One of the joys in soccer legend Juli Veee’s life is his work with kids who otherwise couldn't afford to play.
With many families unable to afford participating in organized competition, Juli Veee’s soccer clinics are a regular feature of after-school programming at many of Chelsea Investment Corporation’s (Chelsea) affordable communities in San Diego and Imperial counties. For eight years, the retired San Diego Sockers star’s program has been a valued component of many of the resident service plans designed by Pacific Southwest Community Development Corporation (PSCDC).
“Juli works with kids who have limited access to organized play, or professional coaching,” said Robert Laing, president and executive director of PSCDC. “It’s one of most popular after-school programs, especially in Imperial County where many of our residents are priced out of activities like club sports.”
Since its inception in 1993, PSCDC has partnered with Chelsea at more than 50 apartment communities to meet the needs of low-income individuals and families. The scope of these resident-serving programs includes sports and recreation, art, English as a second language, homework assistance, tutoring, computer labs, and other counseling services.
"We’re busiest during the school year, of course, but the goal of helping our students succeed doesn’t end when summer begins,” said Laing. “The children in our communities really look forward to the summer reading program, offered through the Public Library. We sponsor a competition every year to see who can read the most books and it’s become a big deal, especially for younger children.”
Another program with huge implications for the health and welfare of their residents is PSCDC’s support of the local food bank in Imperial County.
“Food insecurity is a big problem in Imperial County and over the years, we’ve helped implement some sustainable solutions,” said Laing.
Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PSCDC receives surplus food for distribution to Chelsea communities in the area.
“The USDA has trained our crews in proper food handling and food distribution,” said Laing. “We pay the food bank to load up their truck and deliver food to our properties. It’s available for any resident who wants or needs it.”
PSCDC is the second largest distributor of food in the Imperial Valley, second only to Catholic Charities.
In San Diego, several Chelsea properties stage their own farmers’ markets by setting up stalls in their community rooms.
“In these farmers’ markets, we’re able to distribute groceries that are nearing their sell-by dates,” said Laing. “It solves a problem for the major supermarket chains while helping our residents.”
Laing has led San Diego-based PSCDC since he left the homebuilding business in 2008. In the last eight years, he has grown the staff from three to 34 and has expanded the company’s client list.
Laing sees the future of the company well beyond its current mission. Just last month, PSCDC completed a new 20-unit senior apartment complex in downtown Morro Bay, Calif.
“Rather than being just a partner, we’ve decided to build our own affordable housing,” said Laing. “We just finished our first one and we’re looking for more opportunities.”
For more information on PSCDC, visit http://pswcdc.org