Message from Our CEO and Board President

Mission Statement

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.

Dear Friends,

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.

Barbara Ryan
Board President

Nancy Gannon Hornberger
Chief Executive Officer

Child & Youth Development

Beyond strong programs, every child and teen feels more confident and set-up for academic success when they have the tools they need. During the 2016/2017 school year, more than 1,800 youth benefited from the SAY San Diego Back to School supplies program, thanks to generous donors including the Boys & Girls Foundation, Dr. Seuss Foundation, and San Diego County Employees’ Charitable Organization. This school year we are on track to serve a record 2,500 youth!

SAY San Diego’s Teen Court provides first time justice-involved juveniles ages 12-17 a chance to be diverted from juvenile courts by accepting an alternative sentence selected by a jury of their peers. Last year 121 youth volunteer jurors benefited from leadership development and learned about restorative justice and court procedures, while 95 youth were given the chance to learn from their mistakes and have arrest records removed upon completion of the program. Last year, 99% of the youth enrolled did not reoffend in the three months following the program.

In 2017, SAY San Diego’s five preschool sites provided 201 children, ages 3-5, with safe, secure, flexible and stimulating environments that promote, nurture, and enhance all areas of their development. This year, SAY San Diego participated in the “Moves the Needle” lean innovation process to explore ways to expand preschool access to even more working parents with varying financial circumstances.

2017 Highlights | Child & Youth Development

SAY Before and After School

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

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First 5 First Steps

Empowering and educating new parents to ensure the health and positive development of their children.

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Youth Leadership for Safe and Healthy Communities

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

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Youth, Adult, & Family Wellness

SAY San Diego’s CAT Plus program educates teens about sexual health, including pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted disease prevention. Despite looming federal cuts to programming for teen pregnancy prevention in 2017, SAY San Diego’s program drew 548 teens for information about consent, safe decision making, and avoiding risky situations. CAT Plus facilitators also help teens navigate the legal system and provide pregnant teens with referrals to programs such as SAY’s First 5 First Steps.

Every year, hard-working San Diegans lose millions in tax refunds due to incorrectly completed tax returns and a lack of financial literacy to understand deductions and more. The staff and volunteers of SAY San Diego’s EITC program provided free tax return assistance to more than 900 households in 2017, reinvesting $1.3 million back into the community and most importantly, family budgets.

Project KEEP provides support and education for foster parents and kinship caregivers, designed to improve their children’s behavior and decrease stress. In 2017, 140 San Diego adults received training and support to be effective and nurturing caregivers to children traumatized in the past by parental separation. Many of the caregivers are grandparents who are learning to raise children again with approaches very different from when they were raising their own children.

2017 Highlights | Youth, Adult, and Family Wellness

Therapeutic Communications

Once I started using the skills I learned, it made my life better in every way. –Christina, SAY Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program participant

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Reflections Day Treatment

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

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Family Self-Sufficiency

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

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Community Engagement

In the economically challenged and ethnically diverse community near Crawford High School, more than 90% of students are from refugee or immigrant families. SAY San Diego’s Crawford Community Connection Prom Drive helped nearly 70 of these students participate with their peers in the milestone senior prom event by providing donated prom attire, accessories, and free tailoring at local dry cleaning shops.

In partnership with the AjA Project, Healthy Planet USA, and with generous support from the San Diego Foundation Opening the Outdoors initiative, SAY San Diego launched Outdoor Advocates. Outdoor Advocates empowers youth to address problems in their community through photography and storytelling. Students from Mid-City and Southeastern San Diego use photography to raise awareness and find solutions to create clean, safe outdoor environments. Initiatives include the development of urban community gardens, advocating for pet-friendly areas, and addressing trash and safety.

The San Diego Military Family Collaborative (SDMFC), convened by SAY San Diego, provides a forum to maximize the collective impact of resources to enhance military life. Nearly 200 organizations make up the SDMFC, including SAY’s Military Family Resource Center. The collaborative offers workshops, resources, special events, and support groups for active duty and veteran families. In 2017, 84% of military spouses reported feeling prepared for transition to civilian life as a result of participation in Military Transition Spouse Edition workshops, up from 20% prior to the program.

2017 Highlights | Community Engagement

Dads Corps

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

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Crawford Community Connection

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

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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention

Mobilizing the community to effect change by addressing the increasing trend of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse, including prescription overdose deaths.

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Get Involved

Thank You!

“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!

See a complete list of our 2016-2017 donors.

Highlights: Your Philanthropy at Work

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.

Volunteers make it possible for SAY to improve the lives of youth, families, and communities throughout the year.

Thank you!

Program Volunteers: 234
Interns: 23
Special Events Volunteers: 385
Board and Committee Volunteers: 16

Every member of SAY San Diego’s Board of Directors invested in our impact in 2016/17. These community, civic, and business leaders volunteer their time, contribute their expertise, and continually support SAY San Diego.

Thank you!

Through SAY San Diego’s Holiday Hopes program, 549 households (2,340 individuals) found joy during the holiday season. More than 300 donors provided children’s toys, teen gifts, household essentials, and gift cards to families in need. Our dedicated team of more than 200 volunteers contributed 900 hours to collecting, sorting, and delivering gifts to families in the Holiday Hopes program.

2017 Highlights | Get Involved

Play for SAY

Get in the game!

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Champions for Youth

$71K to promote SAY San Diego youth initiatives.

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Day of Giving

Dining out at some of San Diego’s best restaurants to support SAY.

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Funding Our Impact

Invest in SAY

There are many ways to invest in SAY including legacy giving, donations of stock, corporate and individual giving, tribute gifts, grants, and our annual event. For more information, please contact Suzie Colby, Vice President Resource Development at