Did You Know?

We’re continuing to meet the increased demand from our participants to provide essential home furnishings through My First Home. The Encinitas Rotary Club recently invited us to their luncheon where they provided us with $2,000 in gift cards towards My First Home. If you’re interested in hosting a mini drive for gift cards or brand new home essentials, please reach out to Ivan@jitfosteryouth.org

January 13, 2022

Jan 15: Rise to Resilience Celebration

Jan 17:MLK Jr Day/JIT Offices Closed

Jan 26: Financial Fitness: Taxes

Jan 27: Coach Approach to Mentoring – Practice Session


financial fitness: Rewriting the script 

by virgo villajin

 “When I wasn’t in control of my financial health, I was in a survival mindset. I was scared to push myself and got stuck in the day to day. But once I was able to take classes and improve my situation, I started dreaming again. I began helping others, investing in my future and investing in a community.”                                                                                      – Nathaniel, Financial Fitness Coordinator.

Nathaniel reflects on how his lived experience is closely tied to his passion for supporting our participants through the service. From the beginning it seemed like a perfect fit for him. His intimate understanding with his own financial journey, lived experience in foster care and professional experience as a social worker all aligned with the possibilities at Just in Time.

The Financial Fitness series focuses on helping our participants at different levels of financial stability get control of their financial health. They begin with Financial Fitness 101 or 102 where they focus on the essentials of budgeting and establishing a safety net, ultimately graduating into Financial Fitness 103 where the focus is on investing and growing their assets. And because of JIT’s investment matching program, a participant may graduate from the series with a safety net of $600 and $9,000 for investing plus a lifelong connection to a coach that has seen them through the 2+ year commitment.

 Nathaniel shares, “When a youth completes the series, my hope is that they have a coach they can rely on for the years to come, increased understanding of how their backgrounds can lead to maladaptive financial behavior and how to correct them, and that they feel empowered to start building generational wealth.” He believes that while some people might view finances as numbers and spreadsheets only, relationships must come first. It takes a high level of trust to let someone help you with your finances because it’s not something people are comfortable always sharing. Though they may feel ashamed or embarrassed for previous missteps in their financial journey, it’s important to share those things because the coaches can only help if they’re in the loop. 

 As a new father, Nathaniel has also been positively impacted by coordinating the service. “It’s helped me feel more confident in my ability to plan for myself and others. I haven’t achieved all of my goals yet but every step I take moves my son Ezra towards those goals and building generational wealth. I’m breaking the cycle of foster care and neglect.” 

 Two recent graduates share their experience with Financial Fitness.

 Samantha Harmer: “When I first began the program, I was incredibly intimidated by ROTH IRA’s, and 401Ks. Now, I have my own retirement fund, and I feel confident in my ability to continue to put away money and save for my future.”

Caleb Rendon: “Now I have the chance to be self-sustainable and independent financially. Financial Fitness is a service that all foster youth should go through to better prepare them when coming out of the system. Thank you to those that make this happen for our community.”


Bridges to success: Day of reflection

by Amy Blum

Mindfulness and meditation was the focus of a recent Bridges to Success event in Liberty Station.  JIT’s Youth Services Coordinator Bryan Mancera explains the intention of this group outing was to introduce these concepts to the young men of JIT and for those with experience in meditation and mindfulness to share their journeys. One of our volunteers Jim McIIhon shared that meditation has been a turning point in his life and that he would highly recommend it to anyone. 

The Bridges to Success group of participants and coaches had the opportunity to explore mindfulness which is the practice of paying attention, noticing without judgment, and being present in whatever you’re doing. By practicing mindfulness, we learn to be actively involved in these activities instead of allowing our minds to wander. The benefit of being aware of our thoughts and emotions is that we can transform those emotions. That transformation can take the form of changing, lessening, or gaining insight about them.

JIT’s DeRahn Johnson led the group through a relaxing and introspective meditation session in a quiet yoga room at the Point Loma Sports Club. After the meditation session, the group shared lunch and reflections on the day and the experience. For some, this was the first time they’ve taken the time to enjoy a quiet space to dedicate time towards mindfulness. Participant Josue Rendon shared, “it was a calm space to be in where I can sit down and take time for myself. I haven’t had the chance recently to be aware of everything around me, I feel like my mind is always on go, go, go and this event let me be present.”