Would you leave your family for months to work in a distant land?
These days it appears many, like Newport Beach man Dave Peterson, are that desperate. Peterson had a great job managing construction on a half-a-billion-dollar Ritz Carlton, but then the bottom fell out of the economy this summer. Lehman Brothers, which had been financing the project, collapsed, and Peterson and hundreds of others were out of work. He looked everywhere and found the most viable way to keep earning for his family would be to take his skills to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
Sounds tough, but it could be worse. Peterson could be among the truly desperate who depend on nonprofits like Families Costa Mesa on the Westside. Families Costa Mesa also fell on hard times lately. Luckily, another nonprofit, Share Our Selves, had been providing enough of a lifeline so that it could keep making its obligation to receiving matching funds from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. Share Our Selves "is part of the reason that we haven’t gone down," said Maribel Baez, the program director for Families Costa Mesa.
Last week, Share Our Selves merged with Families Costa Mesa. It’s a winning combination for both as Families, which will be rebranded the SOS Family Center, provides help to children newborn to 5 years old, something Share Our Selves didn’t until now.
The signs of the suffering economy surround us. Many Roman Catholic parents are discussing the choice of sending their kids to public schools, as they can no longer afford the tuition. They are fortunate that we have great public schools, but eventually they’ll have to worry about what’s going to happen to public schools as state lawmakers try to fill a multibillion-dollar deficit.
For better or worse, we’re all in this together. If we are to pull out of this it will be through our combined efforts. The Share Our Selves-Families Costa Mesa merger provides a smart model of teaming up for the greater good.