Community Connections

San Diego Foster Youth Current Events

February 22, 2023

Meet Mentor Pairing, Antonio & Craig!

All it takes is one caring mentor to inspire foster youth to become a mentor for their peers. Meet, Guardian Scholar, and Youth2Youth Mentor, Antonio and his Mentor, Craig! They have been paired for 3 years. Antonio and his brother entered care at 3 years old due to alcohol abuse. During his time in foster care, he was separated from his brother, and lived in 7 different placements, including the A.B. and Jessie’s Polinsky Children’s Center (PCC).

Today, Antonio and his mentor, Craig have a fantastic relationship. They frequently spend time together by going out to lunch, watching movies, and most of all, talking about life. Craig never fails to encourage Antonio and give him advice when he needs a sounding board. Antonio truly feels as if he would not be where his in life, without his mentor’s advice. He is thankful that Craig is only a text away, helping him reach his full potential. Not only has Craig encouraged and advised Antonio, but he has also inspired him to become a mentor for other foster youth.

Antonio is a part of the Youth2Youth peer mentor program, where former foster youth are able to speak from lived experience, so they are able to better understand, communicate, and support current foster youth. At PCC, Antonio mentors 5 youth, offering them advice and connecting them to resources. “It would be difficult to thank Craig enough for everything he has done for me,” shared Antonio. “Craig has always guided me in the proper direction. He has shown me how to mentor others through his mentorship.” To our dedicated mentors like Antonio and Craig, thank you for choosing to be a part of a foster youth’s life! You are truly an inspiration!

Guardian Scholar Makayla Highlights Black Cultural Group on ABC10 News

In honor of Black History Month, Guardian Scholar Makayla Scott and our Director of Programs, Rashida Elimu, were featured on @abc10news News to discuss Guardian Scholars Black Group.

Makayla spoke about her experience in the group and how the program helps to establish a common community. The Black Group helps her strengthen her identity with people from shared backgrounds.

Rashida also spoke to the group’s goals to bring a sense of belonging for students that statistically weren’t raised with people that look like them. Watch how the group incorporates elements of black culture into the group, including sharing special meals together.

Men’s & Women’s Leadership Network Practice Making Connections at a Mixer Event

If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there – Robert Kiyosaki.

On Wednesday, Guardian Scholars, coaches, and community leaders gathered for the Men’s & Women’s Leadership Networking Mixer.

Students honed their networking skills with games and icebreakers that focused on working those conversational muscles that come in handy when making connections.

The room was addressed by Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream Owner and Promises2Kids CEO Advisory Councilmember, AJ Williams, who offered some of his personal success story as well as how and why he still makes networking a central part of his life.

Professional headshots were also taken to give Guardian Scholars a chance to look their very best when getting their names out there.

It was thrilling to see students put into practice all the amazing skills they have been working on all year!

Guardian Scholar Alum & Business Owner, Juliana, is Living Her Best Life

Meet Juliana, a Guardian Scholars Alumni! She entered foster care when she was 3 years old, due to her mother being unable to care for her. She joined the program in 2008, her senior year of high school, to help meet her educational goals.

With the help of our generous community, Juliana graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. She is thankful to Promises2Kids for supporting her throughout college financially, but is most appreciative for the support system that she’s received since day one, and is still receiving today, 18 years later. She recalls how easy it could have been for her to feel lonely, and confused as a first-year college student away from home, but she knew she could always count on Promises2Kids to lean on for support.

Even after all these years, she still keeps in contact with her coordinator, Stephanie Ortega, who is now Promises2Kids’ Chief Operating Officer, and feels as if she is a part of her family. Stephanie has supported Juliana since she was 17 years old, everything from applying to universities to taking her to lunch when she got her first corporate job.

Now 35, Juliana is an amazing mother to two children, is engaged, and owns a successful small business selling macarons. Juliana is a true inspiration and is proof that beating the odds is possible with support, hard work, and determination. Go show her support, by following her page @themacaronshopsd on social media!

“My advice to foster youth is to utilize every resource you possibly can and stay focused,” shared Juliana. “Go to college… going to college is your ticket into the corporate world, and starting your own business.”

Siblings Reunited for a Special Day on the High Seas for a Fishing Trip

Anchors away!

Camp Connect set sail this weekend and took 30 youth out on a half-day Deep Sea Fishing trip in the open waters of San Diego. Brothers & sisters were treated to calm seas and sunshine, and no one got seasick.

Most of the youth reeled in their own catch by themselves. One of our long-time volunteers, Mike, even caught a shark, which he threw back. If the fish was big enough, the youth were free to take it home. Some of the older youth were looking forward to frying up their fresh catches.

Those who weren’t fishing enjoyed feeding the birds and sea lions the extra anchovies., and they loved getting to see the ocean creatures up close. The highlight for many was when a pod of dolphins joined our party and swam alongside the boat, putting on a show for our youth.

On the way home, brothers and sisters watched arm in arm as downtown San Diego lit up in the golden sunset.

It was a wonderful day for siblings to experience new things together and it was made possible by supporters like you!

Your Support Gives Youth Like Nadia the Gift of Independence

Nadia entered care when she was 9 years old due to severe neglect. She is now 17 years old, and like many teenage girls, she likes to go shopping and buy new clothes. Instead of asking for new clothes, or the newest gadget, Nadia requested items to better prepare for her future.

To ease the transition into adulthood, Nadia is starting to collect items for her future apartment. Thanks to the generous support of our community, through Foster Funds, we were able to grant her request and purchased kitchen items such as a flatware set, an air fryer oven, and a cookware set. She saw this as a great opportunity to furnish her future living space. When the packages arrived, she could hardly wait to open them! Nadia was happy to receive household items that she could have for years to come.

Because of supporters like you, foster children like Nadia are provided the opportunity to start the lives they want to lead.