging out of the foster system in New York, followed by four panelists speaking to the audience and participating in a Q&A session. Melanie Delgado (Children’s Advocacy Institute), Daphnie Phung (Californians against Slavery Research and Education), Cailin Freeman (VOICES For Children) and Noreen Harmelink (San Diego County Foster Youth Mentor Program).
The takeaway: there is a way that every single one of us can be directly involved in this issue! Whether it is writing your legislators, mentoring a foster youth, becoming a CASA (court appointed special advocate), supporting a family who fosters or looking into fostering a youth yourself – there is a level for everyone to engage. We need to focus on the “F” word. FAMILY. All of these youth deserve one, and we can help redefine what that word means.
Keep on the lookout for future advocacy events and trainings, and if you have any questions on what you can be doing, don’t hesitate to reach out to the advocacy committee or State Public Affairs Committee Delegates (SPAC). We will be holding a ‘Libations and Legislation’ training and will be active and out in the community for Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January) – stay tuned!