March 25, 2010

Watch for this Commercial!

For all you Channel 6 viewers out there - watch for this commercial and make sure to go to and click on the banner to register for the tournament! We'll see you at Maderas!

Golfers, you Ready?

Housing California Conference!

On April 28th our Executive Director, Chris Megison will have the opportunity to host a workshop on our revolutionary model to solve family homelessness; the Solutions University. This workshop is part of the Housing California Conference which takes place in Sacramento from April 26th - April 28th and is an exciting opportunity to share and spread awareness about the Solutions University. To see the full details about the conference, please click on the link below. The Solutions University is highlighted on page 14.

Click Here for Full Details on the Conference

March 24, 2010

Our Marathon Blogger: Slow & Steady…With Walk Breaks

Last weekend called for a 21-mile run on the first day of Spring. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, I headed out with my friend Gail to start my run at Torrey Pines. The day was picturesque, and I soaked in every minute of a 4 hour and 20 minute run. The people who know me now are not surprised that I spent a good portion of my Sunday running outside, but I’ll let you in on a little secret…several years ago I couldn’t run for 5 minutes, let alone 260 minutes. So how did I do it?

It started with running just a single mile. I told myself that I didn’t have to run the entire time, I only had to make it a mile. So I jogged (very) slowly and took walk breaks every 2 minutes until I reached my goal. I’m not sure how long it took me, but that’s not important because distance, not time, was my goal. I wanted to cover one mile, and that’s what I did.

Many people think they won’t like running because they have a preconceived notion that it’s all about going fast and running the entire time with no breaks. I once felt the same way. I hated running because I had flat feet that slowed me down, and I hated the burn in my throat and throbbing in my head when I ran too fast. As with anything in life, you have to figure out what works for you. Running fast didn’t work for me. Turns out I’m really good at running slowly and taking short walk breaks along the way. After I knew I could do a mile, I added half of a mile to my distance every week, still running slowly and taking those walk breaks. Once I reached 6 miles, my next goal was to run a half-marathon.

When that day came, I stood at the starting line and looked around. It was one of the most motivating sights I have ever taken in. I saw old runners, young runners, overweight runners. I saw runners with just one leg, runners with no legs—only prosthetics, and I saw blind runners. We were all in it together, and our common goal of finishing this race had connected us all.

I’m not going to lie: That half marathon was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. But I did it, and believe it or not, the very next day I registered for a full marathon.

I treated it the same way I had treated that first mile and every mile since. I added mileage each week, still taking walk breaks. On May 25, 2009, I ran all 26.2 miles of the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon, and I loved every minute of it. I knew then that I was hooked on marathons, but I needed a new goal, a new challenge.

Two months later, I found it. Deeply inspired after meeting Chris Megison and visiting Solutions for Change, I returned to my old list of goals and dreams. I realized that I could combine my love of running and my desire to help others by dedicating my next marathon to raising money in support of Solutions for Change.

When I run the Big Sur Marathon next month, each mile will mean more to me than any mile I have run before. The generosity that my friends, family, and the Solutions staff have put towards my fundraising efforts has been exceptional. If you’re interested, there’s still time left to donate. Check out my fundraising page here

Until next time,


March 19, 2010

Solutions Residents are Graduating!

Over the past 10 years over 542 Families have graduated from the Solutions University program. Our revolutionary model empowers the effects to be permanently instilled into these families and most importantly it changes the futures for the children. We would like to share an opportunity for you to come and be part of the change by attending our upcoming graduation ceremony:

You are cordially invited to the Solutions for Change Commencement and Graduation Ceremony recognizing the achievement of seven families who have completed a major milestone in their commitment to permanently solving homelessness. The parents of these families have completed the requirements for successful completion of the Solutions Family Center - the first 500 days in the Solutions University program. Through their dedication and hard work, these six mothers and one father have equipped themselves with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to defeat homelessness. They have been employed, paying rent, learning and applying new skills and providing for the well being of their children. They are now re-housed and re-staked back into our community as healthy, happy and productive members of our North County community.

Please come celebrate their amazing accomplishment, their journey out of homelessness. Hear their comeback trail stories and experience the incredible feeling of being part of the change that saves lives.

Special: Meet the alumni of the Solutions University as they welcome them back into our San Diego community.

If you are a community partner, an investor or volunteer with Solutions for Change, this is an event that you do not want to miss. If the Solutions for Change cause and our vision to solve family homelessness for kids and communities hasn’t already impacted you in a meaningful way, this evening will change everything you know and think about homelessness. You will be Solutionized.

March 17, 2010

Our Marathon Blogger: One Step Forward

My training plan for the week called for some heavy duty hills. The picture is from the top of the hill I ran last Saturday, 1,200-foot ascent that I climbed twice. Not too long ago even the thought of running up a hill would overwhelm me, but I’ve learned to take them one small step at a time. Instead of focusing on how many miles or minutes I have until I reach the top, I now concentrate on each step I’m taking at the present moment.

Life works the same way. Sometimes it’s hard for us to reach our goals because we are too focused on the final outcome, how big it is or how far away it is from where we now stand. With all the attention put on the end goal, we are often left feeling overwhelmed and frozen with fear – fear of failure, the unknown, or the uncontrollable. But all we need to do is to just start and take one step in the direction of the final goal. When we break down our goals into manageable pieces, into small steps, it’s much easier to move forward.

What are your dreams? What goals have you always wanted to achieve? Have you written a list of the things you want to accomplish in your lifetime, in the next five years, in the next year, or in the next month? Two years ago I made a list of my goals. Although a few items dropped off the list because they lost importance to me, there were two key goals that remained. One was to run a marathon and the other was to do something to help others. At the time I had no idea how I was going to accomplish either goal, or that one day the two goals would intersect, but by putting them in writing I had taken the first step toward achieving them.

Next week I’ll write about the steps I took to transform myself from someone who couldn’t run a single mile without stopping into to someone who’s now running 26.2 miles in support of Solutions for Change. Until then, take your first step forward in achieving your goals and start making your list.

Until Next Time,


March 12, 2010

Mr. President, we HAVE the Solution!

We are proud to announce that Solutions for Change is now listed on the United States Interagency on the Homeless website as one of the “solutions to family homelessness”. This agency will report to Congress and President Obama on various approaches, models and community strategies regarding all homeless, but is particularly interested on programs that work to solve family homelessness. We are currently ranked 25th in the nation as far as “ideas” on solving family homelessness.

Here is another opportunity for you to be Part of the Change! It is as simple as casting 1 vote to help us move up the ranks! :)

Here is what we are asking you to do:

1) Click on the following link: Provide Access to Permanent Solutions by Funding the Solutions University

2) Sign Up


BONUS: Leave a comment if you wish!

Thank you for your continued support!

Change can be made, not only here in North County, San Diego, but across our beautiful country!

-The Solutions University

March 9, 2010

Our Marathon Blogger: 18 Miles and 7 Ways to Help

As part of my training to run 26.2 miles at the Big Sur Marathon in support of Solutions for Change, I completed an 18-mile practice run on the coast this past weekend. With my (slow) pace, I was on the road running for over 3.5 hours – that meant I had a lot of time to think and reflect. I was thankful to have my friend Kacy for support along the way and keep me company for the first 11 miles, but after that I was on my own.

As I ran the remaining 7 miles, I started to think about all the ways one could get involved with helping organizations like Solutions for Change. It can be hard to find time or think of ways to help, so I hope the list below will give you some ideas.

1. Do what you love. For me I love running so I’ve found a way to combine my passion for running with fundraising.

2. Spread the word. Become a fan of your cause on Facebook and encourage your friends to become fans. If you haven’t already, become a fan of Solutions for Change.

3. Start Spring cleaning. What may seem old to you is brand new to someone else. If you haven’t used it or worn it in over a year, you probably won’t use it or wear it again so donate it. Do you have used books, CDs, and DVDs? Find out how Solutions for Change can turn those donations into real change$.

4. Volunteer your strengths. What you do in your day-to-day job could be helpful for a non-profit. If you’re in marketing, volunteer to help with outreach efforts. If you’re in construction, volunteer to do repairs. If you’re a chef, volunteer to make a meal. You get the idea.

5. Engage the community. We all have a favorite restaurant or store that we often frequent. Ask owners if they do anything to support local non-profits or charities, and tell them about the cause you support. You never know, they might be able to help.

6. Get your company involved. Ask if your company would be willing to sponsor a donation or clothing/food/goods drive and promote it to employees.

7. Learn more. Sometimes we don’t know how to help, because we just haven’t asked. Reach out to a non-profit that you’re interested in and ask what you can do.

- Sam

March 8, 2010

The Need for Change is Calling Our Name

By special invitation of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), I had the privilege of participating in last Tuesday’s Community Stakeholder Meeting in San Francisco on the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. I was one of a handful present from Southern California and according to one of the organizer’s the only one from San Diego County. The purpose was to collect input from us stakeholders which would then be used to assist the USICH in preparing a report that will be submitted to Congress and the President on May 20, 2010. I was very pleased to see a strong emphasis placed on addressing family homelessness.

The forum itself was okay. Lots of energy and good ideas. But what struck me the most was the gut wrenching contrast 500 feet to my right. Despite the optimism, it didn’t take long for me to remember that right outside the doors from where I sat were the glaring outcomes of similar meetings in March 2004, held in this same building. In those meetings a group of very capable and dedicated people began crafting a plan to abolish chronic homelessness. Months later they submitted the plan entitled San Francisco’s Ten Year Plan to end chronic homelessness to the Mayor. They met 85 times in four months and engaged more than 785 individuals representing 400 organizations.

The plan, like its counterpart “Ten Year Plans” in other cities across the country, was activated with much passion and commitment around a very serious goal of ending chronic homelessness. Now six years into this ten year plan you don’t need me to analyze the results. If you were here with me you would have met three of the roughly 40 souls I encountered during my ten minute walk from the hotel to City Hall. Martha, Thomas and Oscar all of whom did their best to aggressively panhandle me (Oscar was quite persuasive) represent three of the more than 2500 chronic homeless still churning around on the streets of San Francisco. I know there has been progress and I commend the effort made but all of you reading this must know in your gut that the ROE, the Return on Energy, with all the concerted effort, from such dedicated people, executed over so many years, is way way off the mark. Why?

So once again I offer the opening conversation points for any group concerned about homelessness in their communities:

ABANDON the old failed battle plan of managing the symptoms of homelessness. Stop treating homelessness like a disease that has to be contained and start looking at the impacts of homelessness on human beings and communities as a solvable condition. REDESIGN using a new vision and a winnable battle plan. Start with throwing out the phrase “end homelessness”. It has lost all credibility. Cast your vision around “solving homelessness”. Define “solve” as this: access to permanent solutions. There are three types of homeless (not a judgment, just a clear way to talk about a complicated issue) – The Have Not, the Can Not and the Will Not. Each one needs a very different engagement and intervention strategy. Hint: Treating a Will Not like a Can Not is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. This is the one huge mistake that many communities continue to make and it is costing them dearly. Once you start having this conversation at 30,000 ft. you will begin the strategic process of defeating the impacts of homelessness on human beings AND community and you will REIMAGINE your community homeless free.

- Chris Megison

March 4, 2010

An inspired 52 Day Countdown...

Here at Solutions University we are making a change in the way people think about the homeless, how we solve, not contain homelessness and how we provide people with access to permanent solutions rather than containment solutions. The change is made by our incredible staff, community partners, corporate partners and individuals and most importantly the change is made by the people themselves who are enrolled in our university.

One of our valued supporters is doing her part to be part of the change; running 26.2 miles for our families. Why? Because she is changing futures, not only for the kids and families, but for our communities. For the next few weeks leading up to her marathon in Big Sur, we will follow how one individual commits herself to being part of the change. Enjoy :)


I wanted to thank you all for all the wonderful support you have sent my way and the many donations you have made to North County Solutions for Change. I’ve reached 75% of my fundraising goal so far…but there’s still more to go.

While my training has not gone completely as planned, with a minor back injury setting me back a bit, I am more determined than ever to reach my marathon and fundraising goal. Even if I have to walk half of the marathon, even if I don’t finish within their time limit, you can bet that I will do all that I can to support this important cause.


Solutions for Change has been helping homeless families in North County San Diego for over ten years. The average age of a resident at Solutions for Change is 8 years old. Can you imagine being an 8 year old living in a car, or in a tent with no roof over your head, no warm shower and no way out? Well, this is what Solutions for Change has been working to end.

Solutions for Change doesn’t just service people, they create partnerships between the families and the community. They’re solving family homelessness for kids and communities, permanently. It’s all about breaking the cycle of homelessness.


1. Donate on my fundraising page – all donations go directly to Solutions for Change

2. Become a fan on the Solutions for Change Facebook page and help spread the word They are trying to reach 600 fans this week. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could help them reach this goal!

3. Donate your used books, CDs or DVDs. With the help from many of the moms in the Solutions program, they take your books, CDs, and DVDs and post them on The money brought in with each item sold on goes directly back into the Solutions program. Not only do they raise money, but by engaging the moms in a meaningful, structured work environment, they learn basic job skills and gain confidence while building a foundation for their new life. If you’re interested let me know and we’ll figure out a way to get your donations to Solutions for Change.

One Book, CD or DVD = One Homeless Child’s Life Changed for One Day!

Thank you again to everyone who has supported me and Solutions for Change.

- Sam

Supporter. Runner. Blogger.

March 2, 2010

Mark your Calendars for March 21st!

"Young Artists in Recital"
When: March 21st @ 3:00pm
Where: Meadowlark Church in San Marcos
1918 Redwing St. San Marcos
Cost: $10.00 Suggested Donation at the door.

Be Part of the Change and join us at this fantastic event!