JIT Steps in so Youth Don’t Feel Isolated During Pandemic


Pandemic brings more isolation to San Diego’s foster youth

 By Rachel Biano, KGTV

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — Growing up in foster care can be lonely enough and the holidays and the pandemic can make life feel even more isolating.

Shatayja Beck knows that feeling all too well.

“I didn’t know where I was going to go. I thought I was going to be there forever, and then finally somebody told me about SPA, and it just sounded like the best place, really I was like sign me up,” said Beck.

Shatayja lived in the honor’s house and played just about every sport offered. She graduated from SPA in 2017.

“When I was younger, I didn’t even think I was really going to make it to college, I was like high school and, that’s it,” said Shatayja.

Not only did she graduate high school, but she says she also had several college scholarship options. Currently, she’s a student at Grossmont College. Her passion is photography and she works as a security guard.

“When I went to SPA, I felt like I could be myself, and I found out who I really was, how I wanted to dress. and how I wanted to be,” said Shatayja.

Perhaps, just as frightening as entering the foster system is leaving it.

“There is the experience of, ‘good luck, you’ve turned 18.’ The system is no longer responsible. We hope that you learn everything that you’ve needed to to make this transition successful,” said Simone Hidds-Monroe.

Hidds-Monroe knows that feeling all too well. She graduated from SPA in 2009.

She and her three siblings entered foster care after their mom died. They stayed together, and all graduated from the academy.

“There is such a relief when you meet another former foster youth. It’s like this unspoken connection that you really understand,” said Hidds-Monroe, who is now the associate director of youth services for Just in Time for Foster Youth…

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