Sunday, May 29th


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Good morning and welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego. Public service presentation of the at a town San Diego radio stations and Jerry Lee. Arts 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 to 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 our founder and CEO NAFTA Rico. Welcome mat they chairman 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 it its little background information about marks a reason to survive. Grade yet sure where fifteen year old organization that you 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 and I struggled in school and other areas like that art was always something that's really good and strong. And in when I was nineteen as a freshman in college studying art and trying to figure went one 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 help at home and every dad go to my bedroom and closed door put on music and pain and now it's my great Steve does Michael mechanism. It just turmoil my whole outlook on life round. And one day nearly two hours in my mother's illness. It just struck me. That this is what to do with my life from wanna create a program. Now provide that same opportunity safe place for kids to escape and lose themselves in the arts and sat down my desk. Started writing out two things I wanted to do create an art center. And I was listening to a song at the time a big fan of The Grateful Dead and this song touch of gray was on this I will get by him and will survive. As he had are just me or reason to survive. A perfect reason to survive a RTS and to me that was a sign I was meant to do this this is my purpose in life so that's where the name that's exactly rename them Jerry Garcia Bob Weir thank you for him that you can't. And if it affects you. See you had a passion for the for the arts for. For a painting for painting it as yet he would yeah I mean I was I just a bit in my visual artist but I love music can't play music by love and return to music images. The combination of both those together really kind of which transport me to another 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. Yeah music has always been that way for me to you can't play I tried right I play a few instruments never got anywhere with a hit but but music has always been. Major part of my life from him and same thing great way to escape gap if I had a bad day sit down listen to this music. I mean whether year releases and news. We we operate of well over a couple of core beliefs by engagement in the arts changes moods attitudes and behaviors whether your engagement they're playing music. Or yankees fan listening to music changes humans attitudes and behaviors and so really. When the year an audience member actually participating. Power 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 Terry Odom and so young I like to think I'm young but. Yeah I put my art kind of on the back burner and I use this organization has me campus and I'm an artist and art creeping into creek this organization. To bury for selling and there's a lot of creativity and it and the kids that we serve always ask where's your when he unity garden they've encouraged me have done more art died. I think they'll be time place way I go back to. My painting a more focused way so fifteen years now fifteen years that separate what what is the mission or more and or vision of of arts. Just imagine you is that we believe in the power of the RC changed months. Ago. We are really looking to ignite the creativity in you. Inspiring them to overcome obstacles in the lives in given the skills needed to become compassionate catalyst 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 Lleyton. You were creativity more the core of and because the art music seeing the work parts can be intimidating amount and artists are. Yes it's a higher level by creativity is really the core from your kids to be creative thinkers creative problem solvers. Entrepreneurs user creativity. To make art to change that's really whether paralyzed and the kids that you work with these are kids. Facing some kind of adversity and yes yes that's our focus on the need a reason to survive but I just drive but it. Succeed in stormy worm a long term organizations. The kids that we work where. You were based in national city which is port city per capita in this new company so there's a lot of social economic adversity with that also comes there's new. We serve homeless and domestic violence and Foster youth and use with mental or physical challenges. A large population of a view that are facing anxiety or depression or. Her mental. Challenges as well so and what's the age group. Well over the years we we served like elementary school through college and we're focusing a bit more really folks in right now on middle school high school and and into college and just trying to gain. Kids know pipelines to me I can kiss from. Crisis to college or career and a lot of times. Social service agencies. Stop when kids are eighteen but we really feel it's important follow kids through college and support them through college and be able to. Launched an intuitive car into a career as well. So when the kids come from that that that take part in your your programs we're gonna talk about some of those programs are just little bit the what do they come from are they referred to you. Yeah it's a combination of things we work with a number of partner schools down south bay. From everything from national city middle school discrete or high. And then also social service agencies that roar from my Children's Hospital. To whom monarch school to. Even private therapists will refer student. And we have and how social work team. That reviews all the applications. And we too we know where to place he's in our program there and high crisis or pale that more stable. We'll take a different approach depending what the case circumstances are. You have a waiting list serves as we do have a way to do it yeah I mean I'll see all over some programs are free fair for youth we raise how many ourselves but we have limitations and so there's such a great need out there. Just throughout the county I mean we're really just focus in national city and surrounding communities. Yeah we only the capacities are so many kids incident is always a waiting list which breaks my heart that was once help everybody. I hit right but ENEC focus on that pretty much the south bay mud. Others from other parts account yes we don't we don't deny anybody who rescues kids in a program from monies. And from the city of San Diego and so we just were focused really are word probably got 20000 square foot art center in national city's that's our base of operations so. I've seen and we've got a great partnership with the city national city's focus really is a national city. But you've come to us how from all over from all over yeah that's good gap 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 they start getting into. Different human needs unit and so it's. Safety involved in blogging you know is is critical mass was the self confidence and self esteem and good self naturalization. So when teams in our program which released at lumbering crisis and they're not really look and long term it's their very short term. But they're just trying to get to the next game next week and so you really it's really critical to to create this sense of safety for them. We have is our senator that's really cheap ivory creative place so the physical places but also emotional place spaces it's day. We do that to our our teachers and staff and safety. If you like your loved Milan a lot of these kids are and on the outskirts weather because of their circumstances. Or else they might be. And conceived in an artist who bit on the fringe a little bit different with Anaheim and so they're not always feel like he belonged somewhere right and so. And arts they block incidents really critically feel like you. I can tell you how many times kids in my. He's something in everyday life for outside of arts in the first person to do is art that's ridiculous if that's really feel like you belong in this supported so. It's critically yet that ending concern focusing on. Self confidence self esteem is still building crises mistreated me so whether ceramics whether it's playing the guitar. Whether it's painting he served them self consciously really focusing more on the product. Where's the first part time the process of creating that. The process of creation and its express themselves. So. Focus more arts education building their self confidence through accomplishment. Mosquito and then you we don't claim that were net. Achieve self naturalization with these kids acting as a lifelong journey. But credit but if we can start creating pathways for them to fine. You know what in the good that they were all born with innate talents and passions and interests and he's come through our doors. Art and creativity is that for them so you can increase pathways for them to start going down that direction that direction toward our goal is so. These kids that county they'd they have a passion for the arts already yeah we we we accept you we as part of our. Admissions process is also kids that ritual and interest and so when kids come in to get the chance to explore right and just to kind of see its arts is that thing. It's really part we've we tried every art form from music to dance theater to carpentry welding to. He's you never know where kids are gonna find their voice right hates me so we times isn't coming. Do you painting. And the wonder of the music room and CIA. Bit of an instruments are playing and that's where they find there your voice their expressions have to experiment get to experiment right and a lot of these kids don't have that choice they can have that luxury. To be able to try different things and because mostly economically can go to piano lessons are. Our lessons so. Part of that 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 at the right observes that we can for an referred to but because this rather go deeper into the program. There whenever our foreign this is their thing. And so that's we're that's when we really go deeper with them and pride a lot of different opportunities for them to to explore that you have three core programs. At arts. That's he'll. Inspire. And empower right let's talk about those let's start with he'll. Well yeah so he is really more like a message who earlier has its more crossover 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 we've got in social work team and we've got some. Expressive arts that interns that really are trying to. Creek that bond with the kids and let them forget about with regard to express themselves are the 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 they're interested. Not all kids move all the way through. What we found over time is when I started the organization has all of us therapeutic arts right now who's who's just an outreach program I started. Volunteer on the town house in Children's Hospital. And just having kids shouldn't get lost in the moment for Catherine hospital right. But then as we groomed and Korean archer is worth just over long picture time they're hungry for more as an and they want to really learn. How to paint or learn how to play instruments that became apparent focus of building their self confidence of steam and skill building. And then empower Israeli air high school and college program which is college and career getting kids ready for. Job in the creative industries or even just using their creativity. Give me an opportunity to war in Crete and learn job skills that will transfer into any any career. It really so huge in our goal what arches into creek. And the next greatest artists and musicians that happens great in concept there's a lot of really tell the kids can come on our program. But I would tell the students that need to be on the stage you can manage to stage you can dance theater production lighting design production. You know you can be. On the wall in the gallery you can measure gallery can only get if you love cern are forms of so many different things you can do. Within that are formed 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 like the next Jackson Pollock but how hit. You the reality is. There is a lot of different ways to user creativity I just shift that's and increase this organization that Lamar and you know still involved with it yeah of course yet so it's just again since then it's these kids this is the path we they're not getting in schools. So we need to get it somewhere and so there they're finding it at arts in the arts honor you provide counseling is part of your year. He'll program you actually have counsel don't he had so we're gonna shift and we just creating new strategic plan. We're turning that. Accounts into a more broader student services department which is gonna be. Do you ever social workers. And they pride and psychosocial support crisis intervention is lot of stuff that happens with the use. But it's also been part of broader Tina lawsuit in college and career advising and leadership development and wellness and so it's really kind of holistic view that. The student service to part malls are all the kids that are turning our programs. And it and it really takes place at your arts center campus in national city asks what's the address. It's 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 way with with the mayor and City Council and at nationals and and head of the programs were they're sick classes that the kids go to yeah and so we have. Now where's that we have registrations if you register and to you know concerned. Dedicated to taking a certain track whether it's film photography. Ceramics. Music ensemble or whatever that is that's Sino foreign and on a quarterly basis and we also have. Mean those of the on going class is an awesome. Project based things that they Gonzales of the art center we have. Those ongoing classes. And then we also do a lot of community revitalization community work where kids involved with beautify their community and that's. And on going opportunity for the kids that participate. And that that's your act creating vibrant neighborhoods initiative yes yes totally and and I noticed on your website yes and some pictures of them have some of the projects with the kids were talking to 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 at nationals we moved there four years ago and leading critic for the community agree with the communities on the kids and families. Everybody has had a role in creating. That arts are there imprint all over artwork paint my walls everything and released it instilled a sense of ownership. Of empowerment. And Jason is aware aces in national securities and Netscape. And be safe and colorful and creative and we ask yourself why why is it just one building why can't national city. Be safe creative colorful and vibrant and how healthy are kids take a leading role then and so we. Launches initiative called creating vibrant neighborhoods where we want to do tend community are projects. Thirty Kenny are projects over three years and three square miles of the art center 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 too whether it's through community engagement process or through. Parchment the city finding. Abandoned her misuse piece of land or Alley where there's a lot of homeless as a drug activity and illegal activity happening. And then we go through community engagement process for everybody that lives or works around that area we've we will community meetings by OK we've got this budget. Let's re imagine this space okay what. What do we wanna deal let's let's make it a creative artistic gathering place for the community and so will go through. Four days of community meetings and design interacts and and it's probably four month process for these community gathering spaces to create. The whole thing is we ends with a forty pills were yet the mayor you've got. The City Council you've got business leaders all of our kids working to recreate these spaces that the hall is 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 tell you it when. Residents were you are angry with the mayor's City Council and they find themselves working together on this community project in the understand each other morning talk through things and he just changes relationships though. It's really again art as a vehicle for much higher purpose of drinks people against people together and it really does. That's great so the community has an involvement has as a city and in what is being done in their community. Yeah and that's only way to do it for me lifetimes happens top down. And so they'll we we learned this process out of this amazing organization in Seattle on the pomegranate senator. And this. Artisan like human part of which 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 terrorism or. And I tell you when you first are doomed project opening tag during the trashed and nobody starts camera it's really great because kids are involved with them the communities involved with them to beautiful. And so there are respected. And allies some older you whoever's doing the tagging maybe some of their younger siblings are involved with that are there's just a respect for so. And there's a lot of pride and from from the community lots on pride in helping to to beautify the neighborhood Gaffney and it changes their attitude. Exactly and it's not only. Innocent before that power place. We all watching two different rooms and spaces and feel different if you don't simply society and care of or just. It's chaotic. In effect CO. But if you. If you enter space that is beautiful and that is colorful and that. You can tell if it's cared for. Mean that permeates the whole community and then when when your part of creating space it's even more powerful GAAP net stimulus is Kaman did it right yet at hand and he has handed it and so we felt like if we can do more more than projects on a continual basis. And Stephen of every time I just a one off years and I wanna be Arabic and over years just keep on doing this. Can it really transforming innovation for me is how can youth based art center. The catalyst for change in the community and really really change a community and that's exciting part for me I am looking for the next fifteen years and that's impacting youth but. The keys that the Internet now. So you're gonna over the next. Several years fifteen years or whatever. Expand asset national city and indeed more communities in them a little so it's always for me is the founder when I started the organization. Posse of wanna change the world right now one like you don't global wanna change throughput that. Everybody needs more are more music. As they found a business lessons were that hard to scale that's hard to do. But our model. And switched it really focusing create an incredible model in national city. Right in that model organization in my own community. And then we become a with a learning institute a training center where we can work with other canyon country. Not do all the work ourselves and find other champions other individuals communities it's organizations. I wanna do this work and we can train them how to do it and we've got a a wealth of knowledge over the past fifteen years especially last four years its nationals that we can share with people and that's how we see kind of stealing our work is helping other people to do it. Kind of response to get from the kids and and from the parents. It's varies it's made me and I've I'm at a loss for words I guess and where success stories trio and it really does vary there's kids can tell you there's young women in our program that have attempted suicide multiple times and haven't. Hurt themselves last three years if your program so saving a life. Huge success. There's other kids have gone off to college. And battered real that wouldn't be expected to go to Costner doing extremely well and we just heard from one that's an Oakland. Studying art glass blowing it internship with Cooley open in Seattle for the impact is huge it's huge and so. Participants are with me work for me. And who work for others and there's another young woman who's living in her car. And confine please selection governor cars with mom and mission beach and yet and Imperial Beach but you accepted the City College. Her mom has placed on Mexico which normally her daughter to replace Aso. Jews refer to us from monarch school to school for homeless youth here in San Diego. We gave her job and arts for her apartment and now she's soft she's Palestinians self sufficient and just his glasses City College so. Additionally different ways that we can have impact and use it every and ages in this small successes in this huge successes. I think one of our more and more popular. Successes was that there's a documentary. On one of our students. Young woman in this day. That it's. Won the Academy Award in 2013 now. Yeah as I mean as incredible so that's a huge success on her especially I mean it's it's a change your life that's gonna be so gratifying for. It is for everybody else for everybody in the things in the you start with one person me right just an idea. And then he voluntary drama Thomas I think the true success of the organizations there's so many people involved now whether it's incredible staff. Board members donors community partners which is where we'd be on me which is much my whole intent do bill death of my mom. I realize you know life can be very short. So when I create the organization I want to this organization to deal around whether here or not. And it's happening it happened it's owned by the community now us I think it whenever previous successes. We are just mad at a time there're couple things I wanted to touch on your green and that is Europe art enterprise is program right yeah but 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 programmer restore and look at different departments and how do we create products and services that serve the community but also implore you. We're starting with you we've got incredible industrial arts shop which has carpentry welding. Yes and national scene is lot of like materials its manufacturing town so we've got a whole cycle furniture line now when kids design. Conceptualize design and fabricate the furniture salad to the community and its unit to apply for the job after they they're just learning. Content well I mean we're about budgets in finance and marketing and when Tony went to two run a business we wanna start grown that we guy can partner commission business we're looking at what can we do with the music department. Decrease in business around. So it's in that's when it. And obviously to my teeth into the next couple years developing those old. Many social enterprise is for the kids and I see some of the pictures of the furniture pretty dirty little grain yeah that very nice that. Com now yours a nonprofit. Yes we are where does your funding company. Well set everything straight. Ahead. For the kids it is. Well through number sources when they have learned over fifteen years is just silly and diversify your portfolio. And so we have. Individuals we rely on individual donations it's anybody from like five dollar donation to 50000 dollar donation right. And it's corporations. Is foundations. It's earned revenues you buy that furniture and you're supporting the programs and also getting great. Piece of furniture. You earn revenue were really looking at we have lots and we do lots of contracts with the city of national city is contract and execute certain. Public works of art as well and so. We've got contracts of some other partners so it's really. A lot of different Weytman we will grow is by diversifying and expanding our individual donor base quite honestly were. We're looking for donors. In the lower brackets unity and people making give five dollars a month ten dollars a month or even like just one time. We really want to build a part owner pays. Plus individuals in San Diego and others to create an artistic people that believe in the arts or cutting it or to them as well. And every little bit helps every little bit certainty that every day out study have done. Fundraising events. Yes interest so we have we have an event coming up on July 16. And it's it's an event with another organization called transcend dance dance dance a youth dance program and where action in the process. Acquiring them that. And we're gonna combine our forces so we're gonna co leaders have been July 16. Museum of contemporary art Shubert auditorium. And with that. We're going to be celebrating a local philanthropist Dan Freeman who's been a big supporter. And she's also provided a 50000 dollar matching grant. For this merger of the two groups that if you donated dollar shall matchup I'd dollar ten dollars and ten dollars. But July 16. It short of are torn and damaged every carton and compete find out about this on your way on the website our website yet and then transcendence clips I've come to our website it's all linked up. And then maybe comprise some information they can meet you and yours as well. Okay yeah and if we put something up on our community events page it's what what is your website know WWW. A reason to survive the dot org ORG and are you on social media were on FaceBook weren't Twitter. On. But else is there there cents a gram down dies it's I can't just USF had yet I think we were looking into that by GAAP changes everyday it. You can hit. 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 said with a three core programs he'll inspire empower or has that. They have the opportunity ideally. The longer catering to ease their program to deepen the impact and so we want to be able to run. Died and environment an opportune were kid we can meet she's where they are in there. Development in this circumstances. If he comes in and there are high crisis and it is really more therapeutic. Program and that we didn't have a pipeline to be with us for eight years and so some kids go through all the way some kids. Stay in one area. For awhile and then. Cycle out in all depends you know it's we have it it's a year long commitment yet to sign up you have to go Oakland a year. But there there are some attrition just like any. Program and are primarily an after school program from 3:8 o'clock this is as well and but some kids that. We work with current crisis it's hard to. 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 does the hope is acute care program and that's what we've priced so much support. Especially the student services so we can reach out teaches politics hey Murray needs be you know we've got up and program called and go to pick kids up as opulent life. Yeah enjoy that meets its two change. Use it to change attitudes and behaviors that takes time and energy and commitment and that's why we were really growing that. 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 the reason me and unfortunately kids. Nobody much uniform. Pants oh and they are thirsty and there's striving for. As tension and boundaries as it takes a little while it's time to build that trust when bill that. Welcome and then it's really it's a lot of fun but and it's it's great to watch and grow its incredible. Day goes by fast like obviously no kids site. Their content Woodward who has had hinted at now. And it's really it's very warning them. Well that's great and that's thanks for being on Saturday. Love what you do in an arts or reason to survive keep doing what you do and they Chara appreciated thanks for inviting me on. That concludes another edition of living veteran San Diego the opinions expressed a living better San Diego do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff management. Of the and it comes San Diego radio stations episodes of living veteran San Diego are available on the station's website. Join me next week when my guest will be from Cuba's mission until then I'm Carrie Lee have a great week.