Episode 54: Featuring Ray Flores and Kristin Dreesen

Ray Flores San Diego Veterans Coalition

Ray Flores, Executive Director of San Diego Veterans Coalition and a member of San Diego County Office of Military and Veterans affairs sat down with Rise Up Radio host Jared Kelley to discuss how the Coalition is working to help the military community and the veterans community in San Diego. Flores, who is himself a Navy veteran joined the Navy at 17. He served for over 20 years, and after his return to civilian life decided he wanted to help other military families as they go through the transition process. Flores explains how the SD Veterans Coalition is working with a large group of organizations that help to facilitate as well as walk veterans through transition. He goes on to detail the extent of help the Coalition, through its large collaboration with other organizations, help military families with everything from employment and housing to healthcare and transportation. Flores shares one example of a WWII female veteran in her 90’s who needed help getting improvements for disability access in a home she was living.

Kristin Dreesen East County Young Lives

Kristin Dreesen, Coordinator for East County Young Lives sat down with Rise Up Radio host Jared Kelley, to unpack how the non-profit organization, Young Lives is working to build relationships with the youth of the San Diego and to give them a voice. She explains to Kelley that Young Lives is a relationship building ministry whose goal is to help youth discover that each of them has an important place and a role in society. Dreesen, became a Young Lives leader in college after having experienced being a part of the organization as a young girl. After having her own children she discovered an opportunity to work with teen mothers through Young Lives teen mom ministry. Being a parent is difficult enough as adults, but for teen mothers it can be even more of a struggle. Young Lives begins with building trust with the teen girls by bringing them together once a month for a fun filled few hours that allow them to just be teenagers for a little while. Dressen explains free childcare is provided while the girls enjoy eating and playing games. Sometimes they meet at parks or the mall just to hang out with them. “It’s about building trust first with the teens. We have the opportunity to go into schools, hold babies, hang out with the girls and show up for them.” ‘Showing up’ includes leaders helping by doing things like taking the young moms to doctors’ appointments, the DMV, the welfare office as well as other errands like grocery shopping. They also push the girls to complete their education by helping with the resources they need to do so.

Take Action

1.  The San Diego Veterans Coalition is dedicated to serving San Diego's Veterans and their families. To learn more about them visit their website San Diego Veterans Coalition

2. YoungLives invests in pregnant and parenting moms through life mentoring. Learn more about their programs at East County YoungLife or contact Krsitin directly at EcYoungLives@gmail.com or 619.415.9472