As a longtime donor and volunteer, I am a huge fan of SBCS. Every time I see the children at Mi Escuelita, I know that my money and time is helping to improve the lives of our community’s most vulnerable children. As a parent, it is important to me that children be given every chance to succeed in the face of adversity and I feel like SBCS works hard to make a positive and lasting impact on the children of Mi Esculeita and their families.
Need to take care of their employees. Not the directors the actual people that do ALL the hard work that are told there are freezes on raises yet directors get raises (One director even boasted about getting a raise when employees were informed months earlier of the freeze). Employees are expendable, very sad. No room for career growth. The people in the trenches are great and are dedicated to the clients, management is another story.
Review from Guidestar
I would never recommend anyone to work there. I was hired part time and was doing full time work in my department (of course volunteer) while supervisors were trying to find someone with a Masters Degree to do the same thing that I was doing. Their reason for not hiring me, "I haven’t been with the company long enough to apply for the position" BUT I WAS DOING THAT JOB! It was also an extremely hostile environment, I never felt comfortable and my bosses would go to me and openly admit that she was gossiping about me to staff. All because I asked someone what would happen if my company phone breaks?
The San Diego Reader article from February 17 was quite an expose of this organization. Anyone interested in this organization should read this article. It is shocking from so many perspectives.
It discusses what looks like a pattern of falsification and what looks like a cover up and retaliation against the whistle-blowers. It appears the courts found evidence enough to proceed with a trial and that otherwise significant settlements were paid. It appears that Ms. Lembo was not even aware of the court documents that existed, namely what appears to be her own internal investigation which seemed to confirm that falsification occurred despite what she says.
This scandal occurred in the same year as the issue regarding Ms. Lembo awarding her own Board Member with a major contract and then failing to report it as required by IRS law.
The salaries of the administrative staff here and what appears, via another commentator, to be incestuous hiring practices ( Board Members and relatives of key staff), are of concern as well.
Certain non-profits seem to loose their way and this seemes to be one of them.
Review from Guidestar
I have always known that there are many agencies out there who provide assistance to those in need. However, when I came across South Bay Community Services I was impressed with the variety of services they offer for families and kids. I had the opportunity to be a volunteer at their agency and I must say, it was a great experience. I was able to meet several of the staff members and experienced how they are caring individuals who want their clients to succeed. In my experience South Bay Community Services is always willing to offer a helping hand to those who are in need and in order to better serve the community they always strive to provide their employees with the right tools and knowledge.
Review from Guidestar
The shocking thing here is that probably this isn’t the first something like this has occurred in this organization. They just got caught this time. After all……..Who is really watching here??? How many others have benefited from such “deals”? Also, I was shock to hear some the high salaries the management team receives, shocking!!!!! For a non-profit organization that is committed to helping the community it seems like they are more interested in helping themselves first! Shame on you!!!
To be fair…..I do believe that there are some good people that work here but it seems like the poor quality of leadership is bringing this organization down.
I have over 18 years in working with at-risk in education (teacher, coordinattor and Assistant Principal). In my opinion, this is one of the top social service organization in country and led is by a group of people that are true visionaries in the field. They are smart, dedicated, have high integrity and very hard working. They deliver on their promises and produce outstanding results. They care about people and care about getting results. I highly recommend them without reservation.
My direct involvement with SBCS goes back a few year to 2006. At the time I was working as the After School Program Coordinator and a short time later as the Assistant Principal at Granger Jr. High School. Back then, Granger was a typical low performing inner city school: low test scores, apathetic/unmotivated students, unsafe campus (gangs, drugs, bullying, fights) and high absenteeism (lowest student attendance rate in the district). Many teachers were unhappy with the school and some had lost hope in our students.
From 2003-2006 we designed and continued to develop and implement the framework of a new type of academic program that was based on making homework and tutoring mandatory. Our test scores increased all three years so we knew we were on to something good but also understood we had a long way to.
Despite the progress, we were dissatisfied with the level of service we were receiving from our community partner (well known non profit in the area). After many meetings over two years trying to hash out the issues we had with them, we finally concluded that this agency was just not motivated and too set in their ways to improve their level of service. Our goal was to turn our school around and had lost patience working with an organization that was used to getting district contracts due to their political connections instead of the quality of service.
We looked round for an agency to partner with a good reputation in our area. We interviewed several but came away most impresses after meeting with Mauricio Torre and Xavier Martinez from SBCS. They listened to our frustrations and seemed to really understand our needs. We were cautiously optimistic as we entered into a trial MOU agreement to have them coordinate our after school program. From the very beginning both of these gentlemen produced on all their promises and went beyond the call of duty to make the partnership succeed.
Under this partnership with SBCS, Granger's academic scores soared (API score increased from 604 to 698). GJH was transformed from a dysfunctional/low performing school to one of the top schools in the state (2010 recognized the highly coveted Schools To Watch designation). A couple of years later SBCS was hired to implement the same program at National City Middle School (NCM). Test scores improved immdeiatley.
Many other schools in the district took notice and have since entered into contracts with SBCS to provide similar academic intervention programs for them. I now work at a high school in the district and one of the first things I did was to consult with SBCS to hire staff and implement a similar academic support and intervention program.
My personal experience as a Southwest Middle School after school tutor through South Bay Community Services is one that I will always remember. Next time I have an opening in my schedule I will be their again to experience such a rewarding opportunity. Being able to mentor students at that level made me feel like I was in middle school all over again. Such an opportunity is priceless on my menu. The positive energy kids are so good at transmitting made me contribute to it and make it grow. It was great to help them with their math homework and to inform them about all of the career possibilities that are out their waiting for them to scoop them up.
I lived in the South Bay area during the 1980's and I can assure you that this community has improved immensely and I truly attribute it to all to the services that South Bay Community services have provided to the families in this area. In particular, I would like to mention the Academic Counseling provided to the local middle schools in South Bay. The professionalism I observed on a daily basis was admirable, not only between staff but with employees as well. In addition, the nurturing relationships they have with the students promotes well-being and helps them excel in their studies and increase their self-confidence. Many students informed me that their parents saw a change in them. They seemed more in control of their emotions, therefore, able to communicate more effectively. I truly hope that South Bay Community Services expand their programs to be able to serve all the families in this area that have a need for a helping hand.
thank you SBCS for such a great experience!!
SBCS served over 75% of our students at our school by mentoring, tutoring, and counseling them through various programs that were offered by SBCS. SBCS had well-trained, energetic staff members who worked with over 200 students daily in the mentorship program as well as the after school homework assistance program. The students in which the staff members built close relationships with now have a higher sense of security after their first semester of beginning middle school, as well as higher grades and test scores.
I have experiences as both an employee and volunteer at SBCS. I was a part time youth mentor and tutor at a local middle school through the AEC program. Through this program we mainly offered academic support for struggling students and also some mentoring about important life choices. My volunteer experience was with the WINGS program, a program that focuses on helping female youth meet the conditions of their probation and prevent them from any further involvement with the juvenile crime system. Both my experiences with SBCS were very good and overall rewarding. Their programs are professionally run and effectively designed. The staff at SBCS is professional, friendly and always willing to help.
A few months ago I worked as a Peer Mentor in one of the Middle schools that SBCS supports, so I can attest to the great efforts that SBCS channel to motivate students to excel in their academic endeavors. Academic endeavors that have been limited/frustrated (to say the least) by their own parents' lack of support AND upper-level school officials' lack of long-term academic and administrative strategy.
SBCS exposed Peer Mentors to relevant and specialized training, encouraged weekly meetings to improve daily activities with students, and promoted Peer Mentor brainstorming on how to improve the mentoring experience as a whole.
During my tenure in SBCS, I also realized that SBCS offers a comprehensive array of services (other than student mentoring) to individuals from all walks of life who find themselves in need at any given time. SBCS also have a long-list of other non-profit organizations that also contribute to the well-being of the individuals in need.
In a few words, I'm glad that SBCS exists and continues to assist people that need their help.
I am concerned this organization is trying to pump up its scores on this site - they have had their own auditor, who admitted mistakes on the documents on this site, and it looks like two Board members, rank the organization highly - it seems like a conflict to do such - I guess they didnt read the San Diego Reader article which touched upon conflict of interest at this organization. Were these board members involved in awarding a $97000 contract to their co Board member David Bejarano ? Are they fine that the financial documents on this site denied the existence of the contract despite a direct question asking of such- of course they know he resigned from the board after the story came out - and if the action to award the contract violated State law on self dealing transactions, did they discipline any body? I dont think they mention that any changes are needed at the organization. I guess the organizations they work for in their day jobs are fine with this Board awarding each other contracts which may violate State law? I am further disturbed by the developer commenting. It shows the incestuous relationship between this organization and developers, major donors for the organization. For those not familiar with Chula Vista it has been over run by developers, they score points by donating to this organization- the organization then gets to administer the affordable housing units required of the developers - then the high salaries of this agency get to go up-- so no doubts that good works are achieved via this agency's programs financed by me and you the taxpayer - but self serving actions and obliviousness of the Board members rate a low score here -- wake up - stop the conflicts and high slaries and dependence on developers.
I believe it was about 1990 when a friend first introduced me to South Bay Community Services. It was not long afterward when I was honored and became a board member. SBCS is, without a doubt, a model agency that provides much needed services as well as offering a “hands-up” philosophy rather than a “hands-out” attitude. I believe it (the agency) does so because of its leadership. Kathryn Lembo is the Executive Director and carefully guides her “ship” every inch of its way. Kathy has a great team and together they make an incredible difference to those individuals who require shelter, medical attention, counseling, education, training, affordable housing, clothing, food and/or family services for Domestic Violence just to name a few offerings. SBCS provides individuals a place to turn and works closely with the local police departments and other agencies. It was the first agency to offer a Domestic Violence Intervention Program. It was also the first agency to be approved by HUD's Homeless Housing Disposition Program in 1991. In 1995, Casas Seguras opened and was the only confidential shelter and transitional housing facility for victims (and their children) of family violence in South San Diego County. SBCS was also the only 24/7 response unit in San Diego County in 1997 that began accompanying Chula Vista Police on family violence calls when children were present, which became known as the Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT). Additionally, SBCS opened a “Teen Recovery Center” providing day treatment for youth who have substance abuse issues. The following year, SBCS opened an affordable community to low incomes families with HIV/AIDS. SBCS continues to open affordable housing communities along with transitional housing developments throughout the South County benefiting low-income families, seniors, and youth who have “aged out” of the foster care system. Several years ago, Mi Escuelita was opened for children who have been exposed to family violence. Please know that this is the first therapeutic preschool of its kind in San Diego County. I have personally directed individuals to SBCS who had no where else to turn; and so, I am well aware of its services and provisions. Agencies are only as good as those individuals who lead them and have the vision and insight to keep growing and meeting the needs of the community. I am sincerely honored to have been a continual board member for nearly two decades; I cannot imagine not being a part of SBCS.
I can not say enough great things about South Bay Community Services. Thanks to SBCS staff, counselors, social workers and others, much needed assistance and services are provided to victims of domestic violence, hungry families, pre-schoolers who have witnessed abuse at home, young people who age out of foster care and many others. Shelters for victims of domestic violence provide a safe and attractive environment with on-site support that helps families become self sufficient. Pre-schoolers who have witnessed abuse at home can attend Mi Escuelita, a pre-school program which is the result of a collaboration with the Chula Vista Elementary School District the the funding of caring benefactors. Young people who age out of foster care have often been in and out of foster homes and as a result have not experienced the stability and caring needed to be successful on their own. SBCS provides housing and on-site counseling for this population and many have found jobs, learned how to handle their finances and many have gone on to college. These are but some of the many excellent services that are provided. The key to the success of the agency is the committed, expert staff. The Executive Director has dedicated many years to recruiting and retaining the very best and as a result, the strong team at SBCS is a model and is often called upon to train others in this field. It is with great pride that I continue to advocate for and support the agency.
I found out about SBCS' pre-school program through a social worker and I am very thankful that she pointed me to the right direction. It was during a difficult time in our family's lives and the fact that help was made available for me and other families in a similar situation was a blessing, to say the least. The staff provided me and my family with understanding and kind support that helped us work through the rough times. The site director selected a wonderful staff who went above and beyond what regular school teachers do. The facility provided my child with an healthy environment and counselling which helped him address the changes that we were going through at the time. I'm very grateful for whomever conceived this idea and brought it to fruition. I hope that this program receives the support it needs and continue to help families like ours.
Review from Guidestar
I am the Executive Vice President of JPB Development, LLC, a real estate development company in southern California. I have been involved, personally and professionally, with South Bay Community Services ("SBCS")for over a decade now. As a developer of master planned communites, we were looking (back in the year 2000) to partner with a non profit agency to build and manage a number of low and moderate income affordable housing units in Chula Vista. After interviewing a number of potential candidates, our choice was very easy. SBCS stood head and shoulders above every other candidate in terms of track record, recommendations, involvement in the community, efficient management of their projects, and commitment to their cause. We moved forward with our partnership and, thanks to the expertise and experience of SBCS, we were approved to build 271 low and moderate homes. SBCS has managed the project with incredible success since its completion. That original project marked only the beginning of my relationship with SBCS. Since that time I have been so impressed with their work in the comunity and the effectiveness of their managment team, that I have volunteered to assist in a number of their enterprises. Our company, too, has contributed significantly to help the SBCS cause. Our committment -- both in terms of time and financial contribution -- to SBCS has grown over the past decade as we have watched the burgeoning success of the organization and the broad reaching impact SBCS has had on the Chula Vista and South County region. Without exception, the people we have met within the organization have been professional, dedicated,hard working, and caring -- critical characteristics for any charitable organization. they make it very easy to WANT to get invovled and to support such a worthy cause. While our support of SBCS has been across the board, our most intimate involvement has been with the Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool. This unique preschool is for young children who have been victims of abuse or domestic violence. They receive quality early learning and specialized therapeutic care. The school provides a critical step in ending the cycle of violence and helping these children get ready for success in school. In short, I cannot say enough positive things about SBCS and the programs it provides. As I am limited by space in this review, I am happy to speak directly to anyone who would like additional information.
Review from Guidestar
Leaf & Cole LLP is the independent CPA firm that conducted South Bay Community Services’ (SBCS) audit and 990 returns as of and for the year ended June 30, 2009. As the managing partner of Leaf & Cole, I regret to share that we inadvertently marked the box on Schedule J stating SBCS paid for the use of a private residence, which is not the case. We have made the appropriate correction and have submitted an amended 990 with the IRS. We regret any inconvenience. Steven W. Northcote Managing Partner Leaf & Cole, LLP
Review from Guidestar
This is just a general comment in response to agarcia. Interesting how glowing your comment is, and that you say the previous response gave no specifics. I actually read the review by barryjohnjohnson, at the end of the review, I see 3 cases, with case numbers, that is pretty specific. I will give you a specific about this disfunctional organization. Specific: David Bejarano sits on the board, David Bejerano's Security firm enjoys a $97,000 contract with South Bay Community Services. As a member of the public, I find this outrageous and unethical at best. As for their director, Kathy Lembaeu, all I know about her is she rules with an iron fist. I'm sure that she will have some shill respond to this review, just as she did with the review by Barryjohnjohnson. This organization has hard dedicated workers, but has a very disfunctional leadership.
Review from Guidestar
As a volunteer and donor through their various fundraisers, I have been extremely impressed by the programs provided to the many families in South San Diego County. I'm surprised by the previous comment. There are no specifics and all I can assume is that it must be something personal by this person. What I have seen is a dedicated workforce, a dedicated management team and families who are clearly provided with as many services to help them succeed. I receive updates from SBCS that shares how my donation and time has helped families. I truly appreciate that connection and feel I am as connected to these families as the staff who are there hands on. I thank SBCS for their almost 40 years of services! Keep at it...
Review from Guidestar