Youth Council's Park Campaign gets $1M Funding Approved!

Youth Council

Mid-City CAN’s Youth Council is thrilled to share the news that councilmembers have approved funding for Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park!

San Diego’s councilmembers on June 11 approved $1 million in community green space funding to support the Revitalization of Henwood Park in the City Heights Urban Village, an advocacy campaign Youth Council has led for nearly two years.

The youth told personal stories of the importance of Henwood Park.

"Our parks are at the heart of City Heights, they serve as a means for families to come together and gather, a place for children to play, and most importantly a main host for community events that bring us all together. We need a budget that invests in our parks and our youth," said Youth Council member Anthony.

Click here to read Youth Council testimonials from the June 7, 2024 budget hearing.

Congratulations Youth Council! Mid-City CAN and your City Heights community are proud of your passion, commitment, and service to your community!

Youth Council’s work exemplifies the positive change that young people can achieve when provided opportunity, resources, and support.

Invest in youth leadership by making a transformational gift today. Go to or contact Chloe at [email protected] to learn more.

ITCH Focus on getting YOP Rider Accounts Verified

This Month's Spotlight: 

  Job Openings: Scroll to the bottom for jobs and events 

Español en la parte de abajo | Spanish below 

The Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) program marked its 2-year anniversary last May and there were many reasons to celebrate including over 15.4 million youth rides since YOP started, families saving more than $19.25 million on youth rides, and 93+ percent youth saying they can now get to and from places they need to go such as school, work, and medical appointments.    

The program however is facing a major obstacle as youth (and Senior, Disabled, and Medicare) riders risk losing their free transit benefits due to a new verification requirement, rolled out by San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). Due to advocacy efforts by Mid-City CAN, MTS’s verification deadline has been extended from June 30 to September 30 to give riders more time to complete this process. To date, it is estimated that only 14% of youth rider accounts have been verified.

Mid-City CAN and members of the Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) team held a PRONTO card verification pop-up event on May 7 from 4 to 6 pm at Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park with MTS Community Engagement Specialists who verified over 100 accounts. Free delicious ice cream was given to everyone who registered and verified their YOP account.

Youth riders: Get it done! Verify your YOP account by clicking here (read line 2).

Marcela, a mother of three and well-known community leader, attended MCC’s first YOP pop-up verification event. "YOP has saved me a lot of money on a monthly basis and it helps my children get to school and wherever they need to go. It has helped not just my family but many families in our community."  Marcela is very thankful for the YOP program and would love to see it become permanent. 

YOP has provided critical relief and support for San Diego low-income and transit-reliant communities like City Heights. According to MTS over a hundred thousand accounts still need to be verified, and risk losing free transit access.

We cannot let this happen. We must work together to ensure YOP remains accessible for our communities!

Make a donation to support our Youth Opportunity Pass campaign! 

Your donation help sustain important advocacy campaigns such as our ITCH Momentum Team's YOP campaign. YOP provides equity by giving underserved youth access to more places and activities. YOP reduces stress and worry. YOP allows for independence and eliminates the financial burden for youth and their families. An investment in community advocacy is an investment for us all.

Support Mid-City CAN’s fight to make Youth Opportunity Passes Permanent! 


Upcoming Events

Create the change that you want to see in your community by attending a Mid-City CAN Momentum Team meeting or event! Momentum Teams are how we get things done. They are issue-based action groups where community members come together to tackle issues of concern by taking action. They are centers of activity, advocacy, and community organizing, with campaigns focused on community issues that have gained sufficient momentum and interest to establish a Momentum Team and make change. We look forward to seeing you!

Time and Date

Event and Location


Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Ending Girls Incarceration Partners Network meeting. To learn more contact Manuel Enriquez, 
[email protected] or 619-272-7582 ext. 106)
The EGI team prioritizes the formation of a task force that incorporates community representation in Ending Girls Incarceration.
Thursday, June 13, 2024 Networking Night
Mid-City CAN Office (Suite 550), 
4305 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
Save the Date! Networking Night on June 13 will focus on Housing Issues. Follow @midcitycan on Instagram, Facebook and X. RSVP here.
Thursday, June 20, 2024 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Juvenile Justice Momentum Team meeting,
Mid-City CAN Office (Suite 550), 
4305 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
The team's mission is to advocate for youth justice and center the voices of community members, in particular those who have been impacted by the carceral system. To learn more contact Manuel Enriquez, 
[email protected] or 619-272-7582 ext. 106)
Saturday, June 29, 2024

3rd Annual Queer, Trans, and Intersex Pride Fair
Crawford High School cafeteria,
4191 Colts Way, San Diego, CA 92115

This year's theme is "Fighting for Our Futures." Join us at Crawford High School's cafeteria from noon to 4 pm for our youth-centered, family friendly, and open to all event! RSVP here.
Every Friday, 4 pm - 6 pm Youth Council meeting
Mid-City CAN Office (Suite 550), 
4305 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
Youth Council is OPEN for young people ages 13-18 that reside in San Diego County. And yes, there's delicious food during every meeting! Join by clicking hereNo adults please - this is a space for young people only. 

Job Opportunities

Español en la parte de abajo

ITCH se Enfoca en Verificar las Cuentas de YOP – Pases de Oportunidad para Jóvenes

El programa de Pases de Oportunidad para Jóvenes (YOP, por sus siglas en inglés) celebró su segundo aniversario en mayo pasado y hubo muchas razones para celebrar, incluyendo más de 15.4 millones de viajes para jóvenes desde que comenzó YOP, el ahorro a las familias de más de $19.25 millones en viajes para jóvenes y más del 93 por ciento de los jóvenes dijeron que ahora pueden ir y venir de los lugares a los que necesitan ir, como la escuela, el trabajo y las citas médicas.

Sin embargo, el programa enfrenta un obstáculo importante ya que los pasajeros jóvenes (y las personas mayores, discapacitadas y los beneficiarios del Medicare) corren el riesgo de perder sus beneficios de transporte gratuito debido a un nuevo requisito de verificación, implementado por el Sistema de Transporte Metropolitano de San Diego (MTS, por sus siglas en inglés). Debido a los esfuerzos de abogacía de Mid-City CAN, la fecha límite de verificación de MTS se extendió del 30 de junio al 30 de septiembre para darles a los pasajeros más tiempo para completar este proceso. Hasta la fecha, se estima que sólo el 14% de las cuentas de pasajeros jóvenes han sido verificadas.

Mid-City CAN y los miembros del equipo de Mejoramiento del Transporte en City Heights (ITCH) auspiciaron un evento emergente de verificación de tarjetas PRONTO el 7 de mayo de las 4p.m. a las 6p.m. en el Parque Conmemorativo Officer Jeremy Henwood con especialistas en participación comunitaria de MTS que verificaron más de 100 cuentas. A todos y todas los que se registraron y verificaron su cuenta YOP se les regalo un delicioso helado

Usuarios Jóvenes: ¡Es Hora de Sumarse! Verifiquen su Cuenta YOP haciendo clic aquí (ver la línea 2).

Marcela, una madre de tres hijos y una reconocida líder comunitaria, asistió al primer evento emergente de verificación de YOP de MCC. "YOP me ha ahorrado mucho dinero mensualmente y ayuda a mis hijos a llegar a la escuela y a donde sea que necesiten ir. Ha ayudado no sólo a mi familia sino a muchas familias de nuestra comunidad.” Marcela está muy agradecida por el programa YOP y le encantaría que se convirtiera en un programa permanente.

YOP ha brindado ayuda y apoyos críticos a las comunidades de bajos ingresos y a las personas que dependen del transporte público de San Diego, como City Heights. Según MTS, aún es necesario verificar más de cien mil cuentas, o se corre el riesgo de perder el acceso gratuito al tránsito.

No podemos permitir que esto suceda. ¡Debemos trabajar juntos para garantizar que YOP siga siendo accesible para nuestras comunidades!

¡Haz un donativo para apoyar nuestra campaña del Pase de Oportunidades para Jóvenes! 

Tus donativos ayudan a sostener nuestras importantes campañas de abogacía, como la campaña YOP de nuestro equipo ITCH. YOP proporciona la equidad al brindar a los jóvenes de bajos recursos acceso a más lugares y actividades. YOP reduce el estrés y la preocupación. YOP permite la independencia y elimina la carga financiera para los jóvenes y sus familias. Una inversión en defensa de la comunidad es una inversión para todos nosotros. ¡Apoya nuestra campaña YOP haciendo tu donativo el día de hoy!

Haz clic aquí para hacer tu donativo


Próximos eventos

¡Ayude con el cambio que desea ver en su comunidad asistiendo a una reunión o evento del Equipo Momentum de Mid-City CAN!  Gracias a los Equipos Momentum conseguimos que las cosas se hagan. Son grupos de acción, cada uno centrado en un problema, donde los miembros de la comunidad se reúnen para abordar dichas cuestiones mediante la adopción de medidas. Son centros de actividad, promoción y organización comunitaria, con campañas centradas en asuntos comunitarios que han adquirido suficiente impulso e interés para establecer un Equipo Momentum y lograr cambios. ¡Esperamos verte!

Hora y fecha

Detalles del evento y la ubicación


Martes 11 de junio de 2024 de 5:30 pm a 7:30 pm Reunión de la red de socios para Poner fin al Encarcelamiento de NiñasPara más información contacte a Manuel en [email protected]619-272-7582 ext. 106) El equipo de EGI da prioridad a la creación de un grupo de trabajo que incorpore representación comunitaria para poner fin al encarcelamiento de niñas.  
Jueves 13 de junio de 2024 Noche de networking
en la oficina de Mid-City CAN (Suite 550), 
4305 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
¡Reserve el día! La Noche de Networking el 13 de junio se centrará en cuestiones de vivienda. Siga a @midcitycan en Instagram, Facebook y X. Confirme su asistencia aquí.
Jueves 20 de junio de 2024 de 5:30 pm a 7:30 pm Reunión del Equipo Momentum de Justicia Juvenil en la oficina de Mid-City CAN (Suite 550),
4305 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
La misión del equipo es abogar por la justicia juvenil y centrar las voces de los miembros de la comunidad, en particular aquellos que han sido afectados por el sistema carcelario. Para más información contacte a Manuel en [email protected]619-272-7582 ext. 106)
Sábado 29 de junio de 2024 Tercera Feria Anual del Orgullo Queer, Trans e Intersex en la cafetería de la escuela secundaria Crawford,
4191 Colts Way, San Diego, CA 92115
El tema de este año es "Luchando por Nuestros Futuros". ¡Únete a nosotros en la cafetería de Crawford High School, a partir del mediodía hasta las 4 pm, para participar en nuestro evento que se enfoca en los jóvenes, le da la bienvenida a las familias y está abierto para todas! Confirme su asistencia aquí.
Todos los viernes de 4 pm a 6 pm Reunión del Consejo Juvenil en la oficina de  Mid-City CAN (Suite 550), 
4305 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
El Consejo Juvenil está ABIERTO a jóvenes de 13 a 18 años que residan en el condado de San Diego. Y sí, ¡hay comida deliciosa durante cada reunión! Únase haciendo clic aquí. Por favor, los adultos absténganse de asistir: este es un espacio solo para jóvenes. 

Oportunidades de empleo


Youth Council Back at City Hall

Youth Council

Youth Council members along with Mid-City CAN staff were at City Hall on May 1 for the FY25 proposed budget hearing to advocate for funding for the youth's City Heights Urban Village Revitalization Campaign that includes Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park.

The youth displayed passion, dedication, sacrifice, courage and many amazing qualities as they addressed the council members and let them know their disappointment in Mayor Todd Gloria's budget that does not reflect the values of fairness, equity, and justice for all.

Thank you to Ashley, Karlita, Nidal, Zamzam, Tanya, Judith, Leo, Stephany, Niya, Denley, Abigail, and Obidullah for attending the budget hearing, and to Youth Council members unable to attend who have worked hard on the campaign! NOTE: Mia's statement was ready by Transportation Justice Organizer Lupe.

Click here to read their testimonials.

EGI Team meets with Nora Vargas

Chairwoman Vargas to Support Ending Girls Incarceration initiative

EGI meets with Vargas

Exciting news from Mid-City CAN's Ending Girls Incarceration (EGI) campaign: Juvenile Justice Organizer Manuel along with EGI team members Jasmin, Emilio and Policy Advisor Belen met with San Diego County Chairwoman Nora Vargas on March 6 and the supervisor agreed to be a champion for the initiative! "We are looking forward to working with Chairwoman Vargas and her staff on supporting the Ending Girls Incarceration initiative at the county level," said Manuel.

The EGI team had two asks for Chairwoman Vargas:  

The first was "Will you be a champion for Ending Girls Incarceration and prioritize the formation of a task force that incorporates community representation (Service providers, advocates and youth with lived experience as well as their families)? 

The second: Will you introduce a board letter directing probation to commit to the data transparency and establishing the task force?"

Vargas said yes to the first ask and our EGI team and the chair will work together to create a board letter.

Great progress made by the EGI team! Thank you Chairwoman Vargas for being a champion for EGI!

Volunteers honored at Volunteer Recognition Event

Volunteers honored

Mid-City CAN volunteers and staff had a fabulous time on Friday, January 26 attending the Volunteer Recognition event presented by the Somali Family Services of San Diego, Say San Diego, and Price Philanthropies in City Heights. A huge thank you and congratulations to our volunteers who were honored! Representing Mid-City CAN were Zaw, Denisse, Esperanza, Jannette, Briseyda, Rosa, and Fany, along with staffers Victor and Manuel. Thank you to the organizations for a great event honoring the wonderful volunteers! Everyone in attendance loved the food and fun prizes.

Volunteers are crucial in building a healthy and thriving community. THANK YOU to ours who keep our campaigns going. We appreciate all the sacrifices and effort that you make for the community day in and day out. 

Youth Leaders of the Year

Youth Council

We are thrilled to share the news that Mid-City CAN's Youth Council has been named "Youth Leaders of the Year" by District 9! The youth received the award at District 9's State of the District event on Saturday, January 27 at Wilson Middle School in City Heights.

“Congratulations Youth Council for receiving the prestigious ”Youth leaders of the year” award from District 9. You have been an inspiration to our community for many years and we are so proud of you. Thank you to Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and the District 9 team for recognizing the efforts of the youth,” said Diana Ross, Executive Director of Mid-City CAN.

Youth Council continues to work hard on their campaign to revitalize the City Heights Urban Village that includes the busy Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park. Because of their advocacy $750K was set aside from the city's FY24 budget last June that will be used for the park. Their work goes on as they are focused on getting more funding to upgrade the park.

“Congratulations to Youth Council for this tremendous achievement. I am proud of how bright they shined during their campaign to revitalize the City Heights Urban Village. They consistently amaze me with their incredible passion and dedication by participating in weekly meetings, tabling at community events and advocating at the City's Budget hearings. While there’s still a lot of work to be done in the campaign I am confident that the youth will accomplish their goal and that we will have a special space for everyone in the community to enjoy,” said Mid-City CAN Youth Organizer Victor Ponce.

Congratulations youth, we are so proud of you! View photos from the State of the District event by clicking here.

Click here to learn more about their City Heights Urban Village Revitalization Campaign.

2023 Prebys Foundation Grant

Prebys Foundation

Mid-City CAN is excited to announce that we are a recipient of a Prebys Foundation 2023 grant!

The Prebys Foundation awarded 147 grants in December totaling $30.6 M to advance the arts, support youth success, improve health outcomes, and reduce disparities in medical research.

Mid-City CAN received the grant under the Youth Success and Financial Stability category.

“Our communities are better thanks to the work of Mid-City CAN,” said Grant Oliphant, CEO of Prebys Foundation. “This is why we are proud to invest to their work advancing our shared vision for a vibrant and thriving region. We encourage others to support, learn more, and celebrate their work.”

Prebys Foundation is the largest independent private foundation in San Diego County and works to create an inclusive, equitable, and dynamic future for all San Diegans.

“It is an honor to receive a Prebys Foundation Youth Success grant which will ensure the continued success of our Youth Opportunity Pass campaign and Youth Council program,” said Mid-City CAN Executive Director Diana Ross. “We want to thank Grant Oliphant and the amazing staff at Prebys Foundation for recognizing the work that we do in developing youth into leaders and building a healthy community.”

Prebys Foundation Grant

Snowy Wonderland 2023 recap

Snowy 2023

Thank you to everyone who attended our 3rd Annual Snowy Wonderland Family Event yesterday, we hope that you had a jolly good time!

Check out CBS 8's fab feature about Snowy Wonderland by clicking here!

Big thank you to Sherman Heights Community Center, all of our community partners, Santa and the Elf, the wonderful food vendors, and to our incredible volunteers and staff for making the event a huge success! View photos from Snowy Wonderland by clicking here.

Watch our 3rd Annual Snowy Wonderland video on YouTube by clicking the image below:

Help keep events like Snowy Wonderland FREE for our community by making a donation:

Giving Tuesday 2023

Giving Tuesday 2023

Mark your calendars: Giving Tuesday will be held on November 28!

Please consider a gift to Mid-City CAN to support our advocacy work that brings social justice and equity to City Heights and beyond while helping grow and support youth leaders and advocates in our community!

Giving Tuesday is a global movement created to inspire individuals to give back and be involved in creating a healthy community.

Our campaigns are led by community members and funded by community members.

Giving Tuesday 2023

For over 30 years Mid-City CAN's campaigns have made an impact in the community. We'd love to share some of the highlights that we accomplished in 2023:

  • Continued advocacy for the Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) program by our Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) team resulted in YOP extended for two more years!
  • Youth Council's campaign to revitalize the City Heights Urban Village including Officer Henwood Park resulted in receiving $750K from the City Budget! Our youth continue to advocate for more funding for the park.
  • The return of our Artivism (arts and activism) summer program and a partnership with The AjA Project included a field trip to Los Angeles where youth learned about Japanese-American incarceration during World War II. 
  • Juvenile Justice team supported Senate Bill 274 which passed and will prohibit the suspension of TK through 12 students for low-level behavior issues known as “willful defiance" and keeps students in schools.
  • Civic Engagement team has been informing and educating community members about Medi-Cal and how to get enrolled.
  • Networking Night returned and it was a pleasure connecting and educating the community about our work in Ending Girls Incarceration and YOP.

Whatever amount you can donate is greatly appreciated! To donate please click the donation button below. Thank you for your support!

Donation Button 

Policy Advocate Belen Speaks at SANDAG Meeting

Belen Hernandez

Mid-City CAN Policy Advocate Belen spoke at the SANDAG’s November Board of Directors meeting and shared feedback gathered from community members in underserved populations. More frequent public transportation with expanded routes, safety improvements, discounted or free fares, and amenities such as shading, benches, and bathrooms are some of the improvements that community members are seeking. Belen stated that City Heights is one of the hottest places in San Diego because of climate change and it is urgent that programs that reduce pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions are funded as soon as possible. Below is the transcript of her speech:

"Good morning everybody, my name is Belen Hernandez, I am the Policy Advocate at Mid-City CAN and a member of the Social Equity Working Group. The Working Group is composed of 12 organizations that help SANDAG engage with historically under resourced populations and provide policy level input on the agency's projects and programs. We are located throughout the region from San Ysidro all the way to Vista. And over the last several months the community partners that make up the working group hosted meetings and pop-ups at community events across the region to gather feedback from our region's most underserved populations.

Personally, our organization is based in City Heights, so we conducted outreach and City Heights but also other areas like Encanto and even reaching populations like the Preuss School in La Jolla through tabling events and different community meetings.

The majority of the feedback we received from our social equity communities was related to public transit because transit is for many their lifeline to access the places they need to go such as school, employment, places of worship, doctor’s appointments, recreation, and so many other daily life activities. Our community members aren't asking for anything new … they still need faster and more frequent public transportation with expanded routes to get to more places, safety improvements, regular maintenance and cleaning, discounted or free fares, improved accessibility for seniors and disabled people, and amenities like shading benches and bathrooms.

Many of our communities report that they also need better infrastructure so they and their families can also feel safe biking and walking around their neighborhoods. These transportation struggles are compounded with the rising costs of living and lack of affordability and quality housing which leads to displacement. This is an issue in many of our communities and it's something we've been discussing at the Social Equity Working Group.

Beyond historic under investment in quality transportation infrastructure in our communities our neighborhoods have also been unfairly impacted by some of the worst air quality in the state while also suffering the most as the climate continues to warm. City Heights is one of the hottest places in San Diego because it's an urban heat island. And this is why it is so urgent that projects and programs that reduce pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions are funded as soon as possible and are prioritized in our communities first to rectify this historic inequities.

Thank you all for the opportunity to share this with you this morning."

The video can be seen by clicking here (Belen speaks at the 46 minute mark).

Civic Engagement's QTI+ Youth Survey

QTI+ Youth Survey

Our Civic Engagement team is enjoying working with the interns from the FACES program of Hoover High School and the Junior Achievement of San Diego County program with students from Lincoln High School. One of their projects is organizing a Spring 2024 event for QTI+ youth. Intern Simon would like to hear from QTI+ Youth regarding a spring program:

Hi, I'm Simon, a senior in high school and I'm interning at Mid-City CAN. I’m organizing a community event which will be taking place in the Spring of 2024 and will focus on the issues currently facing QTI+ (Queer, Transgender, Intersex) Youth in San Diego. I made this survey because I would love to hear from you if you are a QTI+ Youth to learn more about how these issues impact you!

Please fill out the survey by clicking this link. If you would like to be involved with the planning, you can email me at [email protected]

Thank you and have a great day!

Visit from Deputy Chief Probation Officer

Juvenile Justice

Our Juvenile Justice team had a special guest at their October 26 meeting.

Thank you to Deputy Chief Probation Officer Tabatha Wilburn who is with the County of San Diego for stopping by to talk to our Juvenile Justice Momentum Team! Wilburn has been employed with the San Diego County Probation Department for over 20 years and has been assigned to both adult and juvenile divisions, with much of her service being juvenile focused.

The mission of San Diego County Juvenile Probation is to fully support youth and their families with evidence-based practices that focus on rehabilitation, healing and positive youth development.

Wilburn has had diverse probation assignments that include working with youth clients in juvenile facilities and also in placement for dual youth, working in investigations, supervision, and drug court units, and serving as a probation department trainer.

Thank you Tabatha for joining us! View photos by visiting our Flickr page.

📷: Guadalupe Rojas, Mid-City CAN

Youth Opportunity Pass extended until 2026

YOP Extended Until 2025

The SANDAG Board of Directors on Friday, October 27 voted to approve a budget amendment adding $643 million in federal, state, and local revenue to advance more than 30 projects throughout the San Diego region over the next five years.

With the additional funding the Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) program has been extended for two more years and is funded until June 2026.

“Mid-City CAN is excited about YOP’s two-year extension and we thank SANDAG, Chair Nora Vargas, Vice Chair Sean Elo-Rivera, our staff, and Improving Transportation in City Heights team members for all their hard work to make sure that YOP is extended,” said Mid-City CAN Organizing Director Ariana Federico Mondragon. SANDAG will release their YOP Impact Study in November and the numbers show that the program has been a huge success.

Mid-City CAN attended the Board of Directors meeting and spoke in favor of passing the budget amendment. Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) members Denisse and Farnelle talked about the benefits of YOP, and Base Builder Guadalupe and Organizing Director Ariana read testimonies written by high school students and ITCH members George and Ezra who were unable to attend because they were at school.

“I've been riding public transportation since I was 3 months old and I'm still using public transportation. I still don't have a license and I depend on public transportation. So I've been a long-time rider using public transportation. I want you guys to approve this budget as it's important for the youth because we are going to be long time riders,” said Denisse.

"When we prioritize the health, safety, and access to resources for our youth in the form of accessible transportation we see better change," said Farnelle. 

Since the Board approved the FY 2024 Annual Program Budget in May, SANDAG has received additional state and federal funds and an increase in revenue collection. The budget amendment was brought to the Board to allocate the revenue to projects in the budget.

“These investments will improve the lives of everyone across our County, by increasing accessibility and enhancing all our region has to offer. I’m proud of the work that we are doing at SANDAG to deliver on our commitments to the people of the San Diego region through a lens of equity and inclusion,” said SANDAG and San Diego County Board of Supervisor Chairwoman Nora Vargas.

SANDAG Vice Chair and Council President Sean Elo-Rivera praised Mid-City CAN team members who were present as well as the many who have advocated YOP for more than a decade.

“I want to thank Farnelle and Denisse, as well as Guadalupe and Ariana for bringing forward the voices of youth from my district into this conversation. Your advocacy has been incredibly impactful. The Youth Opportunity Passes that are in here and that we funded in the past are a direct result of the advocacy of City Heights youth and City Heights mothers and grandmothers for over a decade. Thank you for keeping at it. It's having a huge impact on youth across the region. I hope you all are as proud of yourselves as I am of you,” he said.

Learn more about the YOP program by visiting

Transcript of Ezra and George's statements:

George's statement read by Ariana: The YOP program has proven to be beneficial to the all people in the County. San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), being the 2nd largest school district in California, has seen widespread positive effects due to the implementation of this program. Free transportation across San Diego has provided students with opportunities never before seen, allowing them to freely travel to school, jobs, recreational activities and much more without worrying about transportation. Cutting funding for this program would be cruel to the youth of all San Diego as some have come to see it as their main form of transportation. That is why I urge the board to keep funding this program, as it would be beneficial for students who don’t have the same economic opportunities as others, allowing for greater equity for our youth.

Ezra's statement read by GuadalupeMy name is Ezra Skerlecz and I am a senior at San Diego High School. I wrote this statement in complete support of extending the Youth Opportunity Pass program. The program has allowed countless youth, myself included, greater access to educational, vocational, and recreational opportunities. The value of these opportunities is beyond quantification, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that extending the program is well worth the investment. The program serves as a major step in establishing a more equitable San Diego as kids like me who were previously obstructed by financial barriers, such as the one posed by bus fares, are now more free to pursue their interests. I ask that you please invest in the community and fund the extension of the YOP program. Thank you.

Youth Council at Dia de los Muertos 2023

DDLM 2023

Youth Council and our Civic Engagement team had fun attending the 26th Annual City Heights Dia de los Muertos community event at Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park on October 28! The youth showcased art that they painted under the guidance of Maira Meza of Arte Hasta La Muerte earlier this month. Civic Engagement's newest team member Raphael was also present and talked to community members about Medi-Cal.

Community members were entertained throughout the day: The colorful low-riders cars were provided by Dead End Car Club and the crowd enjoyed performances by Mariachi Victoria, Hoover High Marching Band, Drummers Without Borders, San Diego Ballet, Ballet Folklorico, Fern Street Circus, Let's Dance for Fun - youth dance group and more. Paper mask making activities for all ages was hosted by the San Diego Guild of Puppetry.

Youth Council

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican tradition and celebration in honor of our deceased loved ones in which we offer them altars that contain food and items that our deceased enjoyed in life. Many families throughout the United States observe this tradition in their homes and celebrate together with the community to represent the tradition of people visiting cemeteries to decorate graves.

For more photos visit our Flickr page at:

Dia de los Muertos 2023 | Flickr

Mid-City CAN Calls on SANDAG to hire visionary new CEO

Lupe speaks at Press Conference

Coalition of San Diego organizations call on SANDAG to hire visionary new CEO during Sept. 8 press conference

On Friday, September 8th, coalition members representing over 15 diverse organizations including Mid-City CAN, held a joint press conference calling on SANDAG to employ an open, transparent, and community-involved hiring process to replace CEO Hasan Ikhrata and to pursue an equitable, sustainable vision for San Diego transportation.

Mid-City CAN Organizing Director Ariana and Base Builder Lupe were part of the press conference. Lupe was one of the speakers and talked about the importance and impact of the Youth Opportunity Pass program. Excerpts from her speech:

"Many of our youth advocates are dependent on public transit, including our newest member Mia. Mia depends on public transportation to get to school out in Mission Bay, because her local high school doesn’t offer college prep courses. Almost daily, her commute is about 2-hours when she travels from Sherman Heights to Mission Bay to then City Heights. Despite the long commutes – she is determined to have a better education and is pursuing a career as a school counselor.

I am amazed by our youth’s work, of how much they care about their community and are eager to be part of the changes that will improve their surroundings. Like Mia, YOP gives youth the opportunity to participate. Personally, what saddens me the most is when someone has potential and the capacity to do great things in life but are unable to reach their maximum potential due to the lack of opportunities and resources. YOP helps give youth a fair chance regardless of their socioeconomic background. 

Like many others, I would like to see a permanent program that will benefit youth for years to come. The next SANDAG CEO needs to demonstrate commitment to the needs of youth and our working families. In addition, SANDAG’s next CEO must support and implement the 10 Transit Lifelines, to meet the needs of our transit dependent community."

The press conference took place in conjunction with the first SANDAG Board meeting since Ikrata announced his resignation (effective Dec 29). The organizations also gave public testimony during the meeting.

The environmental, health, mobility, social justice and community-based organizations, who co-authored this press statement will advocate for hiring another preeminent transportation planning expert. We want to ensure the new hire will expand on Ikhrata’s accomplishments and surpass state mandates to achieve an equitable, sustainable future for all residents of San Diego County, with clean air, healthy communities, and green jobs.

View photos from the press conference by clicking here.