Thursday, April 2, 2020

JD Solís takes Full Advantage of Every Opportunity

Wedged into the southeast corner of California, between the Mexico border and the Colorado River, the city of Calexico offers limited opportunities beyond seasonal farming and government work.

Salinas, CA, April 02, 2020 - As a fifth-grader, José David (JD) Solis didn’t understand the reasons behind his parents’ decision to pick up and move the family 525 miles north to Salinas.

Today, JD is 16 and a sophomore at Alisal High School, and fully recognizes the relocation as a turning point in his young life.

“Now I look back and realize that it was actually a blessing to move here,” he said. “The number of opportunities I receive here is higher than if we had stayed in Calexico.”

One of those opportunities came through Gil Basketball Academy. At first JD found it difficult to find friends, and to assimilate into his new environment.

“It was very different from Calexico, so just adapting to the city and everything was challenging,” he said.

Gil Basketball Academy helped JD both socially and academically.

“It opened so many doors for me,” he said. “I’ve met so many new people and created so many new friendships. I think my favorite thing in GBA is, of course, being able to play with all my friends, but it’s the bond we all built at the academy. It’s all one big family on and off the court.”

Through Gil Basketball Academy’s select travel team, JD has ventured to far-flung places — including Mexico and Italy. What’s more, GBA’s emphasis on education reveals an often-obscured path to college.

“My goal is to attend a nice college and play ball,” he said. “With a good education you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it. GBA prioritizes that. What happens in the classroom always comes first.”

When it comes to his own education, JD gives full credit to his parents. His mother works for Opportunity Fund (providing loans to low- and moderate-income immigrants, women and underserved small business owners). JD’s father is a freshman AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher at Alisal High, helping prepare students for success beyond high school.

JD has a sister in fifth grade and a brother who is a senior at Alisal — and both play for GBA.

“Playing basketball has helped make me into the person I am today,” JD said. “It has taught me a lot, on and off the court.”

The 5-foot, 9-inch shooting guard was part of the 2019 junior varsity team that went 20-4, and was called up late in the season to help the varsity squad in the playoffs.

“One of the most important things I learned from the game was that failure is a way of life, and you shouldn’t hang your head or feel sorry for yourself,” he said. “Being a part of a team made me realize that you can’t do everything on your own.”

Without his immediate family and his GBA family, JD said he would be completely lost.

“I have no clue where I’d be right now,” he said. “I don’t think I would be on the streets or anything because of my amazing parents. They’re always there for me when I need them, they always believe in me and they wouldn’t let me throw away my future.”

JD said GBA taught him how to love his community and be more appreciative of the things he has in life.

“It really is one of the best things to happen to me and this city,” he said. “It helps the whole community, but especially kids who don’t have that much support at home. It keeps kids active, here playing ball and not on the streets.”

Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455

VNA Receives Grant for $2,010 From Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop in Carmel

VNA is proud to announce it has received a grant award in the amount of $2,010 from the Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop of the Carmel Presbyterian Church.

Monterey, CA, April 02, 2020 - VNA is proud to announce it has received a grant award in the amount of $2,010 from the Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop of the Carmel Presbyterian Church.

The mission of the grantor is "To give witness to faith in Christ and evidence of goodwill and caring by donation all store proceeds, less operating expenses, to organizations that provide for the physical, emotional, educational and social needs of the community."

The grant award is for VNA Community Services’ CPR classes provided on-site by the VNA nurses using the American Heart Association class model. These funds provide the basic equipment to accomplish this task, including:

Adult and infant mannequins

AED trainers

BLS training DVD

Heartsaver Training DVD

Adult and infant lung bags

Adult and infant trainer masks

One-way valves

Adult and infant BVM trainer

Yellow Brick Road is an outreach ministry of Carmel Presbyterian Church. For more than 30 years, Yellow Brick Road has offered new hope to Monterey County's neediest citizens. The net proceeds of all sales in its three benefit shops is given through grants to carefully selected charities who provide critical services to men, women and children in Monterey County. To date, Yellow Brick Road has given more than $6.5 million.

An additional outreach is a scholarship program that assists dedicated young people in need of help to continue their education.

The main shop is located at 26388A Carmel Rancho Lane, adjacent to the

Barnyard Shopping Village in Carmel. For more information, call (831) 626-8480 or go to

About VNA
Since 1951, the not-for-profit VNA has provided a wide range of home health care, serving Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and South Santa Clara counties. VNA places an emphasis on individual patient needs and goals, providing care in an ethical, effective, compassionate and fiscally responsible manner.

VNA Community Services brings wellness to our community. Well known as the community immunizers; experienced, professional registered nurses provide on- site flu and vaccine services.

As the only travel health clinic, VNA provides comprehensive consultation and immunizations for international travelers. Health screenings and education are offered to corporate business, in the field or in the board room. Nurses provide services to local schools to meet state-mandated screenings, vaccines and staff education.

Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455