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Live Well Advance session takes action to better serve opportunity youth

October 27, 2017

On November 8, more than 1,000 Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners and other organizational leaders gathered for a unique and interactive opportunity to advance a shared vision. This year’s Live Well Advance theme was Living Well Across the Ages, which acknowledges the importance of building better health, living safely and thriving throughout the lives of San Diego County's 3.3 million residents.

Live Well San Diego Advance brought together partners in every sector, County government leaders and other stakeholders to network over lunch, learn about new tools and best practices and participate in breakout sessions on subjects including:

  • Workforce of the Future: Opportunity Youth
  • Food Systems
  • Developing a Dynamic Community for the 21st Century
  • Volunteers
  • Resident Leadership Academy

There are 43,000 young adults ages 16–24 in San Diego County who are not working or in school. The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) led a breakout session called Understanding the Story, Flipping the Script, which served as the first meeting of the San Diego Opportunity Youth Collaborative, a follow-up to the 2017 Flip the Script Youth Summit, which addressed this issue.

Attendees joined a distinguished panel of regional employers involved in the movement to flip the script then participated in a fun and interactive session to explore solutions to address barriers to employment with an emphasis on opportunity youth.

Panelists included:

  • Moderator: Peter Callstrom, CEO, SDWP
  • Erik Caldwell, Director, Economic Development, City of San Diego
  • Carlos O. Turner Cortez, President, San Diego Continuing Education
  • Carrie Julius, Senior Talent Advisor, Starbucks
  • Clarence H. Carter, Director, Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Ana Lomeli, a C2C Opportunity Youth Community Organizer, opened the session by sharing about the importance of mental health, noting that many opportunity youth have had terrible experiences with adults in the past and the need to take this into consideration as we work with them.

Carrie Julius, Starbucks Senior Talent Advisor gave valuable insight into the business case for extending opportunity to all. "We can't just be bystanders when we have the ability to help the problem," said Julius. Noting that the number of opportunity youth effects our economy and our talent pool. "It’s just not an option."

Though compelling, the social argument for engaging opportunity youth is not the end of it—we have an untapped talent pool with the ability to elevate business. "It’s opened up a world of talent,” said Julius. “It hasn’t just opened up opportunity to youth, its opened up opportunity to Starbucks."

To close out the session, SDWP Program Specialists Sandy Bauler and Crystal Gunter led the group in the human-centered design activity, opening with a compelling stat Bauler once heard from Speaker and Coach Judy Drummond—when you impact someone a positive way, they will pay it forward and positively impact 250 more people in their lifetime.

Young adults, families, youth-serving organizations, system leaders and experts are invited join in referral, networking and best practice and information sharing opportunities through the San Diego Youth Collaborative's future action-oriented work meetings. The 2018 meetings will be organized around the big drivers of youth disconnection in San Diego County and will meet to address, advance and revise the recommendations outlined in the action plan. Email Karmin Noar, Director of Programs, at KarminNoar@workforce.org to get involved.

To learn more about Live Well San Diego, visit livewellsd.org.

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