Several members of our community hold a local charity or non-profit close to their heart. In their own words, here are their sentiments regarding their charity of choice. If you have any questions regarding any of the organizations listed here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with the BC alumni supporting the organization.
San Diego Youth Services Storefront: Patrick Mulkern ’11
I work for San Diego Youth Services Storefront, the only emergency youth shelter in San Diego County. We work with homeless, runaway, and exploited youth between the ages of 12 and 17. I started working at Storefront as a Jesuit Volunteer, but fell in love with the program and got hired as staff after my JV commitment.
Storefront does incredible work transitioning youth to long-term stable options. Our main focus is establishing physical and emotional safety for youth who have experienced various traumas. These traumatic events range from abuse and neglect, to witnessing domestic violence, to experiencing homelessness. Storefront transitions roughly 45 percent of the youth we work with to permanent housing which is usually back with family members, and 90 percent to long term stable housing. Storefront staff are incredible and help youth with accessing education, medical appointments, employment, and everyday independent living skills. This time of year is particularly difficult for the youth we work with and for that reason all staff spend at least two hours on Thanksgiving and at least two hours on Christmas at Storefront where there is an all day buffet and party for the holidays. We want our youth to know how special they are to us. Living 3000 miles away from home can be difficult on the holidays, but Storefront is such a special place and the youth are such resilient, funny, caring people that it makes it so much easier.
For more information on San Diego Youth Services Storefront; click here.
Cancer Angels: Greg Cortese JD ’74
Cancer Angels of San Diego was founded to address the horrific reality that more than two-thirds of cancer patients cannot pay for the basic necessities of life while fighting cancer. These patients cannot stand in line at a food bank for hours or do what other needy but healthy people can. Cancer Angels helps this population of once hard-working people stay in their homes, have nourishing food, and access to lifesaving treatments.
Stage IV cancer is no longer an immediate death sentence; it is a long battle that necessitates chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments that prevent the patient from being able to work. Imagine losing your job today, having no source of income, and being too sick to work to pay your rent, buy groceries, utilities and purchase fuel to get to treatments. In San Diego County alone, there are more than 4,000 Stage IV cancer patients in this situation. Cancer Angels of San Diego is the only 501c3 in the country that helps patients for as long as they need us. We prevent homelessness and starvation, and extend the lives of these vulnerable people as they choose to fight to live. Without our help, they say, they would prefer to die than be a burden to their families. With our help, they continue their medical protocol and are able to live without the unthinkable stress of worrying if they will have a home and be able to feed their families.
All payments are made directly to providers and receipts are gathered for all food and gas cards, so that the patient never has access to the money. We are 100 percent volunteer and have our office space donated, along with printing, by Visioninfosoft, a local business.
For more information or to make a donation to Cancer Angels; click here.
Voices for Children: Bob Nascenzi ’78
I have been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in the Voices for Children program for about 18 months. This time of year is really hard on the foster kids. When I take my case child on an outing, I often see him staring at other children who are with their mothers and fathers. Many of these kids have no family at all and if they do, have been abused. With the average case load of a social worker over 400 kids, foster children need someone to advocate for them in the courtroom, classroom and their foster/group home.
Many of my case children have had very difficult life circumstances, and having someone care about them — who isn’t being paid to do so — can make a big difference. Right now, I am trying to get one of my children into the right educational environment since he is failing every class. Without a CASA, he would just be pushed through the educational system. (Believe it or not, they don’t hold kids back anymore for failing. A parent or person holding educational rights has to request that they be held back.)
We should all be thankful for our families and the support we received growing up. Unfortunately, too many children are alone in this world.
For more information about Voices for Children; click here.
Father Joe’s Villages – St. Vincent de Paul’s Village San Diego: Ken Roos ’85 and Wendy Roos ’85
Father Joe’s Villages started as a small chapel serving San Diego’s growing homeless population more than 60 years ago. Fr. Joe’s vision for transforming lives and ending the cycle of homelessness by providing housing, healthcare, food, clothing, education, job training and child development in an “one-stop-shop” approach has been so successful that it is being modeled in many other major cities in America. Father Joe’s Villages and partner agencies such as St. Vincent de Paul Village, Martha’s Village & Kitchen, and Toussaint Academy for Teens provide a continuum of care to nearly 1,500 individuals everyday and serve up to 4,000 meals every day, many of them to children and military veterans.
Our family has had the very good fortune to be involved with Father Joe’s Villages for many years and supporting Fr. Joe and his mission has allowed us to help those working hard to help themselves. Our journey started with tutoring young children housed at St. Vincent de Paul over 25 years ago. With our own family and friends, we have volunteered to serve meals for San Diego’s homeless neighbors at the Joan Kroc Center or Paul Mirabile Center or worked with the many teens at Toussaint Academy.
Even in retirement, Fr. Joe has a special affinity for the teens at Toussaint, and we have worked with him on fundraisers and events to help these amazing kids. The teens have taken themselves out of unimaginable situations and is each going to school, working and volunteering in the community . . . then going on to college.
If you would more information about Father Joe’s Villages – St. Vincent de Paul’s Village San Diego; click here.
Anza-Borrego Foundation: Bill McDonald ’68
I serve as a volunteer for the Anza-Borrego Foundation, the organization that supports the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in northeast San Diego County. The park is the largest state park in California and its grounds are the habitat of more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. Nearly two million visitors, from around the world, come to the park each year.
The mission of Anza-Borrego Foundation is to protect and preserve the natural landscapes, wildlife habitat, and cultural heritage of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The foundation, working with such institutions as University of California, Irvine, conducts and supports programs for land acquisition, stewardship, education, interpretation, and research.
For more information about the Anza-Borrego Foundation; click here.