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Mi Escuelita Receives 1.7 Million to Expand Services and Reduce Waiting List

(Chula Vista, CA) – Mi Escuelita, a therapeutic preschool of South Bay Community Services (SBCS) whose focus is to help children ages three to five years old and their families impacted by violence and abuse, has been awarded 1.7 million through the Guy C. Clum Fund at The San Diego Foundation. The award is one of four totaling $13.8 million dedicated to strengthening early childhood education opportunities and the health and well-being of the San Diego region.

Children living in violent homes are at higher risk for substance abuse, failure in school, aggressive behavior or depression. Infants and small children who are exposed to violence in the home experience so much added emotional stress that it can harm development to their brains and impair cognitive and sensory growth. Studies show that more than half of school-age children in domestic violence shelters show clinical levels of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The funds awarded over a five-year period will support the expansion of Mi Escuelita classroom space which will help decrease the wait list and provide therapeutic quality education to serve more children who have experienced traumatic events.

“We are very grateful for Guy Clum’s generous donation to help us serve more children,” said Kathryn Lembo, CEO of South Bay Community Services. “Often our younger victims are overlooked. The effect of domestic violence on children, whether they witness or have been physically abused, impacts their development, mental health, education, and future.”

Mi Escuelita offers free, year-round, full-day preschool for students who are referred by Child Welfare Services, health centers, law enforcement or community-based programs. With low ratio, full-time therapists in each classroom, specialized staff and curriculum, the preschool's holistic support both child and caregivers – parents, grandparents, family members or foster parents – to help with behavior challenges and learning opportunities in and away from the classroom. Nearly half of Mi Escuelita students are in foster care.

A recent five-year longitudinal study by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) examined the overall effectiveness of Mi Escuelita on school readiness for these vulnerable and at-risk children. Results from the evaluation clearly illustrate that, across all years, children who participated in the Mi Escuelita program performed equal to, and often better, than their peers on several different academic outcomes.

Mi Escuelita has served more than 450 families since its opening in 2006. Each year, there is a waiting list. 

Mi Escuelita's current funding comes from First 5 San Diego and California Office of Emergency Services. The remainder is provided by private donations, student sponsorships, and SBCS’ annual Change Their Lives gala. The expansion project has also been generously supported by Sprouts CEO Ron Cohn, Manpower CEO Phil Blair, Eastlake Church, Chula Vista Elementary School District, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Las Patronas.

Serving San Diego County since 1971, South Bay Community Services transforms communities to support the well-being and prosperity of children, youth and families.



 Mi Escuelita: A place to heal - The San Diego Union Tribune (August 27, 2016) 

KPBS Savor San Diego

(January 30, 2017) KPBS segment of Savor San Diego highlighted SBCS' Mi Escuelita and Trolley Trestle in their recent Culinary Healing episode. Host Su-Mei Yu, notable chef/owner of San Diego’s Saffron restaurant, spent time with staff, preschoolers and youth transitioning out of foster care to learn how food is used as a healing tool. 

The Star News

Education and Involvement Proceed Community Ownership

(February 11, 2017) The CVPromise Resident Leadership Academy is an 18-week course that helps to build leadership capacity and supports participants in enhancing their understanding of local government systems, advocacy, policy development and civic engagement implementation.


Luis Monge: Intergenerational Action 

We are honored to know and work with Mr. Monge. KPBS highlights him in a recent segment. 

(February 21, 2017) "Luis has always understood the importance of intergenerational bonding and helping children grow. He was active in his children's education, advocating for not just his but all the children in his community. Today Luis is an active gardener who helped create a community garden at his grandchildren’s school, he is a city housing inspector, and a member of the California Senior Legislature."


Channel 10: Free Tax Preparation

(February 22, 2017) Segment highlights SBCS partnership with Southwestern College students. For three years, SBCS trains students and provided hands-on experience in tax preparation. They help prepare hundreds of tax returns for local families.

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Dia de Servicio Comunitario en honor a Cesar Chavez realizan jóvenes voluntarios de SBCS de Chula Vista

El Latino (April 1, 2015) - Voluntarios de South Bay Service Community Services (SBCS) participaron el viernes 27 de marzo Un Día de Servicio en Honor de César Chávez, durante un evento efectuado el viernes 27 de marzo y al que acudió la alcadesa Mary Casillas Salas.


College is a life-changing experience for students

The Star News (April 10, 2015) -  The college journey doesn’t end with acceptance into college. It continues in various stages beginning with that trying first year of school when everything is new – new responsibilities, expectations and course workload. And whether a student is living away from home or commuting to school, there is also that adjustment to college life and environment.


The Promise Neighborhoods Movements: Creating Communities of Opportunities from Cradle to Career

Annenberg Institute for School Reform - VUE - Seven miles from the Mexican border in the city of Chula Vista, California, seventeen-year-old Andrea1 was close to her college dream, but reality was getting in the way. She had followed a perfect plan: good grades, extracurricular activities, and even a part-time job. She had been a model student and good daughter.


Chula Vista Promise program yields results

UT San Diego; (December 12, 2015)  — Following two years of operation, partners with the Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood program presented their accomplishments during a meeting at Chula Vista City Hall.


CVPD Looking for Holiday Donations 

UT San Diego; (November 13, 2014) Chula Vista — The Chula Vista Police Activities League is looking for donations to give to underprivileged families during the holiday season through Dec. 12. The organization’s toy and food drive provide toys for youths under 18 years old and food while students are on break.


Gala Raises over 300K for Foster Youth and Domestic Violence Programs

Our Hometown Magazine (November 2014) South Bay Community Services held its 16th annual Change Their Lives Extravaganza on September 6 at Paradise Point Resort to raise funds and awareness for two critical programs: helping children who have been victims of family violence and helping youth who have aged out of the foster-care system. 


 Preocupa Violencia Domestica en sur de San Diego

El Latino San Diego; (October 30 2014) - Alrededor de 1.200 casos de familias afectadas por la violencia doméstica se registran anualmente en las principales ciudades del sur de San Diego y al menos en un 60 por ciento de los incidentes se encuentran involucrados latinos.Amaris Sánchez, directora del programa de Servicios de Apoyo a la Violencia Doméstica de South Bay Community Services (SBCS), precisó que estos incidentes se registran en las comunidades de Chula Vista, National City, San Ysidro y sur de la bahía de San Diego.