After parents installed lights at a city-owned park so their kids could play softball after dark, the City of San Diego informed them they could not use the lights, even though the parents covered all costs to improve the city’s asset. It appears the city is more focused on removing safe and healthy opportunities for youth rather than focusing on removing the criminal element surrounding the homeless population.
Few activities are more safe, healthy and enriching than competing in youth sports.
Few things are more dangerous than failing to address the continued criminal behavior surrounding San Diego’s unsheltered homeless population.
Additionally, in January, unsheltered homelessness in downtown San Diego reached an all-time high for the sixth consecutive month. The January count of 1,939 is nearly three times the number of people who were unsheltered in downtown only 2 years ago. Current efforts by the City of San Diego to provide lifesaving shelter is nowhere near the scale required to reduce homelessness. We urge the Mayor and City to treat this tragedy as the crisis that it is and significantly ramp up the shelter beds in the City.
Reducing the criminal element by removing criminal behavior and the criminals who are committing crimes will immediately reduce the number of people on the streets while also protecting the public and those who are literally homeless, such as youth and seniors.
We remain focused on providing strategies and funding to help the City of San Diego, the County and every other city throughout the region to reduce homelessness.
However, removing opportunities for youth to participate in sports rather than removing the criminal element is, in our view, significantly missing the mark.
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SHAMROCK – 13 YR OLD STARTS HIS OWN NONPROFIT & TEACHES BASKETBALL TO HOMELESS YOUTH
About one-third of the students at Perkins Elementary in Barrio Logan experience homelessness. Additionally, the school had not been able to hire a PE teacher. When sports and physical activity are a critical outlet to escape one’s worries, especially kids suffering from homelessness, these youth had no opportunity to play.
Enter Arden Pala, a 13-year-old who started his own nonprofit, “Sports 4 All,” to help homeless youth. Every Wednesday after school, Arden volunteers an hour of his time to teach basketball to students at Perkins Elementary. In addition to that, he has organized volunteers to assemble more than 1,500 care kits for those suffering from homelessness. He’s also produced a documentary on San Diego’s homeless crisis and wrote several children’s books while donating proceeds to covid-19 response.
The Lucky Duck Foundation was pleased to surprise the kids at Perkins Elementary and Arden with a visit from Harlem Globetrotter Saul “Flip” White Jr. as well as provide each child with their own jersey, basketball, and water bottle, as well as underwrite a large portion of the costs of the supplies for the 1,500 care kits.
Arden’s commitment to making a difference and tangible action prove that everyone can make a meaningful difference, regardless of their age. He personifies the Walt Disney quote that inspires the Lucky Duck Foundation to take action daily, “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”