April, 2024 Convening – Being a Resilient Military Youth

Posted on: April 26, 2024  |  Posted in: Community Blog

Convening Topic:

“Being a Resilient Military Youth”

We had an amazing convening hearing from both military support organizations and directly from a military youth!  We had real conversations about:

  • Difficulty military youth have when building community due to the frequency of their moves and the importance of establishing community.
  • How military youth mature quickly and what parents can do to remind children to live their childhood
  • The importance of military parents being healthy first before they can help their child.  (Self-care and connection to resources is important!)

It was a great space for us to listen, reflect, ask, and learn.  Thank you to all the speakers, organizations, and individuals that attended!  We also had a BUNCH of flyers and announcements full of free family events and assistance opportunities (Our flyer table was jam packed!).  We have links to some flyers below, but we weren’t able to capture everything.  You’ll have to attend the convenings to get all the information! 

Our panelists:

Kate Zlotnick-Hess, Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC)

Kate Zlotnick-Hess is a Children and Youth Behavioral – Military and Family Life Counselor who supports military-connected children and their families at Sessions Elementary School in Pacific Beach. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and began working for the MFLC program in 2017. Ms. Zlotnick-Hess has over 20 years of experience in the counseling field working as a mental health clinician with children and families in residential, inpatient and outpatient treatment settings. She is honored to be able to support service members and their families by providing non-medical counseling thru the MFLC program.

Arturo “Art” Garcia, Outreach Coordinator, Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic

As Outreach Coordinator, Arturo establishes and maintains relationships within the San Diego community and serves as the eyes and ears for the Clinic Director to identify ways that the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, San Deigo can best support its clients. With 20 years of service in the United States Air Force, he is a seasoned logistic expert and a quality assurance team lead, managing administrative processes and providing support to service members. He developed strong analytical, communication, and leadership skills that enables him to excel in challenging and dynamic environments. He retired at the rank of Master Sergeant (MSgt). His career field was 2T2 – Air Transportation. Arturo earned a Transportation Management Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. When asked what resonated him most about the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, San Diego, he said, “Transitioning out of the Air Force, there were concerns that I would lose a bit of myself. Looking for a new career, I wanted to ensure I could find a way to continue serving. Being part of this incredible organization gives me a sense of pride and purpose.

Elijah Toro, Military Youth

Elijah is the son of two United States Marine Corps Veterans that served on active duty at the same time. He has lived in Beaufort, South Carolina, Okinawa, Japan, Buffalo, New York, Columbia, South Carolina but claims Southern California has his home because it is the longest that he has ever resided in one area. He finds joy in volunteering with military connected organizations when he is not running circles around the track, reading or playing video games. Elijah is a Senior at Health Sciences High. He is currently enrolled at San Diego Miramar College completing his EMT certification. He plans to attend a 4-year college beginning in the Fall where he will study Computer Science with a minor in Business.  


Below you will find resources and relevant links that were referred to in this convening.

Materials from the convening:

SDMFC Freebee Alert! 

  • GI Film Festival San Diego (May 6-11):  You can claim free ticket(s) to any Tues-Fri screening during the festival (May 6-11). They simply need to apply the promo code: SDMFamily at checkout.  First come, first served!  Click on this link for showtimes and to order your tickets!  See you on the red carpet!

Some organizations you could have connected with during this convening!

Neighborhood House Association, Serene Health, Mindset San Diego, County of San Diego, Operation Homefront, Marine Corps Community Services (MCRD and Miramar), Outside the Lens, KPBS, Courtyard San Diego Miramar, Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, Big Brothers Big Sisters, VA, Psych Armor, Armed Services YMCA, Fleet and Family Support Centers, Foundation for Women Warriors, Brain Balance, Marine Family Life Counseling, David Lynch Foundation, Grossmont Community College, Child Youth Program (Navy), Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego, Healthy Connections Counseling Center, Ombudsmen from military units, and more!

Please join us for May where we discuss opportunities for military spouses!