We are open, honest and courageous, practicing confident vulnerability even in difficult circumstances.
We think outside the box to find the WIN-WIN outcome together and achieve the best solution for all involved.
We embrace all people with compassion, honoring their value and celebrating their unique identities. I matter, you matter.
We adjust to new challenges and constant change, finding creative ways to support continuous growth and improvement.
We seek to understand first and ask powerful questions to discover what is truly needed.
We engage in a way that inspires our youth, volunteers and our community to reach their full potential.
We hold ourselves accountable and consistently follow through on our words, actions, promises and commitments.
Mission & Vision
Our vision is a future in which every youth leaving the foster care system has a community of caring adults waiting for them after 18. We believe consistent, long-term help from the heart is the foundation for the success of our youth so they can thrive and enjoy productive, satisfying lives.
For years, San Diego child advocacy attorney Jeanette Day witnessed a tragic transition that most people didn’t even know existed – foster youth leaving the Juvenile Court system without essential family support. In 2002, she enlisted the help of Diane Cox to create holiday gift baskets for youth who had emancipated from foster care with little or no family to count on. Moved by the spirit and the challenges faced by these courageous youth, Jeanette and Diane then reached out to Louarn Sorkin to lead the effort to recruit and organize volunteers to provide even more support for this under-served population.
By 2003, Just in Time was born as an auxiliary of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation (now known as Promises2Kids). The My First Home and Basic Needs Programs were initiated, as well as efforts to increase awareness, community involvement, and contributions that would benefit transitioning foster youth.
A major turning point for the auxiliary occurred in 2004 when Kathryn Vaughn became Just in Time’s President. Inspired by the courage of these transitioning foster youth, Kathryn established a visionary goal: to create a dynamic, independent, and sustainable organization that would have the capacity to assist hundreds of youth each year. It was at this time that Tony Hsu joined the group as Treasurer, establishing a financial foundation for the organization and working to obtain the 501(c)3 non-profit corporate status, effective July 2006. (JIT nonprofit tax EIN#: 20-5448416)
As it grew, Just in Time retained the commitment and collaborative spirit that defined its earliest beginnings. Volunteers have worked alongside the Board and staff as an extended family to foster youth countywide, staying true to the values of compassion, authentic connection, commitment and community that transform lives and make Just in Time an organization that is truly giving “help from the heart.”
Major contributors to JIT in the first years as an auxiliary.
First American Title Company
Law Offices of Vaughn and Vaughn
Just in Time FAQs
1) What is the primary purpose of Just in Time?
Just in Time builds a community of support for foster youth to become capable, confident and connected and to break the cycle of foster care after they leave the foster care system. That lasting network of caring adults and peers helps empower them to reach their full potential and achieve their goals and dreams.
2) How many former foster youth do you serve?
Over 800 youth per year, ages 18-26. In general, the breakdown is 69% females, 31% males. Youth are eligible for JIT services if they live in San Diego County, have spent any time in foster care (within or outside of San Diego County), and are currently working, going to school or have definite plans to do so.
3) What is unique about Just in Time?
a. Connection to Community is JIT’s most significant focus. We believe disconnection is the most significant gap for young people impacted by foster care, so every JIT service/activity incorporates connections to peers and adults who truly care about their best interest.
b. Comprehensive Support is key to lasting impact so JIT’s intention is to provide ALL the support that a healthy family would normally provide, with personalized assistance based on each youth’s expressed needs and situation – not a “one size fits all” approach.
c. Cultivating Youth Voice means honoring youth experience and sharing the power with those impacted by foster care as partners in creating solutions. In fact, half our staff and ALL our Youth Services coordinators are former foster youth.
4) What are the JIT services?
All JIT services are impact-driven and customized to meet the needs of the Individual. They include: Basic Needs (emergency/foundational financial support), My First Home (furnishing and moving into first apartments), Changing Lanes/Auto Access (attaining driver’s licenses and reliable transportation), Financial Fitness and Fin Fit 101 (financial literacy and establishing savings), Career Horizons (professional and personal development through a network of women), Bridges to Success (professional and personal development through a brotherhood of men), College Bound (support for reaching educational goals, both undergraduate and graduate), Pathways to Financial Power (work readiness, career development and smart money management) and Rise to Resilience (building resilience to mitigate ACEs – Adverse Childhood Experiences).
5) How does JIT measure impact?
Each service we offer has its own set of intended impacts that we use to gauge effectiveness. We evaluate both quantitative and qualitative data for short-term outcomes and for lasting impact toward our ultimate goals. For example, we know that the college graduation rate for foster youth nationwide is 3-6%. By contrast, since 2006, 80% of JIT College Bound participants have either graduated or are still enrolled in school. We have now begun the process of surveying all JIT alumni up to age 35 – Lasting Impact Fulfillment Tracking (LIFT) – to measure durable change.
6) Tell me more about what JIT is doing to address ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), a topic which has been in the news a lot lately as a major cause of physical and mental health issues.
Rise to Resilience is our newest initiative to educate our community about the impacts of ACEs and to give participants with high ACE scores access to the the seven strategies that have been proven to mitigate those impacts, including: nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, healthy relationships, guided self-exploration for healing and play. Along with a focused cohort with a year-long formal curriculum, all participants will have access to R2R resources based on individual interest/need.
7) How many youth leave foster care each year?
Because youth are now exiting foster care at different ages, there are no definitive stats. The conventional estimate has been that about 300 youth leave foster care per year in San Diego County. Unlike government-funded agencies, JIT serves all youth who have spent ANY TIME in foster care, not just those who stay in foster care until a specific age.
8) How do youth find Just in Time?
JIT believes it is our responsibility to locate as many young adults as possible who have been impacted by foster care. We reach out to schools, community colleges and four-year universities, as well as organizations such as Voices for Children and San Pasqual Academy. Other ways youth find JIT are: word-of-mouth (siblings and friends), internet and media, case managers, social workers and court advocates.
9) How many JIT staff are there?
There are 30 staff in Youth Services, Volunteer Services, Development and Operations.
10) How and when did Just in Time begin?
In 2003, child advocacy attorney Jeanette Day saw that youth were leaving foster care with subsidized housing but no furnishings. She recruited her friends Diane Cox, Louarn Sorkin and others to start collecting gently used furniture. In 2007, two other JIT co-founders Tony Hsu and Kathryn Vaughn secured official nonprofit status for JIT. Over time, the scope of services has expanded based on the expressed needs of the youth we serve.
11) Is Just in Time a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization?
Yes, all donations are fully tax-deductible except for event sponsorships/tickets when the dinner portion is NOT tax deductible ($125).
12) What role does the JIT Board play?
JIT has a governing Board, instrumental in JIT’s evolution and sustainability, establishing strategic direction and providing fiduciary oversight. The Board supports the Executive Director, participates in task forces and generates funds.
13) Does Just in Time collaborate with other groups?
Collaboration is an important part of the JIT culture. Most recently, we’ve collaborated with San Diego Center for Children to create a bridge for youth from in-care to adulthood. This will include a life planning app that the youth will own, as well as Lived Experience Coaches to help guide them. We’re also active contributors to efforts aimed at systemic change, such as the San Diego County “Strengthen Children Families Advisory Board.”
14) How many volunteers does JIT have and what role do they play?
Volunteers are the reason why JIT succeeds. Over 600 individuals participate as youth coaches, financial fitness advisors, My First Home guides, event volunteers and workshop presenters. There are roles to suit a variety of talents, interests, and time frames.
15) How can I get involved?
We’d love for you to join the JIT Family, either as a volunteer, an investor or an advocate. Just let one of us know if you’re interested and we’ll have someone follow up with you. You can also view volunteer opportunities or make an investment online.
16) What can I do that would help the most?
There are many ways to engage in Just in Time, which makes it easy to find something that fits almost any interest, schedule or availability. If you have interest in volunteering, you start by attending a Volunteer Orientation for a role that works for you. You can sign up on our website or give us your contact information and we’ll have someone contact you. We also rely on community funding to support our operations and services, as well as new, innovative initiatives that meet emerging needs. We welcome monthly commitments, contributions made online or by check, stock transfers and bequests. Additionally, our My First Home service relies on in-kind donations from the community, including gently used furniture and household supplies.
17) What are Just in Time’s funding sources?
Individual donations, foundations, corporations, civic/faith organizations and our annual Walk the Talk celebration and fundraiser in March. The only government funding we receive (about 3%) is from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
18) What is your budget?
The budget for FY 2020 is $4.2 million, including in-kind donations. The percentage that goes directly toward Youth Services is 70%, which does not reflect the significant amount of assistance and distributions made directly from individuals to youth once connections are established via JIT.