Calling All High School Students Interested in Science! Join the STEAM Cafe!


High school students in SE San Diego? Are you interested in science and learning the effects of climate change? Then join the STEAM Cafe on March 4!
The purpose of the cafe is to engage, educate, and inspire urban youth from diverse backgrounds through science based learning, preparing them to be tomorrow’s scientific and environmental leaders. The focus of the Cafe is to inform the students about the importance of climate change and ocean acidification such as how it is affecting them and what studies have been conducted on the subject.
See you there!
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Join the Jacobs Center’s Creative Industries Program!

We are currently recruiting youth from ages 18-24 for our Creative Industries Program! It is a workforce development program focused on graphic design training. You must live in the city of San Diego and be low-med income level to be eligible to participate. If you or anyone you know is interested please contact lsanchez@jacobscenter.org.

*Our deadline to apply has been extended. We will be starting Monday, Feb 27.

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Image from La Jolla Playhouse play “Miss You Like Hell”. Photo credit: Jim Carmody

Ping Chong + Company (New York City) is partnering with La Jolla Playhouse to create an interview-based theatre production with local participants telling their own stories on stage, exploring the real-life experiences of people who call Southeast San Diego home.

Ping Chong + Company is an internationally recognized theater company known for bringing underrepresented voices to the stage through its community engaged theater projects. Ping Chong + Company artists will conduct interviews with local residents who are connected to Southeast San Diego. The interviews become the basis of the script, performed by the participants themselves, weaving together personal, historical, and political narratives. Community members from all backgrounds, ages, professions, experiences and identities are invited to apply. Stories will reflect a wide range of Southeast experiences – people who grew up there, people who recently moved there, people who work there, or have other connections to communities and neighborhoods in Southeast.

  • No previous performance experience required! No memorization required!
  • Potential participants must be willing to tell their own story on stage, in collaboration with others.
  • Potential participants must be able to attend a 2 hour interview in January 2017.
  • Rehearsals + performances will take place in March 2017 (Location TBD in or near Southeast. Approximately 3 weeks of evening/weekend rehearsals, 15 hours per week)
  • Participants selected to be part of the final project will be compensated for their time.

Deadline to apply: Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Interview slots are limited, not everyone interviewed will be invited to participate in the performance.

For more information on Ping Chong + Company, please visit www.pingchong.org.

For inquiries or to request an interview, please call or email:

Jacole Kitchen by phone: (858) 228-3043 or by email: jkitchen@ljp.org


Audition for Gill Sotu’s Spoken Word Opera Ordinary Magic



Ordinary Magic – A Spoken Word Opera by award-winning poet/playwright Gill Sotu. Directed by Ise Lyfe (HBO Def Poetry, Huffington Post, New York Times)

An ambitious drummer at a famous Vanguard soul lounge is forced to choose between saving her family, helping her community, or following her dreams amongst protests and powerful men with their own agendas.

Types of Actors Needed
Male and female Non-Union, San Diego Local

Monday, October 24, 2016 and Wednesday, October 25, 2016 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. (By appointment)

Jacobs Center For Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave. San Diego, CA, 92114

By appointment only. Please contact Gill Sotu at gsotu@jacobscenter.org. Please prepare a one to two minute contemporary monologue.

Roles to be filled:

  • Ronnie Thomas, mid 20’s, lead singer of Soul Bizarre, the house band at the Vanguard Lounge – (Open Ethnicity; must be able to sing.)
  • Reverend Charles Logan, 40’s, ex-biker turned televangelist, head of the Ciity Council – (Caucasian)
  • Sugar Davis (early/mid 30s) Quincy’s wife, runs the bar and the books at the Vanguard – (Open Ethnicity; must be able to sing)

December 5 to 16, 2016 and January 2, 2017 through February 2, 2017; Monday through Thursday from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons TBA.

Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:00 PM Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM – Joan Kroc Theatre, La Mesa.

$300 total

For more information or to book audition – contact Gill Sotu at gsotu@jacobscenter.org.


Creative Industries Program students share why it pays to go through “Boot Camp”

img_2547Inspired and grateful are two words to describe the students of the inaugural class of the Jacobs Center’s Creative Industries Program. Many have overcome challenges to be in the program and are taking advantage of this second chance to reclaim their future. The Creative Industries Program has launched the Jacobs Center’s Inspire Youth Careers industry partnership aimed at training youth disconnected from jobs and school and employing them in our region’s priority job sectors. San Diego is home to approximately 43,000 “opportunity youth” who are unemployed or underemployed. Forty percent of these youth reside in historically underserved communities including Southeastern San Diego.

The Creative Industries Program takes individuals with an interest in the arts and provides them with the training and skill set they need make their passion their profession. Young adults (ages 18–24) receive soft skills development, paid technical training in graphic design and web development, and paid on-the-job experience with various partner design firms. The program builds on past youth-focused arts education offered by the Jacobs Center’s graffiti art program Writerz Blok, which merges urban art with graphic design to establish pathways to creative careers. It is funded in part with Community Development Block Grant Program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego.

img_2528The first class of the Creative Industries Program recently completed Phase 1, the unpaid soft skills training or “boot camp” as it’s referred to by students and teachers. This initial two-week introduction to the program determines which students are eligible to move on to the paid design training and job placement phases. During this portion of the program, students receive training in the skills needed to help them land a job and move up in it. These soft skills include effective communication, goal setting, decision-making, conflict resolution, problem solving, and living on your own. Students also created elevator pitches and résumés in workshops taught by program partner San Diego Workforce Partnership and its CONNECT2Careers program.

Devon Gonzalez and Jessie Zelayandia are two students who successfully completed the soft skills boot camp and are on their way to the paid design training.

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devonDevon Gonzalez, 24

“This program is making things clearer for me. I’m so stoked to be here.”

Devon is a local award-winning graffiti artist and muralist who has lived in Southeastern San Diego for the past two and a half years. He was introduced to the Creative Industries Program after spending time painting at Writerz Blok. Before the program, Devon made a living off of freelance art projects, not knowing where his next paycheck was coming from. When he learned about the Creative Industries Program, he jumped at the opportunity to get paid to further his skills and to have a stable career pathway. He considers landing a spot in the program a breakthrough.

“The biggest challenge was trying to find the next job. When I got one job, I knew it was already going to be over, so I had to try to find ways to have a constant flow of income,” said Devon.

The soft skills boot camp challenged Devon to tackle his anxiety around interviewing. The program’s guided activities and role playing exercises helped him relax and boosted his confidence. Workshops in elevator pitches, goal-setting, and business helped Devon to learn how to sell himself and his craft and have a better understanding of what is needed to be successful as a professional.

“There is so much more to contracts,” said Devon. “I didn’t realize there were pages of other stuff, like insurance, and so many little things. It’s so interesting to learn.”

In Phase 2 of the program, Devon looks forward to learning to screen print and how he can transfer his designs to T-shirts and sell them to make a profit.
“Screen printing is something I tried a little in the past. Getting designs ready from graphic design to screen printing is what I really want to learn how to do,” he said.

After the program, Devon hopes to work toward opening an art business that creates beautiful murals and exterior designs for businesses.

“I got to know people in the class, and they have really high goals. People want to open up businesses, be graphic designers, do interior design. To hear all these things from different people who come from different backgrounds, it’s almost like a big collaboration of students. We’re all in it together.”

jessieJessie Zelayandia, 20

“Coming back to this area makes me feel really good. It makes me see how much I have grown from how my life was before to how it is now. Being able to have an opportunity to see if maybe I can work here? It’s amazing. All of the lessons they are giving us give me a really huge boost.”

Jessie’s life has been anything but easy. She grew up homeless, transitioning with her mother between Los Angeles, San Diego, and Mexico. She eventually ended up attending and graduating from San Diego’s Monarch School, a K-12 comprehensive school designed to educate homeless youth. Jessie learned about the Creative Industries Program from information the Monarch School sends to its alumni.

This Creative Industries Program came at a great time for Jessie, as she had taken a semester off from studying studio art at San Diego City College where she plans to return next semester to study graphic design. For Jessie, the opportunity to be paid to hone her skills and receive on-the-job experience was also a draw.

“It’s a really good opportunity — it’s great! I’m going to go back to City College, and it really helps out a lot. It’s hard for me…. I’m not too great with computers, so this is a boost up because I’m going to go into college, and I’m going to already know basic things and things I can use. Apart from that, I’m getting to where I want to be in my career.”

While Jessie had previously received much of the soft skills training provided in boot camp at the Monarch School, this phase helped refresh what she had learned and gave her the opportunity to think more in depth about how to approach certain aspects of a professional job, like how to dress.

“I’m an artist, and at my other job, I do murals, so my dress is usually overalls and sneakers, and there is paint everywhere, so it’s really different. I also have another job doing reports and getting information from different businesses, so I have to dress more professional, so it’s two different environments,” she said.

Jessie is looking forward to learning more digital design in Phase 2 of the program. She has invested in a heat press and screen printer and wants to learn how to create designs digitally, so she can produce them using these tools.

unknown-23In addition to studying in the Creative Industries Program, Jessie serves as a community artist for A Reason to Survive, a nationally recognized, multidisciplinary creative youth development agency. In this role, she has designed benches at Kimble Park as part of an Arts for Veterans project, created sculptures, demonstrated live art at community events, and worked with volunteers. She also supports herself by working at American Systems Group.

After completing the program, Jessie has one simple, yet very important goal: to be happy.

“To be able to be happy for me means getting my education, and not just being in a class and sitting there and getting the degree, but actually learning everything I need to know. I love to learn. I want to take in as much information about art as possible because I’m passionate about it, and I want to make a difference in the community with it,” she said.

By furthering her education in the arts, Jessie is hoping to someday open her own arts-focused organization in San Diego and in Mexico that helps youth who have faced adversity.

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We’ll be back with more student stories from the Jacobs Center’s Creative Industries Program as the students transition from boot camp to the paid design training phase and on-the-job experience with the program’s partners.



Diamond Spotlight: The San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Culinary Fusion Festival celebrates API culture and healthy eats in Southeastern San Diego.

Our Diamond Spotlight series celebrates the Jacobs Center’s arts, culture, and creative placemaking partners who bring their engaging performances and events to Southeastern San Diego. This week we shine our spotlight on Operation Samahan and the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander (SDAPI) Community Health Network. We hear from Fe Seligman who is responsible for program and fund development for Operation Samahan. She shares about her organization’s SDAPI Culinary Fusion Festival, which brought a healthy appreciation for Asian Pacific Islander (API) culture and food to the Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater and Festival Park on September 17. The event, part of STRIVE San Diego!, attracted more than 600 people from across the region. STRIVE San Diego!, is a CDC-funded policy, system, and environmental intervention program of SDAPI that addresses the issues of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension within the API community. The program works with API restaurant, grocery store, and farmers’ market owners to provide healthy dining and food options for their customers or patrons.

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culinary-fusion-4Please tell us a little about your organization?
SDAPI is a project of Operation Samahan, Inc. Established in 2008, the network is composed of API community-based organizations that aim to address the health disparities that exist within the Asian and Pacific Islander community in San Diego County.

Operation Samahan is a federally funded community health clinic established in 1973 and founded by the Filipino community. Operation Samahan provides comprehensive primary care, dental, and behavioral health services to underserved, low-income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals and families in the county. It has five facilities strategically located in the Northern and Southern regions of San Diego and serves over 17,000 patients a year.

Why did you want your event to take place in Southeastern San Diego?
The majority of our member partners come from City Heights and Southeastern San Diego. In addition, we believe that Southeastern San Diego is a hub of social and collective impact learning opportunities, where new and innovative ideas arise to address the social concerns of the community. We are part of the greater community that serves that purpose.culinary-fusion-2

How did your event engage the community?
The SDAPI Culinary Fusion Festival helped create awareness of the rich and diverse cultures of the Asian and Pacific Islander community and at the same time improve attendees’ appreciation for healthy API culinary arts. Our goal was to showcase the idea that the API community (who mostly reside in Southeastern San Diego) has a lot to share and to be proud of. Food, arts, and culture are just a few examples.

Why is art and culture important in a community?
Arts and culture are important because they define a racial group and/or entity on a personal level and give an individual identity, stability, and empowerment within the community he or she is a part of. The arts are a powerful means of expression that enables a community to document their contributions to the larger group they are part of and to bring healing and understanding to a community surrounded by mistrust, hatred, and fear. The arts are a powerful healing tool for those who have been hurt by racial and gender mistrust and violence. The arts are a powerful mechanism for peace.

Why should people come experience arts and culture in Southeastern San Diego?
Southeast San Diego is a melting pot of diverse cultures and ethnicities.

culinary-fusion-3What is one thing you hope attendees took away from your event?
 A deeper understanding of and appreciation for the API’s diverse arts and culture, including healthy culinary arts. The event showcased through no-cost food tasting and sampling the healthy menus that were created through STRIVE San Diego!

What is one thing about your organization people may be surprised to know?
Our partnership and coalition have been built on mutual trust and respect. I think for the very first time, we were able to bring together API community leaders who have deep and sincere love, care, concern, and passion for the community.

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Thank you to the wonderful team at SDAPI, Operation Samahan, STRIVE San Diego!, and all of the other partners who made this event a success. You can learn more about these organizations’ important work and upcoming events at www.operationsamahan.org and www.strivesandiego.org.



SAVE THE DATE – Jacobs Presents Ordinary Magic: A Spoken Work Opera





Grow Your Business Through Referrals – October 26





Haz crecer tu negocio a través de refencias – Octubre 26




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