Perhaps one of the silver linings during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the way that Community has stepped up to help those who are struggling the most. The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities has been well-documented. In San Diego alone, over 100,000 jobs have been lost over the course of the year – the majority of those by low wage earners, young workers and people of color. Transition age foster youth are among the most impacted by the economic fallout.

According to Don Wells, Chief Empowerment Officer for Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT), the hardship of this wage loss has reverberated across the JIT community manifesting itself, not just in a surge of Basic Needs requests like rent and grocery assistance, but psychologically – triggering the insecurity, isolation and uncertainty of a childhood spent in “the system.”

Four unique partners in San Diego decided they wanted to join with JIT to make a significant difference in the lives of young people who may have a shortage of safety net, but no shortage of motivation and determination. Each partner is playing a special role in this year’s adapted Walk the Talk annual celebration and fundraiser, with the fitting theme: Empower.

U.S. Bank
Financial Literacy
Walk the Talk Sustaining Sponsor U.S. Bank has allocated significant resources to Financial Fitness, which extends from basic money management to long-term financial stability and security. Gordon Boerner, Senior VP and Western U.S. Regional Banking Manager, tells us, “U.S. Bank employees will be serving as volunteers in workshops, panel discussions and one-on-one coaching. Our employees have a keen desire to share their ‘Community Possible’ expertise with young people who are eager to learn.”

Gretchen & Bill Morgan
Affordable Housing
Walk the Talk Presenting Sponsors Gretchen and Bill Morgan are providing the seed money for a scholarship fund called “Housing from the Heart.” Gretchen explains, “Bill and I are encouraging our friends and business associates to join us in providing temporary rent assistance to youth so they can put their full focus on reaching a major goal, such as a college degree or a certification in a trade.”

Capital Growth, Inc. and Art Molloy
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Walk the Talk Platinum Sponsor Art Molloy, President of Capital Growth, Inc., is focusing his attention on adverse childhood experiences. “We know now that ACEs cause lifelong health issues, which is why I’ve created a fund wholly dedicated to building resilience. I’m investing in Just in Time because it’s the first organization to create a strategic plan based on scientific research to mitigate the impact of ACEs on transition age foster youth.”

Sam & Pamela Webster
Community Awareness
Walk the Talk co-hosts Sam and Pamela Webster have four children, all of whom are currently making the transition to adulthood, so they know the challenges firsthand and, the way Sam sees it, “We want every young person to have the same support, the resources and relationships, that our own children have. We believe there are lots of San Diegans who feel the same way and will want to empower these young people to succeed.”

This year’s Walk The Talk event will take shape in a new and innovative way where everyone will feel safe, inspired, and empowered. Each EmPower party will accommodate 8 guests and 2 JIT participants, in either a virtual format, or live at the home of your choice, or at a Cohn Restaurant from March 26 through May 30 with a Grand Final on June 12.

www.jitfosteryouth.org