Just in Time for Foster Youth envisions a future in which every youth leaving the foster care system has access to a Community of caring adults after 18. They believe forging consistent, lasting relationships is the foundation for the success of our youth so they can thrive and enjoy productive, satisfying lives. It is caring adults, like Pilar and Luis that make all the difference defining the future of foster youth.
When Pilar Meza first heard about Just in Time for Foster Youth from her dear friend and Giving Back Magazine’s very own Danitza Villanueva, she was eager to get involved. Just in Time serves and supports transition age foster youth ages 18-26 to become resilient and self-sufficient. Upon meeting the organization’s participants, Meza was instantly hooked. “The rest was history,” she says. Over the past year, Meza has become a coach and mentor to a former foster youth and Just in Time participant. She recently led a virtual boxing class, which was a big hit with participants and volunteers. “Ever since I started volunteering, I have grown to love the organization more and more. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing organization!” As a community leader and advocate for youth, Meza is a great addition to the Just in Time Board of Directors which she recently joined. The Rancho Santa Fe resident is currently on the award-winning real estate team of Eric Iantorno at Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, specializing in selling luxury real estate in San Diego. Clearly, creating and giving back to the community is Meza’s passion and strength.
Fellow Just in Time Board Member and Point Loma resident Luis Valencia-Moreno shares Meza’s passion for building stronger communities. After moving to San Diego in 2002 and becoming an attorney, Valencia-Moreno worked with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego where he represented hundreds of low-income individuals, many of whom were Spanish-speaking. Valencia-Moreno is currently an attorney with SoCal Realty Law, specializing in real estate. Since joining the Just in Time board, Valencia-Moreno has provided pro-bono legal advice to participants with issues related to landlord/tenant law and provided general guidance to navigate the very technical and confusing laws that apply to residential tenancies. Despite a busy law practice and becoming a new father, Valencia-Morena is committed to being a mentor to help foster youth overcome the many obstacles they face in life. Growing up, a close friend struggled in foster care and though now a successful adult, she has faced ongoing challenges. “My relationship with my friend caused me to reflect on how fortunate I am to have the love and support of my family,” says Luis. “I cannot overstate how important my family and mentors have been in helping me to realize my potential.” And now Luis is giving back by serving as a volunteer and joining a reliable community of committed adults.
To become a volunteer or to learn more about Just in Time for Foster Youth please visit www.jitfosteryouth.org.