Mid-City CAN Youth Council member Karina Sandoval, a 16-year-old incoming senior at Hoover High School and City Heights resident, spoke at a Back to School press conference that promoted the Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP). The event was held on August 26 at Hoover High School and was attended by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, San Diego Unified School District, SANDAG, Chair Nathan Fletcher, and other YOP supporters.
Chair Fletcher began the press conference by thanking the advocates of the YOP pass: “This is an incredible asset. I really want to thank everyone who’s here who advocated for so long to make Youth Opportunity Passes happen. I want to thank in particular Mid-City CAN. I want to thank City Heights CDC, and I want to thank all the parents and the incredible coalition of folks who have been fighting for this for so long.”
Fletcher introduced Karina who talked about the importance of YOP. Below is a transcript of her speech:
"My name is Karina Sandoval, and I am a 16-year-old incoming senior at Hoover High School, a City Heights resident, and a Mid City CAN youth council member. Living in City Heights my entire life, I have seen numerous ways my neighbors struggle to provide essentials for their families, from the rent to the food on the table. My single mother being one of them, I was left to utilize public transportation on my own from my very first day of high school as a 13-year-old while she worked early shifts.
"For the past four years, I have used the bus to go to school every morning, attend dentist appointments, arrive at every one of my internships, and make it to daily volleyball games and practices. Through the rush of making it to every destination, I feared the expiration of my bus pass every time I stepped foot onto the bus. There was even once when this fear became true on a school morning. My pass expired that day, and I was short of change. I stepped off feeling defeated as I had now missed my history exam. Other days, I feared being stranded at night as my internship tutoring children ended late.
"With the surfacing of the Youth opportunity pass I never had to worry about the expiration of my bus pass or making sure I always had change with me to be able to go home. Without money being in the way, I found myself taking more opportunities to make a change within my community as I had a potent form of transportation. For this reason, the Youth Opportunity Pass Program should remain in place. This program ensures youth from all backgrounds are connected to their schools, internships, medical care, and early career opportunities. In addition, the YOP is a proven program. Similar programs exist in Alameda County, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Ana. This is our chance to provide our underserved youth in San Diego with the materials to become successful academically and in their livelihoods."
Thank you Karina for an amazing speech on the importance of this program and why it needs to be permanent!
Keep spreading the word about the YOP program. Click here to get a free PRONTO youth card today!
📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN