A new chapter in the vital, truly dramatic, story of the
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is about to be written.
It is about how—together—we can make an even
greater difference in keeping those who live in one
of the most critically challenged, underserved
neighborhoods in the State of California “safe at home”.
“Our YMCA is a place that has become a safe, warm,
refuge, seven days a week where you can always come to
and feel important and respected and safe and part of the
family. Everyone who comes through the door—any age,
race, sex, or income level—can relax and heal from the
pains they deal with everyday. The Jackie Robinson
Family YMCA is everything a home should be.”
– Frank Hewitt, volunteer,
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA Board of Managers
he phrase “safe at home’ belongs to
the lexicon of baseball. But it is so far
reaching that it easily stretches across
America from Brooklyn to the streets
of southeastern San Diego.
The phrase became ingrained
after the now legendary first game
of the World Series between the
New York Yankees and Brooklyn
Dodgers in 1955. The score was
6-4 in favor of the Yankees.
Top of the eighth inning.
Two out.
Jackie Robinson, 36 years old and
nearing the end of his 10-year
legendary career, hovered at third base.
He broke for home, just as he had done
19 other times. Somehow, he beat Whitey
Ford’s pitch to the plate.
It was one of the most dramatic, even
controversial moments in
baseball history. But, when all
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Jackie Robinson spent time with kids from the YMCA in Harlem, N.Y.
was said and done, Jackie Robinson was
“safe at home.” It came to represent the
courage, daring, and values held by this
great man, whose namesake is this
community YMCA in southeastern
San Diego, California.
Now, those very words—“safe at
home”—mean everything. The Jackie
Robinson Family YMCA is the one place
where every kid, every member of the
family, is safe to learn, grow, escape
from what truly could be called “mean
streets,” and get a leg up on life.
Jackie Robinson died of a heart attack
in 1972 at age 53. But his legacy lives on
in the lives of youth right here in our
community. Safe at home.
“Home” for hundreds of families in
the inner city neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego is the Jackie Robinson
Family YMCA. It is a trusted, essential,
venerable, and beloved community
Students at Lincoln High School were
given the opportunity to name the then
new YMCA building in their community.
Mostly African-Americans made up the
student body in that era. Jackie Robinson
was everybody’s symbol of a man of
sports who transcended it. The ultimate
role model. The students chose the name
that has proudly stood as the Jackie
Robinson Family YMCA.
The Y is an oasis. One single place
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
in the community where children,
teenagers, adults, and seniors can come.
They know for certain the YMCA’s welltrained staff and volunteers care about
them. Understand what they go through
every day. Offer a healthy dose of hope.
Teach the meaning of respect. No other
organization in the area makes as big a
difference for so many.
Put this in perspective: The
half-mile neighborhood surrounding the Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA is severely challenged by
low income, poverty, high unemployment, gangs, violent crime,
and poor health and fitness of
children and adults.
We now have the impetus and a
dramatic head start to greatly expand
and improve the facilities of this
essential YMCA for generations to come.
The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is
so highly regarded it is the recent
recipient of a $5 million California State
Parks and Recreation grant for a desperately needed teen and family recreation
center. Ours was the only YMCA to
receive one of 62 statewide grants made
available under the Sustainable
Communities and Climate Change
Reduction Chapter of Proposition 84.
It was among the largest grants made
from more than 475 applications
received. The requests of more than
Helping kids like these in the neighborhoods of southeastern San
Diego got a huge boost with the Parks and Recreation grant.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Y youngsters show off their trophies, but the biggest trophy of
all will be bringing in as many as 6,000 additional members.
$1.6 billion in funding far exceeded the
$184 million available.
“This is an incredible boost,” says
Michael Brunker, Executive Director of
the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.
“This investment from the State of
California will build a legacy for our
inner-city community. It allows us to
immediately expand the Y’s missiondriven programs and validates the work
that has been done by our Y since 1943.”
Here is where you come in:
The $5 million grant jumpstarts a
monumental opportunity. We want to
move forward on a capital funding
project that will totally rebuild the Jackie
Robinson Family YMCA. That includes
a new teen and family recreation center,
all of the significantly outdated and
small facilities that currently exist, and
some endowment funding.
We then will be able to serve as many
as 6,000 additional members. Many of
these new membership units include
families with children, women, aging
baby boomers, and those wanting to
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
become fit. A carefully researched market
study, prepared by an independent
agency, shows conclusively, to use one
more baseball analogy, that “if we build
it, they will come.”
The total rebuilding program
will cost $16 million, including the
$5 million from the state grant.
Thank you for reading our story and
for telling us what you think of our
plans for re-developing YMCA’s oasis
of hope. Keeping kids and families
safe at home.
Our staff go above and beyond to serve kids and families
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
“The San Diego Police Department has long
recognized that the Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA is a beacon of hope and opportunity for
many of the underserved youth in the area.”
– William M. Lansdowne, Chief of Police, City of San Diego
Here’s why we focus on that halfet us tell you about the neighbormile radius: There are 72,000 households
hood in which the Jackie Robinson
in our service area. Some 68 percent of
Family YMCA serves every day. And
those households earn less than the
night. Walk with us.
median income, while 37 percent earn
The conditions you will see are
less than $25,000 a year.
more profound than anywhere else in
There are 31 percent of local residents
San Diego City and County.
Fully 30 percent of the 6,876 residents who live in poverty, compared to 12-13
living within a half-mile radius of the
YMCA live below the poverty line. That
number is, in reality, higher because so
many multiple families live within a
single apartment or
dwelling. Their
median family
income is
$31,369. The
rate is 16 percent.
Dropout rate at
Lincoln High School is
14.6 percent.
Conditions in the communities surrounding the YMCA (white spot) are more
profound than anywhere in the county.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
percent for the rest of the city, county,
and state. Median income is less than
half the level. The unemployment rate is
60 percent higher. The high school drop
out rate is 9.2 percent. (source: California
State Parks Community Fact Finder report)
An extraordinarily high percentage of
children in neighborhood schools
qualify for the federally subsidized
lunch program. More than 10,000
school-age students from these same
neighborhoods are bused to schools
north of I-8 every day.
One of the most serious problems is
the historic gang activity. There are 90
known street gangs and more than
3,700 documented gang members.
More than half—52—of those gangs
operate in the Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA’s service area. Two (Lincoln
Park and Logan Heights) have been
featured in The History Channel’s
Gangland Series. Violent crime
occurs here at twice the rate of the
rest of the county.
ork, police sacey
reduce violen
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Authorites seek
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By Tony Mano
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Seeking to be safe at home at the
YMCA is hardly an exaggeration. It is
simply not safe for youngsters to cross
streets going from one gang’s claimed
territory into another. Many parents will
not allow their children to come to the
YMCA unless they bring them or we
bring them in our own buses.
The YMCA is considered to be
neutral territory. All, gang affiliates or
not, take part in activities at the Y
without incident.
More ex-prison and jail inmates pour
back into the community than anywhere
else in San Diego County. They are concentrated in the Y service area because
they are coming home to the zip codes
of 92102, 92113, and 92114. The YMCA
has long served the children of those
incarcerated and their caregivers. Those
are usually grandmothers or older
extended family members.
The hard truth of all this—just ask the
residents—is the lack of parks and other
public recreation facilities. This is not a
mere inconvenience. Not at all. It is
about trying to keep their children safe
from violence, crime, gangs, drugs, and
The YMCA is constantly challenged
to do anything possible to increase the
stability and influence of the family. To
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Y Executive Director Michael Brunker is often quoted
as saying “we want kids to join a team, not a gang.”
help kids develop values in a complex
and changing world. To do all we can to
make sure all kids attend, behave, and
succeed in school.
“We want kids to join a team, not a
gang,” says the Y’s Michael Brunker,
“but, it gets complicated. Every child
does not have access to neighborhood
sports facilities. Most can’t afford participation fees. The shortage of responsible
adult volunteers makes it difficult to
stage youth sports activities in areas
that need the most intensive programs.
When a child becomes hardened and
committed to crime, exposed to and
addicted to drugs and alcohol, physically
injured, scarred or murdered, that is
indeed the greatest loss of all.”
Is there hope? Of course there is. The
$5 million Parks and Recreation Grant has
spurred the new Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA facilities. That dovetails with the
news that the Joe & Vi Jacobs Village of
Market Creek was awarded $1.35 million
through the Department of Housing and
Community Development. That project
will transform some 60 blighted acres into
1,000 affordable homes, commercial and
open spaces. These developments add up
to true optimism.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
here are lots of positive adjectives
used to describe the example and
the work of Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA Executive Director Michael
“Michael has tirelessly worked to
improve the community and the lives
of countless young people. The gang
activity in his area is staggering and
families struggle to make ends meet.
I have personally seen the commitment Michael has made to these kids
and their families,” says Bonnie
Schwartz, president of San Diego
Rotary Club 33.
Michael has served this inner-city
YMCA for the past 13 years. He has
made amazing progress, increasing
the branch staff from 8 to more than
100, local board members from 12 to
60, and the annual budget from
$450,000 to over $2.4 million. The
Y currently provides more than
$1 million in financial assistance.
He became an Honorary Member
of San Diego Rotary Club 33 in 1994
for his work in driving youth and
family programs in resource-challenged areas. He founded the San
Diego Regional Police Athletic
League in 1987. He has served as the
Governor of the Amateur Athletic
Union—Pacific Southwest District
since 1987.
That same
year he
founded the
Youth Sports
Program at
San Diego
City College.
Michael is
a Detroit
native. His
Michael Brunker
basketball included stints at the
University of Detroit, his alma mater,
and the NBA Detroit Pistons. He
joined Coach Smokey Gaines’ staff at
San Diego State in 1980 after working
six years with ESPN’s Dick Vitale in
Michael’s work engaging communities in his YMCA service area to
discover new approaches to curbing
gang violence has saved many lives.
“It is everyone’s job to hold onto
kids when they join the Y,” Michael
says, “For these kids, winning or
losing could be the difference
between life and death. Failure is not
an option when it comes to helping
kids graduate from college.”
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
“We see the pain in people’s eyes when they come
into the YMCA. But, they see the light. They feel the
hope. Here, they know somebody cares. The biggest
thing is love. Hey, maybe it’s going to be OK.”
– James Price, Facilities and Transportation Director,
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA
sk Anna Arancibia, the Y’s
Outreach Director, what the Jackie
Robinson Family YMCA means to the
community. She has some answers.
“We truly are the little YMCA that
could,” she says. “We constantly reach
out to the community with big free
events like our Halloween and
Christmas parties. There is a
huge amount of respect for
the Y because we never turn
anyone away just because
they can’t afford a program
fee, no matter how low it
might be. We work with
families that are racked by
violence. Kids here just go
through so much. This is
why we do what we do.”
YMCA programs seek to
address the severe lack of
health and fitness in the community.
These levels are well documented
through the school district’s annual
fitness tests. Just 14 percent of students
at Lincoln High School and
13 percent from Gompers Preparatory
Academy could pass all six tests.
The greatest concern is a significant
Every morning at the Y
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
The Jackie Robinson Family Y runs many important, proven programs for children, teens, and adults.
decline in health and fitness by age.
Older students are the least fit of all.
Many are obese and are strongly at
risk for diabetes and heart disease
later in life.
There are many more programs and
events offered day and night to families
in the community than we can possibly
discuss here. Here are just a few:
Fitness: The Y is packed in the
mornings with members of the 800
families enrolled. The same rules that
apply to children, in terms of respect
and sportsmanship, apply in the fitness
rooms. It is easy to imagine how badly
the fitness levels of children and adults
would be if the YMCA didn’t exist in the
community at all.
Prime Time: This is a state-funded
before and after school program
involving 600 children each school day.
The YMCA has eight Prime Time
contracts on six school campuses. Our
staff, mostly young adults themselves,
identifies children with problems and
finds ways to reach out and help them.
Youth Sports: Programs are offered
year-round, including basketball, flag
football, soccer, track, t-ball, special
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
clinics, and Pee Wee sports (for kids
3-6). Middle School programs have
become especially important because
of cutbacks.
safe activities for the children. There
are a number of field trips, including
the beach, and other attractions in
San Diego.
TRACE: This important activity helps
San Diego Connects: This unique
adults, ages 18-24, with disabilities or
special needs work out in a specialized
fitness program. There is no other place
in the community disabled people can
go for exercise.
YMCA program gives Juvenile Court
and Community School (JCCS) students
the same opportunities to participate in
extracurricular athletic programs as
students in traditional schools. San
Diego Connects takes place four days a
week at the Y. High school-age boys and
girls participate in athletics, academic
tutoring, community service, and other
activities, as long as they maintain their
grades and behavior.
Y Camp: The Y offers day camp
programs during the summer and
whenever children are not in school.
Camp also serves as day care for
parents with no other place to provide
The Y “is esteemed as a keystone community organization,” notes a community leader.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Y for life!
Seniors: One event that is truly fun
for older adults in the community is the
Y’s Senior Prom. The Y is about the
only place in the community where
seniors can come to socialize. Many
seniors take part in the YMCA’s health
and fitness programs and have found
their personal levels of well-being significantly improved.
Donated equipment from the
Mission Valley YMCA.
“The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is
esteemed as a keystone community
organization that provides essential
recreational resources and social
services to families and youth. We have
worked collaboratively with the Y for
more than a decade to address the
increasing critical factors affecting
the safety, health, and livability of this
revitalizing area.”
– Jennifer S. Vanica, President
and CEO, Jacobs Center for
Community Innovation
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
“The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA fundraising effort is an
instrumental part of our YMCA’s efforts to serve our community in
an equal way. Through dollars raised in this effort, we will be able to
provide the highest quality YMCA service to the citizens and residents
who live, work, and play in Southeast San Diego. This project is a
great launching point for our YMCA to change and save more
lives in the San Diego community.”
– Baron Herdelin-Doherty, President & CEO,
YMCA of San Diego County
he $5 million grant has given the
YMCA the impetus for a total new
facility that will ultimately cost $16 million.
Here is a preliminary rendering
of the Master Plan for the new
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Concept JAL Site Plan
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Conceptual Ground Floor Plan
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
Conceptual Upper Level Floor Plan
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
“A life is not important except in
the impact it has on other lives.”
– Jackie Robinson
he impact of the Jackie Robinson
Family YMCA is felt throughout its
service area of more than 273,000 people.
Every “touch” this pro-active YMCA
makes has the potential to save a life or,
at the very least, to set a life in the right
direction. That’s impact.
Jackie spoke about his personal
values and how they can transfer to
other lives. His values to live by
included courage, determination,
teamwork, persistence, integrity,
citizenship, justice, commitment, and
excellence. Look how they mesh with
The impact of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is felt in so many ways—one person at a time.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
the YMCA’s own core values of caring,
honesty, respect, and responsibility.
Just think what “could be” when the
YMCA can increase its reach four-fold
with a new facility? What an impact
could be made.
“There is an important side benefit to
taxpayers when the YMCA expands its
reach,” notes Fred Soleto, an urban
marketing strategist, member of the San
Diego Commission on Gang Prevention,
and a member of the Y’s Board of
Managers. It costs state and local governments $45,045 annually to incarcerate
just one individual (source: National
Institute of Corrections, Statistics for the
State of California).
“I believe the programs and services
of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA
potentially can prevent a great many of
those we serve from ever being incarcerated,” he says. “The savings alone, if for
no other reason, are worth the investment in this project.”
The $5 million State of California
Parks and Recreation grant for a teen
and family recreation center provides
the impetus for a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to bring the YMCA’s facilities up to a new level that will serve this
underserved community well for the
next generations.
The bricks and mortar facility is the
tool—the all-important tool—that allows
the YMCA to truly reach children and
their families. It is an essential link to
our success.
The next chapter in the story of the
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is ours
to write. What is your reaction to our
plan to raise a total of $16 million (with
$5 million of that amount already on
hand) to keep our community safe
at home?
Safe at home.
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
ur Mission: The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is dedicated to improving the
quality of human life and to helping all people realize their fullest potential as
children of God through development of the spirit, mind and body.
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA Board of Managers:
Dr. Eugene Bailey, E.R. Bailey & Associates
Rick Balke, WalMart
Vanessa Barbarin, Sycuan
John Barbosa, Wells Fargo Bank
Dr. Anthony Beebe, San Diego
Continuing Education
John Borne , Nationwide Retirement Solutions
Alonzo Branch, Booz Allen Hamilton
Gloria Brockman, Community Volunteer
Peter Casey, PCC Financial Services
Mel Collins, Lincoln High School
Miro Copic, Bottomline Marketing
Robert Countryman, Countryman Planning
Phil Currie, Shoreline Partners
Hazel Davis, Naval Medical Center
Johari DeWitt Rogers, Pasadena City College
Tyler Epp, San Diego Padres
Peggy Evans, Community Volunteer
Vernon Evans, San Diego Regional
Airport Authority
Zachary Fielder, Sentry Financial
Mike Finley, Mongrel Construction
Kimberly Fritz, Care 1st
Emily Galloway, Wells Fargo Bank
Virginia Graham, Community Volunteer
Brandi Greenleaf, Marshall Faulk Foundation
Gilbert Harlan, New York Life Insurance
Frank Hewitt, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Tayari Howard, Smooth Jazz 98.1 FM
Jan Hunter, Hunter Industries
Shaka Johnson, Sanyo
Rev. Amos Johnson, Jr., Amos Johnson, Jr.
Randy Jones, Department of Justice
Ed Kitrosser, Community Volunteer
Alexander Long, Latham & Watkins
Dan McAllister, County of San Diego
Tax Collector
Ray McKewon, Xceptional Music Co
Wendy McKinney, Neighborhood House
James Norris, O'Connor Construction
Barbara Orozco-Valdivia, Health Net
Joe Outlaw, Pentrust Financial Services
Skipper Ragsdale, Anderson-Ragsdale Mortuary
David Ramirez, San Diego Police Department
John Rice, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd
Janice Robinson, Keller Williams
Ana Rubalcaba, Comerica Bank
Dee Sanford, Dee Sanford International
Sandy Saxten, TS Restaurants
Pat Schwenke, BAE Systems
Douglas Shamburger
Carolyn Smith, Community Volunteer
Fred Sotelo, Toltec Media
Jaycee Swann, Cox Communications
Larry Thayer, Hawthorne Rent-It Service
Robyn Thomas, Solar Turbines
Honorable Randa Trapp, Superior Court Judge
Lula Washington, JRYMCA Y's Men International
Darrell Watson, U.S. Customs & Homeland
Dr. Carrol Waymon, Community Volunteer
Lee Wilson, Northrop Grumman
Jackie Robinson Family ymca
“Through Jackie Robinson Family YMCA
programs and projects, gang activity has
gone down, violent and petty crime among
youth has dramatically decreased, and
high school completion rates have
climbed steadily upward.”
– Bob Filner, member of Congress
“I support the Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA’s efforts to build strong kids,
strong families, and strong communities.”
– Marty Block, Assemblymember,
78th District
“I’m confident the Jackie Robinson
Family YMCA will improve the area’s
recreational, social, educational, and
environmental conditions.” – Mary Salas,
former Assemblymember, 79th District
“The Southeastern San Diego communities
are some of the most ethnically diverse in
the region and have many unique needs.
A project like this has, without a doubt,
a positive impact.” – Rob Roberts,
Supervisor, Fourth District
“Never to be dissuaded from a good fight,
the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA has not
blinked. The YMCA has fought hard to
maintain its valuable service level in
difficult times. – Dan McAllister,
San Diego County Treasurer
“Nothing is more important than helping
the young people in our community by
showing them that some cares like the
Jackie Robinson Y does for the most
at-risk kids every day.”
– Sheriff William B. Kolender, retired
“The Jackie Robinson Y is a critical player
in the community and makes a positive
difference to the children, families, and
individuals living in this underserved
and challenged community.”
– Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego County
District Attorney
“Through partnerships between San Diego
State University and the Jackie Robinson
Family YMCA, I have learned firsthand
how important safe recreation areas and
community facilities are for promoting
healthy lifestyles.” – Stephen L. Weber,
President, San Diego State University
“The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA’s
outreach to families, and particularly those
with teenagers, is especially important”
– Randolph E. Ward, EdD, San Diego
Superintendent of Schools
Jackie Robinson Family ymca