Linda & Mel Katz, Advocates of Children's Mental Health
When you think of memories that brought joy to your childhood, what would they be?
Would it be the joy of riding your bicycle down a hill as the wind kissed your skin? The feeling of being invincible as you ran around wearing a superhero cape? Or, perhaps making mud pies as you laughed about how dirty you were getting?
For Linda and Mel Katz, beautiful memories come to mind when they think about what brought joy to their childhood.
"I think my most memorable memory is belonging to a teen youth group. It was a group of teens of all backgrounds, religious affiliations, gender, sexual orientations, and socio-economic status and physical abilities. It taught me the concept of giving back to your community and helping others, all while having fun,” says Mel.
Linda, who has called San Diego home for over 40 years reflects on her fondest memory. “Having grown up in Arizona, we loved our annual summer vacation in Oceanside. We saved all year long, so we could spend two weeks every August. We enjoyed this tradition from the time I was a baby through high school. Heading north along Highway 101, I remember coming upon Torrey Pines State Beach Park, which was the first time we could see and smell the ocean."
Although, Linda and Mel were fortunate to experience the joys of childhood and in turn, help create positive memories for their now three adult children and five grandchildren, they know all too well that many in our community do not have that same privilege.
Too many children are unfortunately robbed of that joy due to factors beyond their control. It may be due to experiencing abuse and trauma, being neglected by their parents, feeling depression or anxiety, or being bullied because of being different.
Due to their unyielding commitment to giving back, Linda and Mel work passionately to advocate for our community’s at-risk and underserved youth. In addition to their many philanthropic contributions, Linda and Mel have assumed yet another leadership role as Honorary Chairs for the San Diego Center for Children’s 132nd Anniversary Celebration event.
“We strive to make San Diego Center for Children a household name and reduce stigma around mental health. The more we know about mental, emotional and behavioral health, the more we understand,” the couple shared with Giving Back Magazine. “This 132nd Anniversary Celebration is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Center’s accomplishments and support from the community and help spread the word.”
On May 11, 2019, guests will celebrate a night under the stars at Humphreys by the Bay in the spirt to provide the joys of childhood to youth served by the Center, San Diego’s oldest children’s nonprofit. The Center helps over 1,000 children and families every day across 8 program sites in the county through a range of nationally accredited therapeutic, educational, foster care and transition age services.
“Who we are is a compilation of our family life and joys of childhood. We savor time with our family and cherish ‘making memories’ with this next generation. The Center is dedicated to helping all children, regardless of mental, emotional or behavioral health issues, find and experience what brings them joy. There can be no greater gift."
For information about the Center, and tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the 132nd Anniversary Celebration, visit www.centerforchildren.org/celebration.