JOIN HANDS SAVE A LIFE
Geographic Area Served: North San Diego County
Project Summary: This year we Celebrate our 20th Anniversary!
For 20 years we have worked full time (actually overtime) providing free services to some of the lowest income youth North County has to offer. And if we learned one thing over the past 20 years its that if you want to reach these at-risk youth in a positive way you have to treat them with the respect we ourselves want to be treated with. No one wants to be dissected, policed, spied on, kept track of, logged, file cased or put in a box. As Americans we value freedom many have fought and died or were injured for that freedom (including some of the youth we served). Remembering back to my own youth it was not the overzealous individuals or organizations that wanted to monitor my every move that helped me most. But it was the positive individuals & groups that provided daily activities I enjoyed and inspirational goals I wanted to accomplish. By providing a free after school and weekend programs we accomplish our goals daily. Each day a youth comes he or she gets healthier, stays out of trouble, makes positive friends and learns to create a healthy lifestyle. Time is better spent mentoring and helping youth then in an office investigating.
For 20 years! Join Hands Save A Life has served as a safe haven, home away from home and a surrogate family in North San Diego County. JHSAL originally started to combat the growing number of juvenile health, drug, alcohol, gang and crime problems. The youth needed a safe place to go where they felt at home and were able to get involved in constructive activities on a consistent daily basis during the high crime hours. Economic hardship being one of the most accurate predictors of terrible diets, poor health, and criminal behavior. It has been our goal to help relive stress in the homes of the lowest income families by providing free services for their youth.
Our Mission is to provide free constructive alternatives for the “at-risk” low-income youth in our community. Those that meet in the streets with no place to go and nothing to do. That out of boredom or a search for excitement or temporary pleasure. Will not turn to destructive behavior like: lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, recreational drug experimentation, alcohol abuse, smoking, graffiti, robbery or gang violence.
Since our inception JHSAL has served an average of 250 individual youths resulting in over 5,000 youths visits on an annual basis. JHSAL serves as a beacon of hope to deter young people from negative life choices and encourage them to partake in constructive activities that will expand their minds, bodies, souls and overall health.
Describe the need or problem to be addressed.
We have a health crisis among the youth in North County. We have a budget crisis in school districts and cities across the county. School districts have lowered Physical Education (PE) requirements. During 4 years high schools only require 2 years of PE. In most cities most gyms and athletic fields have become rentals. Thus low-income youth have fewer affordable choices in regards to physical activities.
Lack of exercise & poor diet are often the cause of: Obesity, Overweight, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Mental and physical health problems. We need to prevent these health problems before they start because we as a society will not be able to afford the costs involved healthcare as the chronically ill become younger and younger. Plus from a humanistic viewpoint we can avoid a lot of pain and suffering if we solve problems before they begin.
Join Hands Save A Life provides 100% free services; our expenses regarding operations are very low. We are a cost effective way of solving problems before they begin we take corrective actions on the onset of these negative health issues.
Our target population.
We target the most “at-risk” low-income youth in North County with the highest risk factors regarding health & fitness, education, and criminal justice. Youth of all ethnicities are welcome but we primarily serve low-income Hispanic youth. Hispanic youth struggle more with obesity,& overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, incarcerations and peer pressures to join gangs. We target teens aged 13 to 19 the average age has been about 16 years old. JHSAL serves on average, 100 to 150 at-risk youth weekly. We are located in Barrio Carlos, 3530 Madison Street, Carlsbad, CA 92008.
Goals and objectives.
JHSAL’S goal is to improve the mental and physical health and well being of each participant.
Our goal is to provide free services for low-income youth.
Our goal is to reduce stress in low-income families by not charging fees.
Our goal is to introduce friends who are a positive influence.
Our goal is to help them create a healthy lifestyle.
Our goal is to change bad habits into good ones.
Our goal is to keep youth out of juvenile hall, jail and prison.
Our goal is to save tax payer funds by reducing incarcerations.
Our goal is to save society money by reducing health care bills.
Our objective is to develop a daily exercise program to produce health & fitness.
Our objective is to develop a healthy diet for overall well being.
Our objective is to prevent serious health problems before they develop.
Our objective is to develop healthy alert youth who do well in school.
Our objective is to develop confident youth to enter the work force.
Our objective is to prevent crime before it comes to fruition.
Our objective is to develop friendships that last a lifetime.
Our activities include; exercise, aerobics, weight-lifting, walking, jogging, running, martial arts, boxing, jump rope, dance, hiking, fishing, field trips, community service, work projects, mentoring, conflict resolution, diet, nutrition, art, music, homework, baseball, football, basketball, soccer, free physicals, fundraisers, youth board meetings, clean-up and BBQ’s.
We believe in the saying “if its not broke don’t fix it”. We have been serving youth and providing programs for 20 years our implementation was yesterday, is today and will be tomorrow.
Ways in which your program/approach is unique to other programs.
First & foremost our services are 100% free to the youth and their families. We have long hours of daily operation from 2pm to 10pm, in addition we offer weekend activities. Many of the youth who participated 20 years ago are now Board Members, mentors, volunteers and role models. This creates a family like environment where the youth and their families have know our personal for years and they have earned the respect & trust over the years.
Our plan to measure success of meeting objectives/outcomes.
It’s important to understand that programs such as ours and other similar 501c3 non-profit corporation’s are “drop in” in nature. Thus the participant has the right to come and go as they please, we cannot prevent anyone from leaving at anytime. This has its advantages as we are not bound by the paperwork involved with policing thus giving us more time to spent quality time with the youth.
As a youth I did not trust nor did I feel comfortable around individuals or organizations that tried to monitor my life. The youths are free to come and go so there is a trust and respect factor that must be earned
Our measure of success is determined daily, when a youth comes any given day he or she is staying out of trouble, becoming healthier, is associating with positive peers and role models each day in itself is a success story. Let me explain it like this; when I played little league baseball it was not my coach creating a case file that helped me. It was the daily practice that made me healthier; it was the games that installed confidence. The success of youth sports such as soccer, football, baseball, basketball, swimming, dance, boxing and martial arts is the fact that the youth exercise daily, meet positive friends and are too busy to get in trouble.
There’s an old saying “Keep it simple stupid” youth need a positive daily affordable activity. Please, think back on your youth what really helped you the most growing up?
That being said we do mentor the youth in regards to diet and nutrition. We do monitor their weight and fitness level. We do encourage youth to keep a daily log of what they eat how it affected them and what form of exercise & fitness was accomplished that day.
How do we plan to sustain this program in future years?
20th Anniversary Join Hands Save A Life Barrio Fiesta billed as “Peace Sunday”. Will be held on August 21, 2011 this will be our first annual fundraiser that will grow each year. This will be a large event held at Pine Park, there will be live bands, dancers, car, motorcycle and art shows, foods, drinks, refreshments, vendor booths This will become an annual event to raise funds for our free programs.
In addition we are gathering support for our first annual golf tournament and talent show.
These two major fundraisers will be in addition to our Dinner Auction, Casino Night; Bi-annual Fair Parking Lot Sales which have already exist yearly.
In addition we will write more grants and seek more community involvement which will allow us to successfully grown and become more self sustaining.