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Empowering Youth to Feel

Confident, Capable & Connected 

Did You Know?

– Our NEXTjobs service launched in 2020.

NEXTjobs stands for “New, Entrepreneurship, X/Unknown, Trades” and is part of our Pathways to Financial Power service.

Last year, JIT served 177 youth across all career support/services, including 65 NEXTjobs participants. 

WWU Did you Know stat 30%
May 18, 2022

May 19:  Volunteer Services

  • Volunteer Info Session

May 21:  Bridges to Success

  • Networking Outing

May 21:  Career Horizons

  • Training Session

May 23:  Financial Fitness 102

  • Investments

Empower Parties

Just in Time is in the midst of our Empower Party season!

Empower Parties, funded by Sponsors from our community, serve the dual role of providing JIT participants with networking opportunities and raising awareness and funds for the JIT mission. 

The experience has been powerful for many of the participants. JIT participant Stephen Thomas attended two events recently, including one with his sister Shannyn, who first introduced him to Just in Time.  When asked about his experience, Stephen says, “It’s hard to put it into words.  Talking to people I wouldn’t run into in my daily life, being able to attend an event like that, and engaging in conversation with high-quality individuals is so rewarding.” 

Stephen commented that the Empower Parties, on top of his experience as a JIT Shark Tank competitor, have boosted his self-confidence. “Before, I put myself in a box, limited by past experiences. These opportunities have lifted me up and improved my self-esteem. I’ve discovered a newfound value in myself.” 

The guests really enjoyed spending the evening with Stephen and his sister, too. They had a conversation with Shannyn about her upcoming job interview and how to nail it.  

Empower Party 2022Rob and Erin Gaan, employees of Sponsor Christopher Weil & Company, with Stephen Thomas and JIT Staff Member Jess Loya at the Triton Catamaran Empower Party.

S Stephen and his sister Shannyn Thomas with JIT Sponsors Ellen and Bob Svatos and Dan and Sue Carter.

 Stephen and his sister Shannyn Thomas with JIT Sponsors Ellen and Bob Svatos and Dan and Sue Carter. 

Morgans on the Triton

Bill and Gretchen Morgan, long-time volunteers and supporters, hosted one of our Empower Parties on the Tritan Catamaran.

Guest at Empower Party

B2S at the Empower PartyBridges to Success for Young Men 2022 cohort at the Coasterra Empower Party

At another Empower Party, participants in our Bridges to Success for Young Men cohort sat at a table with JIT board member Dan Fulkerson and board candidate John Armantrout. B2S Leader Bryan Mancera said their table was having so much fun, everyone wanted to get in on the action!  Empower Party planner Diane Cox told us, “They were a vortex of positive energy!” 

In addition to the in-person parties, Community Outreach Partner Caitlin Radigan is currently scheduling Virtual Empower Parties through June 30th. A virtual interactive party lasts 45 minutes and celebrates the accomplishments and impacts made possible by the JIT Community. They are fun and inspiring, and we have multiple days and times available! If you’d like to join in, contact Caitlin Radigan caitlin@jitfosteryouth.org or 619-218-9781. 

Nextjobs: An update on Aveena De La Cruz

Aveena de la cruz

Last August, we introduced you to Aveena and her transformational story. Fast forward nine months, Aveena has been able to add more experience to her professional tool belt. After completing JIT’s Pathways to Financial Power and NEXTjob services, she spent some time conducting informational interviews with various professionals in the hospitality industry, which helped her gain knowledge, add to her professional network, and find her true “calling.” 

While conducting informational interviews, Aveena landed an internship with an organization called Akbayan. Akbayan collaborates with San Jose State University and other colleges to share the “beauty of the Pilipinx/Pilipinx-American culture and heritage” through engaging community events. 

As part of the décor team at Akbayan, Aveena gained leadership skills, learned the basics of event planning, and boosted her confidence. This professional experience, the financial support gained through JIT, and her soon-to-be-obtain bachelor’s degree in Hospitality will better equip Aveena for a brighter future. 

The change within Aveena has been exponential. The shy and quiet youth who joined the JIT community in 2019 has blossomed into a confident professional.  She is now thoughtful in her desire to meet those who match her values, and resolute in her decision to stay open-minded and focused on her future.  


“My College Bound experience was more than I could’ve asked for! I’, so grateful to have met my coaches and to feel believed in! I’m READY TO OVERCOME any obstacle to get my degree”
Azucena Wells, right, pictured with her College Bound coach Suzy Freund, left.

“College Bound was a wonderful experience! Connecting with new people, with the gorgeous waves in the back of our speakers, was an event I’ll never forget! The experience to have the celebration of being a Master Your Dream recipient started to make my grad school experience more real for me. I realize now that I am going into the next step in my life, I am having the support I need and want. Even when I have trouble asking for help, even with small things, people are watching out for me and ready to help whenever they can.”

This was one of many messages shared by College Bound participants on the JIT Network in the afterglow of College Bound’s second day. New students, new college graduates, volunteer coaches and JT alumni gathered on a bright Saturday morning for inspiration and celebration of our community of possibilities and promises fulfilled.

Students starting their post-secondary journey could envision their future success in the powerful presence of 2007 JIT College Bound participants who attended as living proof of promises and possibilities since turned into academic degrees and careers aligned with purpose.

If you weren’t there, you can still get a feel for the day by joining the JIT Network and connecting to all the life changing choices made possible by a real, reliable and responsive community of support. I’ll be looking for you.

Be Inspired & Stay Engaged!

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