SAY San Diego’s mission is to partner with youth, adults, families, and communities to reach their full potential. Our vision is opportunity, equity and well-being for all San Diegans.
We are truly indebted to our terrific workforce, exceptional volunteers, and many talented and generous community partners and donors, all of whom fuel our work, and are proud to share hallmarks of SAY San Diego’s past year:
Commitment to our community: In our 46th year, SAY remained steadfast in our commitment to our community. 2017 brought unique challenges to address, including using our expertise in new ways and in collaborative partnerships to stem the terrible local epidemic of prescription and illegal drug abuse, addiction and death. We expanded our reach and lifted the voices of those most affected through theatrical performances, curriculum development and youth leadership. To meet other challenges, SAY offered safety, support and solace to refugee and immigrant youth and families; strengthened our capacity to conduct domestic violence screenings and referrals; and extended programs for foster/kinship care to families of teens.
Innovation: SAY invested in innovation with increased resources for program design and business development, aimed at solving our region’s pressing problems, such as: filling the gap of high quality affordable early learning, child care and preschool; building out “Dads Corps,” our one-of-a-kind parenting program for military fathers; and expanding economic empowerment support for families.
Recognized Excellence: SAY is dedicated to the people we reach and whose lives we improve, which is recognition enough. Yet, 2017 brought commendations and awards of note, including: a fourth year as a Union-Tribune Top Workplace in San Diego County; a Public Health Champion Award from the County’s Live Well San Diego!; a commendation from San Diego Mayor Faulconer as a member of the One San Diego 100 Initiative; national accreditation of our early home visiting and parenting program, “First 5 First Steps;” and an invitation from the County Office of Education to participate in the statewide The Power of Discovery: STEM Community of Practice.
As detailed in the following report, 2017 was filled with tremendous community support, flourishing partnerships, bold steps of innovation and new successes, as we advanced our vision of opportunity, equity, and well-being for all San Diegans. We are grateful to all who have contributed to SAY’s accomplishments and challenged us to do even better and even more.
Nancy Gannon Hornberger
Chief Executive Officer
I highly recommend the SAY after school program to everyone I know. The kids are not just entertained—they are constantly learning and doing something new. My six-year-old never wants to leave. –Mom of Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary student
SAY San Diego partners with San Diego Unified School District for our Before and After School programs. Our programs provide a safe place for elementary and middle school aged youth to experience academic enrichment and recreation during the hours before and after the regular school day. Activities include homework assistance, arts and crafts, sports, creative and performing arts and STEM. SAY San Diego runs PrimeTime programming at 22 schools in the San Diego Unified School District. We also offer Licensed Childcare programs at 18 San Diego Unified schools.Dismiss
Empowering and educating new parents to ensure the health and positive development of their children.
SAY San Diego’s First 5 First Steps (F5FS) program, funded by First 5 San Diego, is an in-home family support program serving expectant and new parents which include teens, military families, refugee and immigrant families, and low-income families. Services start prenatally and continue until the child’s 3rd birthday. In 2017, 71 new families enrolled in the program for our region. Additionally this year, private funding from the San Diego County Employees’ Charitable Organization allowed SAY San Diego to provide 20 convertible car seats and critical installation training to new and expecting parents in the F5FS program.Dismiss
Club Elevated is important to me because we don’t want to see our peers negatively affected by substance abuse. –Serra High School student and youth advocate for substance abuse prevention
SAY San Diego leadership development programs partner with teens on issues that pose significant threats to young people in our communities, such as prescription drug abuse, alcohol abuse, access to tobacco and vaping. SAY youth participate in major efforts in the county through two different groups.
Club Elevated trains and supports local youth in awareness campaigns and peer outreach in the North Central region of San Diego. In 2017, more than 81 teens helped to educate peers through events and awareness campaigns focusing on prescription drug abuse prevention, environmental protection, retail alcohol assessments, and more. Club Elevated youth meet at the Serra High School campus to receive leadership and public speaking training.
Advocates for Change Today (ACT) is a youth leadership group committed to creating a safer City Heights community in the Central region of the county. Projects led by 12 ACT youth in 2017 include conducting store assessments of liquor stores and markets to support the Live Well San Diego Community Market Program, and promoting and participating in Prescription Drug Take Back Day. ACT members reached 50 youth at Hoover and Crawford High Schools by leading peer workshops on topics including the dangers of impaired driving and drug-free prom and graduation.Dismiss
Once I started using the skills I learned, it made my life better in every way. –Christina, SAY Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program participant
The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy team works with adults in the probation system to help them find new ways of thinking and promote positive decision-making and lifestyle changes. The 3-6 month program focuses on problem-solving, interpersonal skills, trauma-related behaviors and emotions, and making new life commitments. SAY’s CBT program was rated “very high adherence to evidence based practices,” the highest category for the Correctional Program Checklist. The CPC tool was developed by the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute to evaluate the extent to which correctional intervention programs adhere to evidence-based practices.
At 19, Christina found herself under arrest, and that time in jail and then later on probation taught her to stay out of trouble, but “not on being a better person.” Motivated by her 2-year old son and supported by the SAY San Diego Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program, Christina has learned to communicate more effectively as a way to stay successful. The SAY CBT program gave Christina the tools she needed. “Once I started using the skills I learned, it made my life better in every way,” says Christina. “I realized this when my son told me that I was a good mom now. That’s when I knew that these skills were making me a better person.” Christina is now hard at work on her G.E.D. to become the first in her family to receive a high school diploma.Dismiss
Making mistakes isn’t who you are. You learn from it and let it take you far. – Poetry excerpt from a teen in the Reflections program
Reflections, in partnership with San Diego County Probation Department and San Diego County Office of Education, offers a day-treatment program for youth ages 12–17 involved in the juvenile justice system to meet their needs and help them transition to a productive lifestyle. Youth who are enrolled in Reflections come from formidable backgrounds. Most of these young participants have a history of trauma, which has generated mental health and substance abuse challenges for them.
In 2017, SAY San Diego piloted a Therapeutic Writing Program funded by the Rice Family Foundation that guided youth in using poetry as a way to share their stories and be heard and understood. Reflections youth experienced the power of putting their feelings, experiences, and pain into words to begin the courageous process of healing. The pilot culminated with the creation of Our Story is Important, a book featuring 37 poems written by youth in the program.
The shadow that follows
Creeping behind you silently
A silent so loved, it endures sanity
Late night screams, broken dreams
It tears you at the seams
From falling off the swing set
To falling into debt
It looms over you, forever haunting
It’s the past
Rhymes with last…thing you will ever do
You can’t run
You can’t hide
It will always catch up to you
–Teen submission in Our Story is ImportantDismiss
Life is not a problem. It can be a challenge, but you can always find your way. – Iris, working mom and SAY Family Self-Sufficiency client
SAY San Diego’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program pairs case workers with unemployed or underemployed San Diegans who are looking to explore new personal and professional opportunities. FSS provides emergency assistance, job leads and referrals, free tax preparation, education and career guidance.
FSS client Iris remembers a near-breaking point when she told her two children that they were moving into a homeless shelter. Instead of focusing on the negatives, Iris saw the 3-month period as an opportunity to save money and find a job with more hours and better pay. She turned to SAY’s FSS program for assistance. Thanks to her case manager, Iris received assistance with job leads, resume writing, emergency food, transportation, and school supplies for her sons.
Today, Iris is employed full-time by a major hotel chain and lives with her two sons in their own apartment. She even has plans to go back to school and get her bachelor’s degree.Dismiss
My youngest daughter gave me a Mother’s Day card, and here I am this 6-foot man, and I could not understand why. So I asked her and she said, “you are a good mom, too.” That’s when I stopped wondering if I was a good parent. –Bobby, single parent in the U.S. Navy
SAY San Diego’s Dads Corps is one of the only programs of its kind in San Diego County that focuses on communication and peer support specific to military fathers. While military dads can regularly handle extreme demands with resourcefulness, parenthood presents its own unique challenges. SAY San Diego administers the Dads Corps program through its Military Family Resource Center in Murphy Canyon, home to the largest off-base military population in the world.Dismiss
My mom died when I was a teenager. She told me to never stop, so I never stopped. I am the first in my family to go to college, and I want to work with the United Nations. –Divine, Crawford High School graduate
In 2017, Divine was one of 20 Crawford High School students who received support from the “new arrival student” scholarship program, which focuses on refugee students who have overcome significant challenges, including death of family members, language barriers, isolation, and poverty.
Crawford Community Connection partners with diverse community programs to serve students and their families in Mid City by linking them to services as needed. These referrals relate to needs of emergency food, medical and dental assistance, public benefits screenings, and parent and child development services. Additionally, CCC convenes and facilitates the Crawford Community Collaborative, made up of representatives from organizations and schools to provide an opportunity for ideas, communication, coordination, advocacy, and networking that support the students and families living and attending schools within the Crawford Cluster community.Dismiss
Mobilizing the community to effect change by addressing the increasing trend of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse, including prescription overdose deaths.
SAY Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Prevention efforts in the Central and North Central regions of the county include a vast array of prevention services, workshops, training, and outreach. In 2017, SAY San Diego provided nearly 5,000 unduplicated San Diego citizens with a variety of education and campaigns focused on crime-free housing, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, prescription drug take-back and education, vaping and tobacco sales and access, and more. SAY San Diego partners with 88 agencies and groups to address the ongoing and increasing direct and indirect dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs facing children, adults, families, and communities.
This year Fentanyl-related deaths in San Diego County are on track to double the number from 2016, reflecting the disturbing national epidemic of opioid overdose deaths at all income levels. SAY San Diego began sounding the alarm nearly 10 years ago, well before the now-frequent media coverage of opioid addiction and death in our region. SAY San Diego ramped up community education events, frequently attended by family members who have already lost loved ones to a prescription drug overdose.
The County of San Diego funds the SAY San Diego Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Prevention programs in Central and North Central San Diego.Dismiss
“I’ve always held a special place in my heart for SAY San Diego because of the services that were provided to me through the Family Support Services program at O’Farrell Middle School when I was young. The special care that I received changed my life and is one of the reasons I decided to work in the non-profit sector myself. I am incredibly thankful for all the great work that the organization does for youth in need and the community.” –Vanessa Oshiro, SAY San Diego donor
In 2017, SAY San Diego impacted more than 50,000 San Diegans through more than 30 programs and countless others through outreach thanks to generous investment at all levels by volunteers and donors. Individuals, foundations, and companies supported our efforts financially and invested their time and expertise to improve the lives of San Diego youth, families, and communities. SAY volunteers outnumber staff by about 150%!
The success of our daily work and events like our annual fundraiser Play 4 SAY, our Back to School supply drive, Holiday Hopes, and our Earned Income Tax Credit program depends heavily on help from our tireless volunteers. Through sponsorships, grants, and individual donations, we were able to meet the needs of thousands of San Diego families in 2017. Thank you for getting involved!
SAY Bridge Program: The Hervey Family Fund and R.C. Baker Foundation invested in this vital program which provides urgent-needs assistance to “bridge” gaps for families and children, helping them avoid a spiral into worse conditions. More than 160 families were assisted in the past year with $20 to $500 for career clothing, transportation, school and training fees, medical expenses, and more. The Crawford Scholarship Fund founded by Ron Cohn, Ed Quinn, and Howard Oleff distributed more than $20,000 in scholarships for graduating seniors in City Heights through the Bridge Program.
SAY Back to School: The Dr. Seuss Foundation, Boys and Girls Foundation, and San Diego County Employees’ Charitable Organization teamed up with 30 local companies and countless individuals to help SAY provide school supplies to more than 1,800 youth in the 2016-2017 school year.
Get in the game!
SAY’s annual fundraising event, Play 4 SAY, drew more than 300 business professionals and community supporters and raised $40,000 in critical funds for SAY programs for children, families and the community. The “un-Gala” allowed adults to be kids for few hours through friendly but competitive rounds of lawn games along with plenty of networking, tastings from local restaurants, and prizes all in the name of supporting SAY!Dismiss
$71K to promote SAY San Diego youth initiatives.
SAY San Diego was fortunate to be selected once again by the Century Club to participate in their Champions for Youth campaign. The fundraising campaign, which ran from November to January and culminated with the Farmer’s Insurance Open, raised over $71,000 for critical SAY San Diego program support not covered by our grants and contracts – a 43% increase from the previous year! More than 100 SAY supporters donated gifts ranging from $10 to $10,000 in 2016/2017. Thank you!Dismiss
Dining out at some of San Diego’s best restaurants to support SAY.
For the third year in a row, Whisknladle Hospitality supported SAY San Diego with their November Day of Giving. All server tips and management salaries from Whisknladle’s five restaurant locations were donated to SAY on the Day of Giving. The Whisknladle group of restaurants has raised more than $20,000 to help SAY San Diego since the beginning of this annual campaign! Thank you for your continued generosity!Dismiss