Sunday, January 8th


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Good morning and welcome to another additional living better in San Diego a public service presentation of the at a town San Diego radius actions I'm Jerry Lee. Most of us know the name united way but what do we really know about the organization. United way of San Diego County is dedicated to helping San Diego's children and families grow stronger. They bring together people and resources to assist those in need an improved quality of life for everyone. Joining us this morning is united way of San Diego County president and CEO. Lori koskie. Welcome Lauren good morning Gary nice to have you on the show this morning glory now I'm not mistaken I think it was last year that I had to united way of San Diego County on the show. And you're just started working there sometimes to. I had it was last summer and I remember when Cheney gross our senior vice president of collective impact was with you and she was with you the day that she was due to have her baby and she held off just to Jew York. On the show I do remember that day remember and as a baby the next day just you Gary that's great I'm barely made it through remember now that you mention it I remember that. In thinking we can get through this she did do I know what she had which had a beautiful baby boys who's the baby boys have six months he's. Roland around I can't think he's getting ready to sit ups did a good job Gary like. We'll tell her congratulate I went out. Tells little bit about. A united way of San Diego County now that are you part of AM a national organization. We are we're affiliated with national united way worldwide. Throughout the world there are 18100 united way organizations throughout the United States there are 12100 united we organizations each of us. Is an independent organization that's affiliated with united way world by. So whether it specific guidelines that you have to follow even though you kind of separate entities indeed there are specific guidelines that we have to follow up. All of our business cards look the same you can imagine how surprised I was when I went to my first meeting of the united way people in my business I've looked like everyone else that why Powell. You know this is insisting we use the same font all sorts of things happen but yes we do have guidelines and we have. Issues that we collectively agreed that are the critical issues in our respective communities so we either deal with. Education as we do here in San Diego with health and human services and wind financial stability and family stability. So anywhere around the world or in any. United way you'll find one or all of those three major issues being dealt with by those communities so it's it's dependent on that particular. I area. Yes because we listen to our communities so where a community based organization. And we listen to what our communities Telus are the most important critical issues that united way can bring people together and actually move the dial. And how long as the the San Diego. Answer or not office and a San Diego united way has been working in action for almost a hundred years we are 97 years old we have our hundredth birthday in 20/20 so we're. Starting to plan a big community celebration. In wanna celebrate on the ground with the people that we serve and for 97 years we have. Created programs that have. Destructive cycles of poverty for family and children throughout San Diego County we've done some good work for very long time so you are in Europe a resource. Resource center of that but you also offer services and programs as well right you've got to how did you figure that out technically we PIX we are a resource to the community week. How can we help every when these philanthropists in a variety of ways. And our recent tip it over the last three years into working just in areas of education. Lifting. I'm issues of children so that every child can fulfill her or his dream and that is our goal we are a direct service organizations. And what is the mission or vision of united way of San Diego County well our mission is a mouthful and sometimes they think you have to have a jingle. In order to remember it like I put a little tune on it. But it's a spark breakthrough community actions to elevate children and families toward a brighter future and that is the mission that was adopted. Three years ago and it's a very different mission for united way not all united way to have this particular mission. But really not nodded off so we had decided three years ago. That education would be the areas that united way at this moment in time in our history could have the greatest impact. And to bring. All organizations together. Business schools. Private philanthropy public philanthropy. Children. And all of the services that children need together to decide how to keep the child in the center. And figure out what's needed for every child to succeed. Now you view again you said you started last summer I did I started my life a San Diego County what's your background what would you come from. I came from the interfaith center for worker justice is no organization that I served for. A little more than fifteen years our goal list is lift up in the same ways that issues of working families toward economic stability. By means of public policy and working often with labor unions to. Truly changed the fate of workers and their families and sent coming to united way. It's sort of thinking in the Yang because now I work. To lift up their quality of life of their children so that the children have a brighter future and the future of their own making so this was. A great debt repairing them as an unbelievable. Pairing and because. I know the names of the children. Who we are trying to work so hard for to assist them in having a future. That day can decide where they wanna be what careers are open to them how they learn about careers that are open to them. For the little babies how they can learn to read at third grade reading level grade level. So that they can have a better chance of graduating high school and going into those career and I understand too that you have been honored with several awards most recently from the yet. San Diego business journal as a 2015. Woman. Means business. I know that was fun actually you know how they have quite an event where they nominate hundreds of women is semifinalists. And we all come together and then he sit patiently to see if they're gonna call your name it was sort of nerve wracking. You know I don't know you know ahead of time now you don't know it had a time you don't know at that time and then make college fifth 220 of the women of the 200 and something that our. Nominated and it was really an honor. For our need to be part of that group I was very happy to be. I'm joined by my sisters were trying to do really good work here in San Diego from all sorts of different. Fields and to some of us were not for profit were but the majority of listed for profit work in the business sector. Interestingly enough I think I may be the first clarity that was included in there women and over the so you are you are a rabbi also eyeing him. And I am finding a long time ago as a reform rabbi any particular temple here in San Diego can't know my work is to my work in my calling is to work at united way. And that Al united way also not only have you yourself. I received awards for united way has also been ranked as a top charity by Forbes magazine. What it was that mean to an organization like yours. Like for it not for profit organizations are so many thousands of them both in communities and all center around the country. It really is sort of a statement of credibility that we have been investigated that we use the money that we race because we we live in the sacred. Donations. The people and organizations that want to support our mission and went to support the work that we do. And so I think it's a statement that says they're doing what they say they're they're going to do them and they're doing it in a way that has that ethical incredible. And we are really honored to be investigated in the way and to be seen with the with a high standards that we believe that we. Let's talk a little bit more detail than about what it is that you do. And went left to do that. United way San Diego County let's start with education is said that's a big part of what it is that you do that's a huge part of what we do the other. The ancillary pieces out of course Stanley stability in an we're gonna talk about that later so. We central's. Long time listening to communities. And we understand. That some children have access to many many. Beautiful experiences that opened up their futures to them but some children in San Diego cannot have those same opportunities. And it's our efforts to reach to those communities where children need support that wrapped around them in order for them to be successful in school. And so we have. Two programs that of many programs that I wanna tell you about one is every student every day and that's a program where we have. Eleven interns from different universities from alliance from Colombia from San Diego State from USD. Who are working in elementary schools and if you want I'd be happy to share with you the list but there posting in the Hoover cluster. And they are working around chronic absenteeism. So if you her child has been absent eighteen days in a year or more and for people who are listening and what you can be counting on your fingers to. How many days you're children have been absent but they're consider chronically apps and what does that mean and means that they're going to fall behind. So a little child a child an elementary school parent child isn't cutting class or isn't you know doing the things that their older. That's older children are going to do maybe not to go to school of those children are being hindered by things that are happening in their families their parents moving to match for their parents having. Difficulties either making a living or transportation. Or the kinds of things that would stop. Children from getting to school and so our interns in these schools work with the families in a very gentle way. In order to gain trust from the families to say what's happening with Q. That is being hard for your child to get to school and does. A mother has two children and one has to go to the doctor in the mother doesn't have transportation and you know or maybe you don't how hard it is to take buses around San Diego can be two to four hours of your right just doing. But they have to go to the county in order to sign up for some services to which they're eligible. Think what this stopping children from getting to school and how can we help those children get there because if their apps and one day to day and a half to catch up if I. Right of course the embarrassment of a child of not knowing what they're expected to know. That feeling that they can't their always trying to catch up they can catch up and so chronic absenteeism is gaining enormous challenge for families who are struggling. And so our interns that are supervised by. The united way staff. Are in the schools trying to help the children be ready to get to their seats and learn and not be worried that they haven't had a good meal where that. Dad's lost their jobs or all the things that stop children from being able to learn to be able to focus on the things that they're learning in the class. What what Ager or grade levels should children be. Re professionally what they say it's a really good. Ticket idiom they say from sort of prenatal to third grade. We learned to read and then from fourth grade on we read to learn think about patent yeah I mean in your own life thinking about that anybody's listening it's true. Until third grade we learn to read an after third grade we read to learn so if you're trailing behind. If you don't enter fourth grade Brady to really move forward fast. And you its impact on most impossible to stay conduct in fact we know that children are. Four times less likely. To graduate high school on time if they are not meeting at third grade grade levels so. That's an early intervention and that's an intervention we make we start actually even in the prenatal time with. With giving out hundreds of thousands of books to families just who need to read every single day with their children. I heard a story recently from one of our workers in the field who said that. They went to a parent's house and they were told that the only book they had in the house as the phone. Not everybody is as it's able to have a library of books for their children to read. Until we help provide that we help advocate the children go to preschool so that they are ready. To get into kindergarten to begin to learn to read so at that third grade marker. They're able to succeed and read at grade level. Now the services and and programs that you provided these for for kids of all ages and end all backgrounds in San Diego County here's just low income. Well it is strategic. So it is with for the kids who need it most in strategic locations that are ready for partnerships so. We have various partnerships around the county if you want I can do a little tour around San Diego County with you if you would like we have the city heights partnership for children. We have a partnership in Linda Vista for preschool. We have a partnership in distant with the dissed a partnership for children which is modeled after the city it's super exciting things happening at the Vista unified school district. We have a partnership in Santee and we have a partnership that is working with military families. In two Miller elementary school so. We have identified these places. That have not just the children of need because yes that's super important. But is also communities that are ready to support their children in need because it's not just united way we bring. All the partners who need to come together including the business community to support these children. And what else to do and and and his early grade literacy a big part of of what you do and when it comes to education there and it's what what else well your college career is the fact is our. As another focus I can't it's our second focus because there's so many of them. But it's a huge focus of forests. We are partly the conductors are among the conductors of the drum majors. Four at the California career partnerships. Trusts grants. And that is to grant that came through the state of California to fifteen school districts in San Diego county and seven community college district. And it's school is to create pathways. For middle school and high school. Into careers and this is not just into any career these are into three specific areas one is advanced manufacturing and then clean tech and tech. Careers and so you would say well like what does that mean. I'll tell you two things one is that kids don't know about these careers if your family isn't working and it if you don't have access to if you are in. Certain school districts where children's parents are more in service industries and less in the high tech industries you may not even know that these that this work. Exists so how would you know to get excited about it. Stick together with all of our partners in and the business community we've created a portal so the schools and teachers can make a connection with businesses let's say solar turbines which is. Among art. Among united ways most committed partners and then we can see if we're gonna bring kids to. The plants to solar turbines or solar to its executives are gonna come into the classroom and talk to students a students are gonna have internships for the summer. And it's all happening through this portal that we have created collectively. Through the partnership grants. So this is really very very exciting this is transform it is for children who may or may not ever have known that Korea's existed in advanced manufacturing or clean tech. Recent tech industries in arresting. And it's just those three with those three are for the grant says okay that is where we started because all of these things take innovation to partnership and they take funding as well. And so. Our grant allowed us to do something that is historical for San Diego and is create this portal and of course we will expand it as a grant. Sort of comes to its natural and we will expand it to other industries but it's a way that any teacher if you weren't teacher Gary in a classroom. And you said he wanted to see your children to be somehow your students to learn about clean tech and to relate to your lessons. To the clean tech industries. You can go to the portal and make that connection. In like immediately and then you would be able to engage with the company. Who would relate to you and your students and you could create an in class learning experience that would be relevant for your students. Imagine if you did that announcer for as geometry it's fantastic. If it really is a mentioned partnerships. At least partnership that many partnerships we have a lot of those add another one that you have is union united it's true. For hundreds of years actually more than a hundred years. The AFL CIO is about more than a hundred I think it's just 75 years but I think it's more than a hundred years because it feels like the partnership the stand strong. The AFL CIO and united way have patched. A memorandum of understanding which. For those of you don't know what that means it's just an agreement. And they agreement says. That we will agree to work together. To lift up families and working people the way that we worked together is to philanthropy to say that every went can be of philanthropists wherever you work whatever you do. You can be and have the dignity of being a philanthropist through united way. And the other way that we work together is that we provide services to specifically to working families and union families and those services are pretty deep. And some with their release because they're needed by working families we would while working families not need the services that continue. And so we have a food pantry where we give out actual food began about assistance for rent. For utilities. For medical bills. We help connect people with the county to services at their eligible for and we get out about 45000. Dollars. Of services and and food to about funny 500 families here and you mentioned earlier to and the stability. A big part again of what united ways San Diego County does. That plays a big part of child's education and success let's let's talk about that set and I wanna talk about that but I wanna go back to one of the things that union united cents a barrel up one minute there we don't mind. Union united also when you might have seen it on TV we have our. Partnership with the central labor counseling united way to do. The holiday food and toy drive and of course. We just did that in its and we have been a fantastic model where. Community members and union members lineup and families drive through in their cars and they give them a Turkey and all the fixing in their cars they attempted to Brenda. A Turkey and stuffing fixing on the Brad and everything that they need and then they drive around and we do this Qualcomm Stadium. And they go to the area where we're giving out toys and we had this big burly electrician who was among the men who are giving out toys this year. And he went he told me the story that he opened the doors the backdoor and we know the ages of the children so he gave an age appropriate bicycle he put it into the back door. And he said he'd never seen a child's smile that way is that that's Ali ever won it was a bicycle for Christmas. And this great. Big. Burly man had tears. Coming down his face and I realize that it made his Christmas as much as it made the child's Christmas fell I was just gonna say that an option kid lit up. But what he felt had to be on unreal that's that he said he said that he's that is among the best feelings of his life. So when we talk about family stability there's things that we do every day and like they're important. But what we do at the holidays it really changes. The the feeling families have about what they can do for their children because at least they sit down and have a real holiday dinner. And their children get age appropriate new toys and that's what parents who don't have much want to do for the exits right. You know so it's pretty amazing post as go back door I question ya I wanna do just that he was thought to break that I was wonderful. And to see an effect in that way it what it did attain them you don't think about that you know and now that's what it's exactly right like we thought about all the family. And then we saw the faces of people who were doing who are being the Santa Claus is truly being the Santa clauses. And I could see their holidays were completely transformed because when we give to other people. It gives back to us here many more time and that's right yeah yeah so so let's talk about fan of stability and what united way of San Diego County does in that area. So family stability. Really crucial for. Come forward children as you know and so our goal is truly to wrap those children in the services that they need and we want to do it. At the school site. Because school is where families are comfortable. All Stanley's. But there's an immigrant families or whether they're not immigrant families it doesn't matter. The neighborhood they live and everybody takes their children to school it's what they know they think of the bears school. And so we are trying to create this rapper rounds. I'm opportunity for families so that everything is available to them when they need it and that is in their schools and the placement they feel comfortable. And we help with family stability in the way we also have for very long time participated with the ITC. And tax assistance programs and if you are listening and don't know about ES TC there's an opportunity if you're eligible to get as much as 6000 dollars back that's your money. And your tax return. And so we participate with 25000. Families. To get tax money back on their tax returns and for the last year is the state of California has had a statewide EITC program as well. And so we're working with them to use the you can go to our website and find out how to get assistance with either doing your taxes. Or actually are you doing them yourself so you can still do your taxes yourself and be eligible for EITC. OK great now and and another thing to. There's so much that you do. It it is if there is now you can see why I wanted to come to united way ESPN it's really about families being not only self sustaining that children having futures. That they don't even know they want yet right and another thing you've got us here women's leadership council tells us that. That's a group that's been I think in existence about five years or even more than that and it was really started. By women in San Diego who said we want to understand and see what our philanthropy is doing. And so they get together and sometimes they defund the you know women like to get together. So sometimes they do really fun things together. But as part of what they do is they collect money together and they designate their money for the programs that we are supporting. And and as far as people wanting to help you with your your mission. How can how can people do that. A little. Other ways outside of like the women's leadership council what other ways that the now be well if you remember if you're old enough and you're listening you remember that at one time before united way was united way it was community chest. And you may have had in your schooler in your home a little. We college and you finished a summer rally with a with a ski ski but you have like a little camp for community chest and you would've raised funds for the community chest to support. The community. Because united way is based on that philosophy and the belief and I agree with it that every person can be a philanthropist every person can give whether it's a little or a lot. And so one of the ways that you can now united ways to support the program support the collective the collaborative work that we're doing in the community by. By donating to united way and then we also have volunteer opportunities and more and more volunteer opportunities as time goes on in our programs to. You want to read to children in the summer we have to reading in the heights. Summer program where we are trying to literally attack and that's a strong over the summer slide because when a child finishes school in June and doesn't start school September. If you're not reading with a child every day what's gonna happen for slide. So we have volunteers that read with children in the summer we hear there's all sorts of ways and you can go to our web site and look awesome to see how can I volunteer with united way. And going back to the the reading thing and as a child. In infancy and you should be read 111 book today. Well they say you know that the science and I'm not a scientist at the science says that our brains are mostly done by the time we are five years old. Like 90%. Caught marinate it like all the things happen to a brain right. And so if we want our children to be curious and ready to learn and hit that benchmark and third grade we need to be reading to our children. From almost the time their born like a bucket day in their remembrance and when we were kids it was an apple a day keeps the doctor wait a book a day can turn them into doctor's right. That's really how we should think about it is with the dark day. Kids can reach their full potential because they will be literate and actually just two weeks ago in the Los Angeles Times there was an article. About a Stanley who gave their children everything they took them everywhere they went to Disneyland went to the movies that that they didn't read with their children. And when their daughters started kindergarten she started behind. And they said if we had only known it would also read it wasn't that we were trying to with hold things from our children. We didn't know that we needed to be reading every day with our daughters and she would be ready to meet when she started kindergarten and even though. A child a year older or younger. Is not paying attention as and I haven't attention span is still picking it up and and learning and yet they might be eating the black you know how to take this thick books and the ticket in their mouth so there's more saliva and learning going on that. Still they get into the habit of sitting and reading and as they get older they do you pick more up. We know that our children our grandchildren pick Mora because we sit with them and whether they turned the book upside down or not upside down. They bring the book back and they want it you know read depth look at this right even if they can't talk or even if they just clicking you know you know more than more than everything with we know so much about how children developed and we wanna be careful and always. Now our focus is on children reading but I know that somebody who was about how to more holistic focus on children with say that. Everything that we do with our young children matters sits on preparing them for their license and to their future and when they're young it's the most important time again year your web site. Our website it is UW ST dot org you can volunteer. I UW ST dot org and you can learn about this that you WST dot org and we want to know our communities. Because our goal is to truly. Move the dial and and again somebody last may donation they can do that there's well we are happy to take donations we are grateful to donations I would be happy to sign a letter of gratitude to you okay and and there are other ways besides it cast nations that that people can help yen in it as far as donations. But there's some big plays that people can help a son as far as cash donations there is also stocks there's legacy gifts if you are. Thinking about how you wanna make a difference even after your life as your life would continue. On you can create a legacy gift. We can also sometimes takes some. Donations of items that more often are not what we're doing is with children. And it's more often than not I'm really that things that we need our cash donations so that we can. Create backpacks for children when they need them with a bright things and then when that time comes to go to school books for children into my mind as 40000 books a year but. It's not just any book their books that are you know ascertained by educate educators at the united best books for children to be insulin and things like that. Well great Lorie thanks for being on the showdown learned a lot about united way of San Diego County. Thank you for all you do there indefinitely due for our kids and families in San Diego can't. So I hope that the community joins us in supporting children because we all can say that children are futures but MS for actually give children future. Then they are not able to find what their real extremists. And those of us who are. At the place where we fulfilled our dreams and life and we meet had a chance to do what we really wanted to do we know how meaningful that is and every child deserves that opportunity every single child in San Diego County. And we're committed to help make that happen again thank you you're definitely making a difference. In the lives of many here thank you so much Gary nice to be with the best. Includes another edition of living better in San Diego the opinions expressed on living better and San Diego do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff and management of the out of town San Diego radio stations. Episodes of living veteran San Diego are available on the station's website join me next week when my guess will be from the national conflict resolution center. Until then I'm Jerry Lee have a great week.