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Sunday, May 8th


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Good morning and happy Mother's Day welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego public service presentation of the Entercom San Diego radio stations and Jerry Lee. May is national Foster care month. There are various organizations here in San Diego County that work with Foster youth both in the system as well as those transitioning out. Some of those organizations have been on the show before joining us today for the first time is promises to kids and other organizations doing great work in this area. On the Saturday to talk about some of their programs and a challenge they're throwing out all San Diego this month. It promises to kids annual giving coordinator. Melissa vehicle to welcome Melissa. Thank you thank you for having a great to have you on the show let's start with a little background information on promises to kids. Yes and promises to kids started back in 1981. There was originally known as a child abuse prevention foundation. It was. One shelter home in the Hillcrest area. And our and co-founder. Norma Hersh. And notice that it wasn't big enough and wasn't able to. Set aside in need of what was needed at the time and so she's talking about it. Mark and raising awareness and raising funds to help build a bigger facility for the for the kids and Foster care and so it can became promises to kids and we built a facility right here and creamy east area so apparently here including me. And went what what year did you have become promises to kids. That change over and 2009. We came promises to kids the child prevention. The child abuse prevention foundation is a little. Long and also just marketing you know I just didn't sound so right and we don't wanna be known as a foundation has also. We wanted to name that's surrounded to what our mission a list and that is making promises and treating Bret a feature for Foster children now accused you serve per year. At any given. Date there about you know. 3300. Foster youth and so Luis survey about 3300. Austrian each year yes and and how long you've been with them promises kids. Ivan what promises cents and October of last year so about six months now okay yeah Lebanon. Looted them yes but I do working with the Foster care community for about two years and they're familiar. With the prosecutor. Well was it that drew you to promises to kids and because there's lots of organizations out there in San Diego County. Doing similar work to promises to Q so what was it that attracted you to them. Well actually it's something that I am really near and dear to my heart and actually a former prostitute myself so I didn't it receives services from promises to kids. But a keynote got a lot of services from other organizations and I can't decide to give back and be that positive role model. Thumbs I love going out you know raising awareness leading donors know. What taking you to help and and let them see that there are you know kids at an additional help and they can be successful and and given that. It has a lot as Mets there's a lot of different various organizations in San Diego County doing with you. You do it promises to kiss and all of you men doing you know great work. He and it's really neat about promises to kids is at least they're kids that are currently in Foster care and those who are. Exceeding Foster care so they're young adults now. Those that a transition help them but did you follow up with them after they've transitioned out yes definitely so. You know we. Believe the ones that go through our guardians scholars program. We maintain relationships with them a lot of the time they are gangly make relationships with mentors that there and he is still. So are able to keep track and and they Kenneth stay around a lot of money come backing get back then men like you yeah. Now it now preparing for. Our interview today I noticed and I was not aware of this that promises to kids. Was responsible for the funding that helped build the AD and Jesse Polanski children's center. Which we will talk about a little more in depth in just a few aunt and also funding for the yes impasse while academy tell us about that. Yeah. So in the ninety's like I said number has noticed that there facility and Hillcrest was just not working. There is just too many kids in one room so. And they decided that we need something bigger and so we got the community together. We got the kind together and we raised. Twelve million dollars to you know help build that plant each other and sent them back in the nineties. Now is that where you're offices are located yes they all had this same building IC and the Sam passed Weil academy does something I was not aware of that this is. An academy school just four Foster kids right. Yes. So we helped fund raise money for that I believe it's about seven million dollars that we helped them race. And so kids that are in high school ages. Live on campus and they go to school there and and they a able to be there and and it. Against that group comes adding. That's great I said I was not aware of that night I of course have heard of cents us while academy but did not know that it was just for Foster kids. And staggering statistics regarding. Foster. Use here in San Diego County I read that at two children enter the Foster care system in San Diego County each day due to abuse. And neglect now over 49% of youth in care. How with siblings who have separated from at least one of them any other figures that you can share with us. Yeah so about. 250 file street to a man's pace from cost care. Each year to you I'm so those are ones that are our former prostitute who are young adults and you know we're hopeful helping them there are guarding scholars Islam. To hang fiftieth and so there's also a 3% inexperience homelessness unfortunately in that first eighteen months when they leave Foster care as well. So we're always out there trying to help them right. Now now let's talk about some programs in the do you have for us several. Yeah of course there's Kamensky children's center at this is kind of like a city within city isn't it it is it's a campus has everything in there for the kids. So a lot of the time the moment that they come you did their taken away. From of the abusive home they go into the bullets each other in center. Thumbing its emergency shelter and it house's you know from zero to eighteen years old. We have cottages where we have the kids separated you know by age and gender to make sure everything's safe. We have awesome chef there that's there and does breakfast lunch and dinner and chef Isa he's Italian and he makes he does a great healthy. Mail plan for the kids and house to do some fun activities on the weekend getting barbecues. And then we also. At a preschool that's in there and so those kids that aren't able to stay and there. Public schools. For any reason we have schools on campus so that they can continue being educated while there and that transition. But we do work with the district's school districts to. Make sure that the kids if they can continue going to the same school that there and before they can influence. I always thought this was just an emergency shelter and and looks it sounds like it's a lot more than that. Hi how long can and can kids stay there. Yeah it's actually ages on transition to an end to a temporary. Sagging because you know we don't see fit. Kids staying in an setting as you know group home. But kids instate vary you know as long as they wanted to we find them placing the typically try to get them turnover by thirty days. Nancy do you and there are several programs with in. That you have there at the Kamensky center. I mention preschool with developmental preschool yes. We also have a decent programming chance for a developmental enhancements screening program. So kids zip from zero to five we do is screening process. And try to catch any development till delays that they might have so we can get them on track. And that follows and throughout their time and Foster care. And then we also have pet therapy which is awesome for the kids who you know have been abused and Ben taught some. Power behaviors and so we try to divert from that and through pet therapy you're able to you know teach them. Better behaviors kinder behaviors and had been. I'm being nice and it dogs are adoption rate for that he had really are and definitely they come out and every week. Clinton gas and so we have volunteers giving their animals and and their tickets so it's a volunteer basis type thing fruit for the therapy dog yet. And are they actual therapy dogs are just I believe pets yet they're just pets and they. Owners come out with them so they're not trained like service officer and a and then what are what is the youth to youth program well our youth he had her gram we have our young professionals who you know. Are seeking higher education and who wanna come back and help and so they come back as a peer mentor for the teens and Polanski. And then so we also provide them with job basically there's so we pay them to. Be the peer mentor yet and it says you know great to have someone that's gone through what he'd gone through and media device. And a light at the end at the end of the tunnel so they can seat that that there is something after Foster care. It's always good to have that that one person that she can relate to right now that we mentioned that. Many kids in Foster care are separated from the siblings him you have a program that helps to reunite siblings that you can't connect program tells them that. Yes. Camp connect was started in 2000 any. And it started with a four day camp and that we do in Julian. And the kids about a 150 kids come out and go camping. As a first time they've ever gone camping a lot of them and so it's a fun experience it's also a first time and that they've seen their siblings in a long time. I for one reason our the other a lot of the time kids are separated because. You know the home the Foster home may not be able to accommodate all the children the siblings and so they're separated in and they don't see each other. And so we tried to create those opportunities for them to see each other believe also expanded it to. Allow them to see each other throughout the year so we hosting monthly events. For unsafe activities for them to do with their siblings I just recently. They're out of the park and they went to the space museum in and had ice cream and just an activity up there for them. And I know month before they went to U boomers so we do fun things and you know we pay for all the tickets scientists and they just went to the Zune two which doesn't mean plenty. If you have volunteered there. And the early seeking volunteers to it helped facilitate and sat around those events. And and it's not it long commitment to do so a lot of volunteers enjoy doing that because. They had they can just give up that Saturday. A month. Now that the considered taking part in in can't connect these all kids. That are concludes he center. And some of them so they could be kids that are in Foster homes as well as a son is there and Foster care and any county and they have a sibling who is not living with them. They can participate in camp connect. And have a they sign up for that is through Foster. Family. And they sign up through last so their guardian and a social worker will contact us and they will give us there put them on our list. And is there an age group. It is from five to. 21 what do what. The Asian and I know this has changed over the years what is the age in which. They've made that transition out. They become adults when they're eighteen. I'm so that's when they transition out but just recently they've passed a law to allow them to have extended Foster care. Said that goes up until they're 21 that they have that cushion they they can opt in to be ends and extended Foster care. And they had that commission and they get support. Housing support wherever their act of 221 that until they're 21 yes. So Canada via can't connect. It is for anyone then in Foster care system yes that has a simpler time yes that they haven't seen dance and guest room and what what kind of results you. Or is seen as a result of can't connect as far as kids maintaining relationship with with their siblings. Ever actually seeing some great results 70% will maintain a relationship with their sibling. And that's amazing a lot of the time siblings will go months years without seeing each other you know so camp and I did is. Allowing those opportunities and to maintain those relationships. And are also seeing that caregivers are seeing that 50% are. I'm having better behavior so they're happy they're not rebelling and now. And that's good that's good for them so positive results yes very positive. What what is Saddam what promises to kids Foster funds cluster funds is higher. One of our programs where we help fill the gap for a lot of the kids and a lot of the time the tiny does not. Have enough funds to use support and through extracurricular activities that they would like to be apart of and so they can come aunts and fill out a scholarship to campaign for their yearbook or prom dress or if they wanna be part of band. Or soccer team compete for their uniform are the instrument that they might need. I'm so the county doesn't usually pay for those things you'd you know have to use them pay at a pocket and so they can come to us to pay for this. Then they have a little bit of normalcy in their life and can Philly kid. And again this is for anybody in the Foster care system not just opponents he said and yet every anyone in the Foster care system. And how to somebody then sign up to to get the funds for this. And so would be either guardian or am. The social worker of the child will contact us fill out the application. And we will see what we can do in and support that. Okay so again this is Cadillac and can't connect intact situation room okay and and I think you mentioned this before too via. I'm guardian scholars scientists. This is where promises to kids provides. Support and encouragement the family typically provide when it comes to pursuing. Higher education. Yeah and guarding sky is one of my favorites so when they're ready and willing to you know seek that higher education they can come to us fill an application. We provide a scholarship where we give them give it to them and monthly installments. And we do case management answer. Iron guardian. Scholar coordinators are great with the kids I hear them on the phone all the time. I'm talking to them and I'm just being a support system so we do case management with them and then also link them with a mentor. And that mentor you know depending on the youth you know some of them need to be you know talk to summon all the time maybe not all the time maybe every other week. But a lot of time you see an relationship organically grow and a lot of the time they're really shifts lead on even after. After graduation so we love seeing that. The act are scholars. We were really there as a as a support like as a family like he says like as a family was there. We send them care packages monthly minimums so they know we're thinking about them. And and it's something that your parents are normally doing so we traded try to do those fun things. But even beyond just guardian scholars and when they're in college we extended it to they junior guard in college which are in high school. And so we offer. Classes to help prepare them for school. We paid for any SAT tests that they might wanna take. And also pay for any college applications. I'm and then also take them to a tour at Norris at the colleges and San Francisco area. So we try to you know see what they're interested and and see what kind of pats they would they'd like to. Ventured into him. That's pretty cool yeah so we get a little little trip to San Francisco along with a move to San Francisco to go to places and right now it's just at their San Cisco. By any other support. Different types of support Digi given through this program. Yeah I mean and junior guard is scholars. Where expanding it. Two more kids so great our police are seeing and about. Fifty years we do wanna expand it and we support them by hosting different classes that. You know self sufficient classes at it would noun rarely get from their parents teaching them about being keen. About you know buying cars. Attacks is any of those kind of classes that you you know just being self sufficient you know on your round and so we offer those classes for them. As one of the things with them with Foster kids. When they transition now a lot of them. Have no clue yet as to how to do any of those things may warrant that taught that race so organizations like yours so there's two. To help them through that. Which is great I'm now this month is national Foster care month and an honor of that process to kids has. Come up with the challenge yes San Diego community it is the 31 day challenge what does that. Yes and we are challenging every one 31 days. It is part one child two dollars a day for 31 days. And so. We are you know looking for a family members groups we actually have really cool website that we launched. To help support that and rally people together. I'm in need can find that app promises to kids challenge dot org. On the penalty heed any and create a fundraising page. Treaty team if he'd like to you and get your friends and family that giant. And how fun race. So fund raising like you're doing it for a walk but there's no walk exactly so he can put together a team that is yes he can. And and and it goes throughout the entire month of may yes that the time and mainly due and that's. And just raising awareness letting people know that there these heats up and it is new evidence floor and them. Need someone to you know be there for them through this transition that they're going there. So the money that's raised through this is that going anywhere in particular it's gonna help our four core programs and we have and so the play each other center. Our scholars can connect and Foster sons. OK so it'll it'll I don't know I'll be filtered throughout those those programs okay two dollars a day that is what you're asking two dollars today for 31 days. To support a child. Of course you can donate more than two dollars. More than better and in that of course would would continue to further your mission of creating a brighter future for Foster children here in San Diego County. It would you know help them be part of can connect. So that they can go to these fun activities. It would allow them to go through guardian scholars and be part of that and had an intern ship and that's of course as a mother going through difficult time going through college. And it would help them you know what when when they enter the prosecutor system that they have someone and that's gonna make sure that they're safe. So if everybody was to donate two dollars a day or more. During this 3190 challenge that the money raised the amount of money raised for these Foster kids would be incredible and it would do. Heck of a lot yes there's so many kids. How many kids them in Foster care San Diego County so hopefully we can get something going here and and and in the go to the web site. To make those donations to construct fund raising page there. Yes that promises to kids challenged out oh lord. It'll take you right to the web site. And it's easy 93 you just become fundraiser putting your contact information. Trade name for your team if he'd like to trade team Ari can be an individual fund raiser yourself. And and ask people to donate ten year cost. All right and out now there are other ways. That people can help you out with your mission where aside from. Things like 31 day challenge. Do you get to state funding of federal funding. Not yet know we don't need you grants and Lee and have individual funding must have our sons and nationals. There are other ways and I noticed on your website there are other ways that people can can help out and help you with you mentioned one of those is the children circle what's that. Yes that's. You know are giving program that we have there's different levels. That and being part of that able. Those funds go throughout the worker programs as well. And and other. Other ways to to help them. Yet there are ways through volunteer. And in kind donations. Are always looking for donations or can connect. Program. We cute fun summer events are now actually looking for some. Fun. The each LA's towels. And so that we can host events an and our camp connector always looking for our country's fire authorities and we take it out. And donate those they take those down to them plenty senate. No they take its promises to kids amber right next at twenty senator and so he would just come here unless their Sweetney. When when it a child goes to have plenty senate how to they had they'd prefer their from this from the from the county. The Foster care system refers them or how does how does that work kind of the end up with Lewinsky sent. Well they're you know usually taken from the C. Home and by police officer. And the first place they go as the twenty children's and so. That's how their effort yeah that's the first thing that they go to unless there is a guardian there that can take them. And it coming from a a Foster home or or there from their home they're coming from their rental from most likely. And we do see sometimes kids and coming from the cluster around and that's because maybe you know the home. They no longer can Foster anymore. Not necessarily because of the collector or abuse yet when that does happen sometimes. I don't really see that happening and it's mostly because they can't. They can't fostering MR IC yeah. Our something come up came up with that and leans so they can no longer Foster and so we try to find another place for the kid but from there. Parental home from fans finding both neglect and abuse him yes FC IMAX. Violations and that every child has a different story. You know sometimes it's you know all the time it's no fault of their own. And it could be that you know parent has passed away and so they have no family to take care of them. I mentioned earlier on the program that. You worry Foster child in mind me asking which your situation once mind it was student abuse in a pleasant and alcohol and you can't beat her message via. But you have you have an organization like promises to kids to help you. Yeah I I did have promises to get there is other ones I had I had promises to kids that think. I have a better experience going to college has really difficult. Him but. Thankfully I think I got through it through it. And but some kids just don't have that determination and they need that extra crash diet and so promises tickets is there to help them. And you mentioned volunteer opportunities. For some of those. The adventures he Al things that you do you know what other volunteer opportunities do you have there. Pummel throughout the year we host a free events. For example we're having a back to school drag. And shopping day so that will need volunteers to help facilitate those days and go shopping with the kids. I'm and then holiday season are always looking for volunteers to to help sort that gets that we collect throughout the holiday season. Because we do a fund holiday toy drive. And make sure that every kid capacity it's actually. Our president. For Christmas and so we're always looking for volunteers to mount helped facilitate those and days and then we have a shopping day to you know. And the holiday season so many shoppers to mount. Bureau is looking for her you know any volunteers to to have expertise in some skills. That they can host any kind of classes urging garden scholars. Our guardian scholars. And you know just teaching them something that you know that they need to know to be sufficient as a young and and and he can become a volunteer. Can they just go to your website to get to yes information on that aren't as yet kid and go to our website. You can there is an that there should be an opportunity there to volunteer and they need these felony information until be a list of or any patients say content and need to and you go through an orientation. And depending on if you're going to be volunteering with the use. Need to do you do need to have to go through a background check. And then again for a to make a donation to website as well yes promises to kids style Horry goes straight her let's say and make a donation. But are really challenging everyone to go to our promises to kids challenge dot org. To start that town engine. Supported child two dollars today for 31 days that for the rest of the month and the rest of the month. To me is classic amateur and so we wanna raise awareness as much as we can I have mall. So thank you for being on Saturday pleasure to have a new and thank you for all you do it promises to kids and great service and it's greatly appreciated. Yes yes thank you for having me and I mean as opportunities there. That includes another addition of living better in San Diego the opinions expressed on living veteran San Diego do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff and management. Of the Entercom San Diego radio stations episodes of living in San Diego. Are available on the station's web site. Join me next week when my guests will be from home of guiding hands of local nonprofit helping those with developmental disabilities until then I'm Jerry Lee. Have a great week.