September 21, 2015

An Evening to Remember with...Our American Heroes!

Speech by Chris Megison, CEO Solutions for Change
An Evening to Remember with Our American Heroes
Sep 19, 2015 at Jet Source Carlsbad Airport
Good evening everyone and again welcome to our little hangar! How do you like it? We’ve done some pretty crazy things over the years but never have we transformed an airplane hangar into something this cool! 
Tonight we honor our American Heroes - and as we lift them up we are also calling on their warrior spirit to stand with you to lift up Solutions for Change in a battle that we face every day here with our people. 

This is a battle that is personal to me. It became personal when I lost my brother to his fight with addiction. It became personal one night 15 years ago while helping out at a homeless shelter designed for men when a little girl by the name of Jessica pulled on my sleeve and innocently asked me if I lived in the shelter with her and her baby sister and her mom - she asked it in such an innocent way - like somehow it was okay to live on the cold concrete floor of a shelter. And this wasn’t in one of the many third world counties I was in as a Marine - this was right here in northern San Diego. In my city - and that made it personal enough - for me.  

The ongoing causalities of the war on homelessness, with hundreds of thousands of lost, broken and hurting people, can be seen and felt everywhere. What was once a problem confined to single men in inner cities, has now spread to claim some 200,000 children and their parents in suburbs like northern San Diego. And with the US Dept. of Education saying that there are another 2.5 million children who are teetering on the edge of homelessness, now is not the time for a retreat. Now is the time for a full on surge. And tonight we have some interesting people here who know a little something about how to surge - they know how to move forward in the face of enormous challenges - they know what it’s like to sacrifice and serve for the sake of others – Thank you Taya and Clint, Thank you Dick Marcinko, Ed Eaton, Craig “Sawman” Sawyer and thank you to the dozens of veteran and active duty here tonight - thank you all for your sacrifice that you’ve given to each of us. [Applause]

As we look at the damage that this war is dealing, the impacts go deeper than many of us think - they go right to our patriotic core. The impacts claim many thousands of our country’s veterans new and old, those who’ve served and sacrificed big for us, now try to survive on the streets. They try to survive on OUR streets, with their kids - with kids in OUR community.  In the Marine Corps we used a term called UNSAT, which stands for unsatisfactory. Getting an UNSAT meant shame and failure, something that no Marine ever wanted to hear. 

Having 200,000 kids and their parents; many of them veterans on our streets…IS an UNSAT for America! And although we know that we aren’t going to solve it tonight…we are going to do something about it. We are going to bring our best foot forward and we are going to give it everything we’ve got. Tonight, on behalf of the Board of Directors and our Community Leadership Team, I am pleased to announce our next pig push to solve family homelessness, it will be our boldest effort ever in our 25 years of battling homelessness - it is an initiative that we will simply call Mission: Solve Family Homelessness - or SOLVE IT for short.
We are launching it before the end of the year, but I wanted you to hear about it tonight so when you walk out of here you know this just wasn’t a really cool experience in an airplane hangar and that it’s all over now. I want you to know that we, all of us hereincluding the over 500 homeless kids and their parents who are on the comeback trail right now in our programs, our champions…the Issa’s and the Bakers, the Minarik’s and the Kehoe’s, the Horn’s, the Mayors and the hundreds of others who give- our incredible Solutionizer Warrior staff - all of us…that this is the beginning of one of the most important surge’s in our nation. And our goal won’t be to just “deal” with homelessness – our intent is to SOLVE IT, permanently!

The message is that we are all in and that if you are a homeless kid out there living on a cold floor somewhere, or a veteran waking up in a freezing car with your kids, or a homeless mom like Trinity…we are coming for you! And we are coming with everything that we’ve got!!

Thank You and God Bless!
News coverage of the event can be found here:

July 3, 2015

What America Means To Me

Special Section of July 3, 2015 San Diego Union Tribune - Honored to be selected as one of a few veterans to share my thoughts of what America means to me, on this anniversary of our great nation's independence.

I want to express my gratitude to Joe Tash, freelance writer for the UT for this interview. 

Credit San Diego Union Tribune

Chris Megison

Chris Megison / photo by Charlie Neuman * U-T

*Age: 52
*Residence: Oceanside
*Background: Co-founder, with his wife, Tammy, of North County Solutions for Change, a Vista-based nonprofit group that helps homeless families get back on their feet. Megison also is a Marine veteran.
Question: You served for 11 years in the Marine Corps and have worked with the homeless for more than 20 years. Have your careers reflected your overall American experience?
Answer: As a Marine, you make a pledge. You are going to serve your country and be willing to die for it if need be. (Now) I’ve chosen a different war, I’m fighting a different battle. I’m pushing the impacts of homelessness back. These impacts are a tough, tough opponent. They are kicking down the doors of middle-class America and going into the bedrooms of kids and stealing kids right out of their homes. The kids are innocent. What are they going to do?
Q: You’re critical of some efforts, particularly those of the federal government, to help the poor and homeless. What specifically are your objections?
A: We’ve become expert symptom relievers. We keep feeding people and sheltering people and hugging people, and we expect that’s going to solve the problem, when in fact it’s only managing the symptoms.
Q: Then what needs to be done?
A: What we have to do is go deeper. If you can go deeper with a human being, then you can get to the source, which is multigenerational poverty. There’s a way to solve that. We’re solving it here all the time. It’s education, employment and health-related solutions all bundled into one.
Q: What comes to mind when you think about the United States?
A: We’re the greatest country in the world … (but) we’re losing our way. We’re experiencing, maybe for the first time ever, the crippling of our country.
Q: How are we losing our way?
A: Our country was built on this idea of shoulder-to-shoulder, people-to-people. That’s what made us a great country. We all would work together for the common good, serve for the sake of others. I do believe the people who run the government, they’re all trying to do the right thing. But there’s a thing called unintended consequences. What’s happening is we’re getting to a point where there’s not going to be enough people to pull the cart because so many people are in the cart.
Q: Are you disillusioned about the country?
A: I’m a patriot. I’m so excited about the resiliency of our country. I’m excited, but we’ve got to return to our roots. There has to be almost a revival for our country. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder, heart-to-heart, working for each other, fighting for each other, sacrificing for each other. We’re all more connected than ever, yet we’re all so disconnected.
Q: Who has influenced you?
A: Dr. Ben Carson (a 2016 presidential candidate) and his book “One Nation.” I had dinner with him and his wife last year. This is a guy who grew up right down the street from me in Detroit, and he grew up in deep poverty. His story moved me so deeply. … (He made) this decision, if my circumstances are going to change, I’m going to be the one to make it happen. He went on to become, in my mind and many people’s minds, one of the greatest neurosurgeons in the world.
Q: How does San Diego fit into your viewpoint of America?
A: San Diego is a gem. Like any gem, we have to treat it as precious … take care of the environment, protect our natural resources, keep building the community smart and take care of each other.
Q&A by Joe Tash, a freelance writer in Oceanside.