Sunday, April 23rd


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Good morning and welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego public service presentation of the out of town San Diego radio stations and Jerry Lee. Originally scheduled today was circulate San Diego unfortunately due to on foresee circumstances might get could not make it today. So today a rebroadcast them so from last year. Arcs a reason to survive helps local youth. Deal with adversity in their lives and they do that. For the arts they believe youth facing adversity. Need support to build a positive sense of identity and purpose which is critical. Reaching their full potential in life arts believes everyone needs and deserves opportunities to define who they are. Joining us this morning talk about their programs is arts founder and CEO NAFTA Rico welcome mat thick hammy Gary great to have you on the show now. A lot of people probably don't know. Much better organization why don't you fill us in this little background information about marks a reason to survive. Great yes sure fifteen year old organization matches you celebrate our fifteen year anniversary on May seventeenth. In 2001. We actually launch a program but I got the idea much earlier back when I was nineteen years old. And you know I'd always been an artist from a young age. I struggled in school and other areas of life but art was always something that's really good and strong that. And in when I was nineteen as a freshman in college studying art and trying to figure 11 do with my life. And my mom and sister were both died of cancer with about four months of each other as I took that. You are off. And helped at home and every day I go to my bedroom and closed door put on music and pain and that was my great ski Guzman coping mechanism. It is turmoil my whole outlook on life around. And one day you know towards him in my mother's illness. It just struck me. That this is what I'm supposed to do with my life from what I wanna create a program. Output by that same opportunity safe place for kids to escape and lose themselves in the arts and I sat down my desk. Started writing out two things I wanted to do create an art center. And has listened to a song at the time a big fan of The Grateful Dead and that song touch of gray was on us I will get by and will survive. As he had are accused me reason to survive. A perfect reason to survive AR TS and to me that was a sign I was meant to do this this is my purpose in life. That's where the name that she's accurate name Jerry Garcia Bob Weir thank you for your community and I think that if you. You had a passion for the for the arts for. For a painting for painting and yet it yeah I mean I was I just a bit from a visual artist but I love music can't play music by loving a return to music majors. The combination of both those together really kind of which transport between the world and just help me get through difficult times in my life I knew who works for me to work for other kids were facing their own pain and struggles like me. Yet music has always been that way for me to can't play it tried right I think a few instruments never got anywhere with a hidden but. But music has always been. Major. Part of my life from him and same thing great way to escape gap if I haven't mandates that down listened to some music. I mean whether year releasing any news. We we operated well over a couple of core beliefs but engagement in the arts changes moods attitudes and behaviors whether your engagement your playing music. Where you engaged by listening to music changes humans attitudes and behaviors and so really. When the year an audience member actually participating in the power in the arches is really its powerful do you think you would have pursued a professional career. Yeah you know it's always on the back burner for me to them and so young I like to think I'm young but. Yeah I put my art kind of on the back burner and use this organization has campus and I'm an artist and art creeping into creek this organization. Very fulfilling and there's a lot of creativity and it and the kids that we serve always ask where's your when you gonna do yard and they didn't courage mean I've I've done more art but. I think they'll be time place way I go back to. My painting a more focused way so fifteen years now fifteen years as a parade what what is the mission or more and or vision of of arts. Or should I mention who is that we believe in the power of the arts and change minutes. Ago. We are really looking to ignite the creativity and new. Inspiring them to overcome obstacles and lives in given the skills needed to become compassionate catalysts for change in themselves. The community and the world as a lofty mission statement but we really believe we see every day with the kids and so if we can bring. It's it's it's it's the art Clayton. Use of more creativity more core of I think it's the argues that seem to work parts he can be intimidating amount and artists are. You know it's a higher level of creativity is really core from your kids to be creative thinkers creative problem solvers entrepreneurs user creativity. To make art but to change. That's really where the power. Allies and the kids that you work with these are kids. Facing some kind of adversity and yes yeah and that's our focus on the recent survive but I just ride but it. Succeed in stormy worm a long term organizations. The kids that we work with you were based in national city which is port city per capita in its new companies so. There's a lot of social economic adversity but with that also comes there's you. We serve homeless and domestic violence and Foster youth and youth with mental or physical challenges. Large population of a few that are facing anxiety or depression or. Or mental. Challenges as well so what's the age group. Well over the years we we've served like elementary school through college and were focusing more on really folks and right now on middle school high school and and into college and is trying to do. Kids know pipelines to we'd like to move kids from. Crisis to college or career and a lot of times. And social service agencies. Stop when she's eighteen but we really feel it's important follow kids through college and support them through college and be able to. Launched him into a car into a career as well. So win of the kids come from that it didn't take part in your your programs we're gonna talk about some of those programs are just little bit the when they come from are they referred to you. Yeah it's a combination of things we work with a number of partners schools down at south bay. From everything from national city middle schools as we wore high. And then also social service agencies or from Children's Hospital. To monarch school to. Even private therapists will refer student. And we have in house social work team that reviews all the applications. And which we know we're pleased he's in our program earn high crisis a little bit more stable we'll take a different approach depending what the case circumstances are. The waiting list serves as we do have a waiting list yeah I mean I'll see it offers programs for safer for you we raise our nominee ourselves but we have limitations and so there's such a great need out there. Just throughout the county I mean we're just focusing national city and surrounding communities. Yeah we only the capacities are so many kids and there's always a waiting list which breaks my heart that was once every. I hit right but I say focus on that pretty much south bay mud. Others from other parts of the county had we don't we don't deny anybody that there's there's kids in our program from the mesa. And from the city of San Diego and so we just we're focused really our world our public got 20000 square arts center in national city's that's our base of operations so. Policy and we've got a great partnership with the city national city's our focus really is a national city. But you've come to us how from all over from all over yeah let's get GAAP. I saw your website that you program models based on mass slows hierarchy of needs what does that. Well as those is CD based U Munis renewed food water shelter and that's where a lot of our program partner. Sites of social service agencies provide those things and these are getting into. Different human needs unit and so it's. Safety problem along those critical mass larceny and self confidence and self esteem and good self virtualization. So when kids in our program which released at Emory crisis and long term if they're very short term. But they're just trying to get to the next aid next week and so you really it's really critical to to create this sense of safety for them. We have as our senator that's release ivory creative place so the physical places but also emotional place space has its day. We do that or are teachers or staff and safety and feeling through lobbed a lot a lot of these kids are and on the outskirts whether because of circumstances. Or else they might be. And Jackie Simpson and artists. Limit on the fragile little bit different with Anaheim in southern I always feel like he belongs somewhere right and so and arts dateline incidents really critically feel like you. I can tell you how many times tentatively he something in every day life for outside marked the first which is art that feels safe and actually feel like you belong in this supports. It's critical need that and Lincoln served focusing on. Self confidence self esteem can still build rights even treated me so whether ceramics weather's going to par. Whether it is painting he served them self confidence might really focusing more on the product. Where's the first part of the process of creating that. The process of creation and to express themselves. So. Focus on more arts education building their self confidence through accomplishment. That's keeping and then you we don't claim that were net. Achieve self virtualization with these kids acting upon journey. But you can read it but if we can start creating pathways for them to fine. You know what they do that when they were all born with innate talents and passions and interests. And because compared to wars are pre activities that. For them so you can increase pathways for them to start going down that direction that direction toward our goal list. So these kids are computed they have a passion for the arts already yeah we we we shocked we as part of our. Admissions process is also accused of mutual interest and so when kids come and get the chance to explore right and just to kind of see if arts is a good thing. It's really put we've we've tried every art form from music to dance theater carpentry welding to. He's you never know work he's gonna find their voice right hates me sometimes too isn't coming. Do you painting. And the wonder of the music Herman's yeah. But it and instruments are playing and that's where they find there your voice their expressions have to experiment if you chairman right and allow these kids don't have that choice he can have that luxury. To be able to try different things and because mostly economically can go to piano lessons are our list so. Part of a process of with classes and kids to have the opportunity explored and find their voice and if they don't like okay. Maybe sports is the thing or some other we've got lots of partners price other's nerves that would confirm refractive but the Jesus really hurt them deeper into the program. There. Whenever our forum this is their thing. And so that's that's what we've really good people with them and pride a lot of different opportunities for them to to explore that you have three core programs. At arts. On it he'll. Inspire. And empower right let's talk about those let's start with he'll. Well yes so he is really more I can imagine who earlier is is more process over product it's really folks and kids on that are high crisis. And that really it's more process over product it's more therapeutic arts and working with in social work team and we got some sports arts. That interns that really are trying to. Creed that bond with the kids and forget about with regard to express themselves are building a foundation of trust. A safety problem along and then once that is Allison can move them that next level of okay that's an if there interest. Got off to move all the way through. What we found over time. Time is where it started an organization all of us therapeutic arts right now who's who's just an outreach program I started volunteering on the house in Children's Hospital. And just haven't kids didn't get lost in the moment for it in the hospital right. But then as we groomed Korean archer is worth just over a longer period time there were hungry for more and so that they want to really learn. How to paint or learn how to play instruments that became the focus of building their self confidence seemed skill building. And in the empower Israel air high school and college program which is college and career getting kids ready for. Job and creative industries or even just using their creativity. Give me an opportunity to war increase and learn job skills that will transfer any and he career. It really so huge in our goal arches and decree. And the next greatest artists musicians that happens greatness that there's a lot of really tough and kissed him back in my program. But I was told the students that unique on the stage you can manage a staged and managed theater production lighting design production. Knew he can be. On the wall on the gallery you can manage gallery can only get if you love cern are forms are so many different things you can do. Within that are reforms to make a living right and so it's not just. Everybody wants Xerox are of course in a row what's behind the dream of being right next Jackson Pollock but I hit. You the reality is. There is a lot of different ways to user creativity I just shifted back to increase this organization that's a lot Barton. You know still involved good of course yet so it's just again since it's these kids misses the path we they're not getting in the schools. So we need to get somewhere in southern defining it at arts and arts honor you provide counseling as part of Europe you're. He'll program you actually have counsel don't he had sort of shift we just creating new strategic plan we're turning that. The accounts into a more broader student services department which is going to be. Do you ever social workers. And they pride and psychosocial support crisis intervention there's a lot of stuff happens with the use. But it's also been part of our team Austin college and career advising and leadership development and wellness and so it's really kind of holistic view that. The student services department most of all the kids that are turning programs. And everything takes place at your arts center campus in national city yes or what's the address its 200. East twelfth street in national city it's right. Next sort of today at city hall and police headquarters really centrally located right in national city and it's it's really incredible national city's been phenomenal partner to us it's it's one of their buildings at the creative arts and the partisan to run it because they know. The power of art transformer community and so it's been an incredible partnership with would with the mayor and City Council and nationals and had a bit of programs for their sick classes that that the kids go to yeah and so we have. Now where's that we have registrations to register and to you know concern. Dedicated to taking a certain track whether it's film photography. Ceramics. Music ensemble winner that is that China foreign and on a quarterly basis and we also have. Mean those ongoing class is an awesome. Project paste things written about what's at the arts and we have the ongoing classes. And that we all should do a lot of community revitalization community war where kids involved with beautify their community and that's. And on going opportunity for the kids participate. And then that's Chirac creating vibrant neighborhoods initiative yes yes and and I noticed on your website you had some some pictures of some of the projects that he's worked on can you share some of those yeah. You know and whenever core beliefs as well that. The powerful. Place or environment to change moods attitudes and behaviors and we created this art center in nationals we moved here four years ago and being created for the community agree with the communities on the kids. Everybody has had a role in creating. That art center there imprint all over artwork paint and lost everything and release it instilled a sense of ownership. Of empowerment. And Justin. It's a waste this national Syracuse and Netscape. And be safe and colorful and creative and yet so why why is it just one building why can't national city. Be safe creative colorful and vibrant and how hot helped our kids take a leading role and and so we. Launches initiative called creating vibrant neighborhoods where we wanted to ten and community are projects. Thirty Kenya are projects over three years in three square miles arts and we've got. And support from like the San Diego Foundation's huge supporter of that other private foundations individuals and the city national city and so. What we do would be fine. Mind whether it's through community engagement process or through. Parchment city finding. Abandoned or misuse pieces of land under Alley where there's a lot of homeless as a drug activity early activity happening. And then we go through community engagement process where everybody that lives or works around that area we've we will community means by OK we've got this budget. Which we imagine this it's okay what. What do we wanna do let's let's we can create are just gathering place for the community that you will go through. Four days of community meetings designed to rats. And then it's probably four month process for these community gathering spaces to create. The whole thing is we and with the forty pills were yet but mayor you've got. The City Council we've got business leaders all of our kids working to recreate these bases now it's really powerful mean the end product is beautiful. But the real value is in. Social capital that it deals with in the community when you've got people working together. Can't tell you it went. Residents were you are angry with mayors City Council and they find themselves working together on this community project in the understand each other morning talk through things and he just changed relationships though. It's really again art vehicle. For much higher purpose of drinks people against people together and really demonstrates the community has an involvement has has Satan in what is being done in their community yeah and that's only way to do I mean lifetimes happens top down. And so we we learned this process out of this amazing organization into Al on the pomegranate senator. And this artisan like McConnell Mitch has to do it for thirty years where they transform communities. Through community engagement. Everybody the more hands that are on a project more ownership there is more. And I tell you when we first arguments project opening tag during trashed and nobody's touched camera it's really great because kids are involved with them the communities involved with and your beautiful. And so their respective. And allies some older. Whoever's doing the tagging maybe some of their younger siblings are involved with that are. There's just a respect for so and a lot of pride and from from the community lots of pride in helping to to beautify the neighborhood and it changes their attitude. Exactly and if not only. In this before that power plays. We all watching two different rooms and spaces and feel different if you don't simply has not taken care of averages. It's chaotic. In the effects you. But if you. If you enter space that is beautiful and that is colorful and you can talent who cared for me to punish the whole community and then when when your part of craving that's basically more powerful yet not to meals just came in did it right yet at hand and yet handed it and so we felt like if we can do more more than projects and continual basis. Just eaten every time I just a one off years one out there but then over years to keep on doing this. Can it really transforming innovation for me is how can use based art center. The catalyst for change and community and really really change community and that's exciting part for me I'm looking forward the next fifteen years and that's impacting youth but. The keys that they Internet. So you're gonna over the next several years fifteen years or whatever. Expand asset national city and indeed more communities in in the middle so it's always for me is the founder when I start the organization. Posse of wanna change the world right now want like you don't global wanna change the throughput that everybody needs more art more music. And I if they found a business lessons worth that's hard to scale that's hard to do. But our model is let's get really focusing create an incredible model in national city. Right in that model organization in my own community. And and we become a with a learning institute again training center where we can work with other communities we. Not to other worker cells would find other champions other individuals community users organizations. I wanted to do this work we can train them how to do it we've we've got a a wealth of knowledge over the past fifteen years special last four years since nationals in that we can share with people and that's how we see kind of stealing our work is helping other people to do it. What kind of response to get from the kitchen and from the parents. It's varies it's made me and I I am at a loss for words I guess and where success stories for you and it really does vary that there's kids I can tell you there is young women now program that have attempted suicide multiple times and haven't. Hurt themselves last three years after our program so saving a life. Huge success. There's other kids that have gone off to college. And battered we knew that wouldn't be expected to go to Costner doing extremely well and we just heard from one that's in Oakland. Studying art glass Long Island internship with who we have been in Seattle for the impact is huge it's huge and so. Participants are with me and worked for me. And who work for others and there's another young women who was living in her car. And confine please solutions and a car with mom in mission beach and he he and Imperial Beach but she accepted the City College. Her mom has placed on Mexico which normally are honored to ship at 60. Jews refer to us from monarchs go to school for homeless youth here in San Diego. We gave her job and arts and found her apartment and now she's so she's. Palestinians self sufficient and she's in classes in college so. Additionally different ways that we have impact on you every day in ages in this small successes in this huge successes. I think one of our more more popular. Success is is that there isn't documentary. On whatever students. Young woman in unison. She won the Academy Award in 2013 now Nokia as I mean is incredible so that's a huge success on her especially mis hits and change your life that's going to be so gratifying for. It is everybody else for everybody in the face of the you start with one person me right just an idea. And then he voluntary Ramadan as I think the true success of the organizations that there's so many people involved now whether it's incredible staff. Board members donors community partners and its extra week beyond me which is much my whole intent through the bill death of my mom. I realize you know life can be very short. So when McCready organization I want to this organization to deal around. Whether here or not. And it's happening it's happened it's owned by the community now so I think that's where Mercury successes. We are just mad at a time there're couple things I wanted to touch and share in that is your art enterprise is program right now what's that. So that's again a jobs program an apprenticeship programs and these kids need job skills and so it's and says structure program where restore and a the two different departments and how do we create products or services that serve the community and also implore you. We're starting with you we've got incredible industrial arts shop which has carpentry welding. Yes and national city does a lot of what materials manufacturing town so we've got a hold up cycle furniture line now grown kids design. Conceptualize design and fabricate the church Shalit to the community and it's you know that apply for the job after they've been distance learning. I'd putt well I mean about budgets in finance and marketing and when tent where it takes to run a business who wants her grown that we Geithner finer commission business we're looking at what can we do with the music department. Decrease in business around that and so it's and that's women. And obviously to my teeth into the next couple years developing those little. Many social enterprises for the kids and I see some of the pictures of the furniture pretty dirty little grain yeah that very nice cap com and yours a nonprofit. Yes we are witnessing funding comes Welsh hit everything straight. If it. For the kids it is. Well to a number sources when they have learned or fifteen years it's just I didn't diversify your portfolio. And so we have. Individuals we realize an individual donations it's anybody from like five dollar donation of 50000 dollar donation right and it's corporations. And it is foundations. It's earned revenues you buy that furniture you're supporting the programs and also getting great. Peace efforts right you earn revenue were really looking at we have lots and we do lots of contracts with the city of national city is contractor has to do certain. Public works of art as well so. We've got contracts or some other partners so it's really. A lot differently thing though we will grow is by diversifying and expanding our individual donor base and quite honestly word. We're looking for donors. In the lower brackets you know if if people making give five dollars a month ten dollars a month or even like just one time. We really wanted to build a part owner pays so plus individuals in San Diego and others to create an artistic people that believe in the arts or trying to get a word out to them as well. And every little bit helps every little bit helps contain that every house what is who have sent no WWW. A reason to survive dot org ORG and are you on social media. We're on FaceBook where on Twitter were wrong. What else is there there cents a gram down the ash that is I can't tell USF tag I think we were looking into that yeah. Changes everyday it. One other thing I wanted to ask you now than when when you you mentioned earlier that. The students. Registered yet. Do they go through all three of you programs. The three core programs heals fire in power or has that they have the opportunity ideally. The longer kings are engaged their program to deepen the impact and so we want to be able to run. Died and environment an option where can we need to where they are in there. Development in the circumstances. If he comes in and there hi crisis in the it is really more therapeutic news program and that we that we have a pipeline and can be with us for eight years and so some kids go through all the way some kids. Stay in one air area. For awhile and then. Cycle out you know depends you know it's we have it it's a year long commitment to decide enough yet to Bill Clinton here. But there that there are some attrition just like any. Program and primarily an after school program from 3 o'clock on Saturday as well but some kids that. We work with our current crisis of its heart says. Nail them down sometimes or to be able to for them to follow through on some other commitments is either homeless or other situations and just going on gap but I hope is that it's fair program and that's what we've priced so much support. Especially the student services so we can reach out to its policy hate Marines. Think you know we've got out of hand program called and go to kids as well opulent life. Yes I would meet its two change. Use and to change attitudes and behaviors teach life time and energy and commitment and that's why you're really growing that. You know then the staff to be able to really be focused on. Just following the case and being in the kids aren't used to that mean they're Easton and unfortunately kids. Nobody much you know form right and snow and there thirstein there'd there's striving for. As tension and boundaries as it takes a little while it's time to build that trust them when bill that. Welcome and then it's really it's a lot of fun but I bet it's it's great to watch and grow its incredible. Day goes by fast just like I am actually male kids like. Their content when where and who can hit him again at general. Naturally it's very warning them. Well that's great down Matt thanks for being on the Saturday. I love what you do and an arch of reason to survive keep doing what you do in that area I appreciate and thank you for inviting me on. Thank includes another addition of living veterans San Diego the opinions expressed a living that San Diego do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff management. Of the and a con San Diego radio stations. Episodes of living dead in San Diego are available on the station's web site. Join me next week when we'll be talking about movers for moms until then I'm very late have a great week.