10 Things About Valerie Sussman & Just in Time for Foster Youth


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”— Lau Tzu.

The mission of Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT), is to engage a caring community to help transition age foster youth achieve self-sufficiency and well-being. Valerie Sussman is a volunteer coach/mentor to ex-foster youth at JIT and currently has a one-on-one relationship with eight mentees.



#1 I grew up in Los Angeles, in Studio City, where I yearned to be near the coast (which I now am).


#2 I love, love, love to travel. If you ask me to go somewhere with you, I will likely say yes.


#3 I REALLY want to learn how to dance – ballroom, shuffle, salsa, anything! I recently participated in a dance flash mob, which was crazy fun!


#4 You can find me reading when I have free time. I usually have 2-3 books going at a time.


#5 Several years ago, I worked as a Pediatrician in a medical clinic at a shelter for abused and neglected youth. I remember wondering, “What happens to these youth when they age out of the foster care system?” I have raised three sons of my own, and they were not ready to make their way in the world at age 18 without tremendous support and guidance. Nor was I at 18.




#6 When I moved to San Diego four years ago, I was determined to volunteer in some capacity as a mentor to ex-foster youth. That first week here, I came across an article about JIT. That is what I call synchronicity!


#7 From one-day events to long-term coaching relationships, JIT has volunteer opportunities that fit your availability and experience.


#8 Anyone living in San Diego County, between ages 18-26, who has EVER spent time in foster care, is eligible to receive JIT services.


#9 JIT envisions a future in which every youth leaving the foster care system has a community of caring adults waiting for them after age 18. JIT believes that consistent, long-term help from the heart is the foundation for the success of our youth so they can thrive and enjoy productive, satisfying lives.


#10 By filling gaps in key areas and mobilizing the San Diego community as an extended family for foster youth, JIT is providing a foundation of support for youth struggling to gain equitable access to emergency resources, transportation, housing, education, financial literacy resources, mental health support and employment opportunities. Together, we are partnering to break the cycle of foster care, now and for generations to come!




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Esteban Villanueva