Efforts to create access to resources, establish engaging support systems and provide opportunities for academic and cultural growth are opening educational doors for residents that may have otherwise been closed to many in need. Each of these endeavors are creating a positive impact on the Live Well San Diego Education Indicator.
BY THE NUMBERS
SUCCESS STORIES INFLUENCING KNOWLEDGE
Critical resources and support systems are helping to increase student achievement in school and are successfully preparing youth for graduation, college and a career. The San Diego Council on Literacy distributed over 6,000 new books and 400 sets of The Reading Game to families in need, including youth in the Southeastern Community. The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, in partnership with the County of San Diego and The Molina Foundation, distributed over 3,000 books through the Food-4-Kids Backpack program. Walden Family Services raised over $36,000 to provide foster care youth the stability and assistance needed to continue their education. San Diego Unified School District reached 650 graduating seniors at the first African American Post-Graduation Success Summit, an event at San Diego City College aimed at promoting success after high school and demystifying the college experience. Barrio Logan College Institute is preparing underserved students to be the first in their families to go to college through after school programs that include leadership, mentoring and parent engagement, setting students up for success beginning in the third grade. San Diego County Credit Union, San Diego County Office of Education and iHeartMedia supplied 6,000 backpacks and 200,000 school supplies to homeless students in San Diego County.
Programs are also enriching education through arts and health education. California Center for the Arts Escondido provided 13,974 students and 14,684 adults with hands-on art education and experiences that foster intellectual stimulation and expand their capacity to visualize and imagine. Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is empowering students and families from diverse backgrounds to be healthy and active citizens through organic gardening, environmental stewardship, and nutrition education using their new Teaching Kitchen.
MAKING IMPACT PERSONAL
Joseph’s journey through foster care began at age five, when his mother’s incarceration led to his placement in six different group homes. During Joseph’s early years, stress and medication caused him to gain a significant amount of weight. As a result, his behavior and school performance suffered.
“I remember telling my therapist four specific things,” explained Joseph. “I wanted to get off all the medication I was placed on. I wanted to get out of special education. I wanted to graduate high school on time. And the last thing, and I think it was the most important, is that I didn’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps.”
As Joseph began to take charge of his life, it began to change. He started doing better in school. When he reached the 9th grade, he got out of special education and off all medications. He got involved in sports and started volunteering with his church. And at age 13, Joseph found his forever family with the help of Walden Family Services.
“At age 13, I believed I was going to be in a group home until I turned 18,”said Joseph when he learned he would be placed with a family. “Life was perfect for me. It couldn’t have been better. I was doing well in school and on pace to graduate on time. I lost probably 50 pounds that summer.”
Since then, Joseph has graduated high school and has gone on to receive three associates’ degrees. He is attending California State University, Dominguez Hills.
READ MORE STORIES INFLUENCING KNOWLEDGE