I applaud the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce board for naming John Spatafore the San Luis Obispo Citizen of the Year. John is president of the Homeless Foundation of SLO County and has worked tirelessly along with other community leaders to raise funds to build the Homeless Services Center at 40 Prado Road, which is expected to open by 2017.
Nearly half of people who are homeless living in our county are children. Homeless children and teens are at greater risk for poor academic achievement, abuse and neglect, socioemotional problems, as well as mental and physical health problems. Furthermore, chronic stress associated with living in poverty adversely affects children’s concentration and memory, which impacts their ability to learn.
John Spatafore’s dedication, expertise and passion for others will bring lasting change to this community. He is keenly aware of the fact that upward social mobility in the United States is limited, as a child’s family income plays a dominant role in determining their future income. Those who start out poor are likely to remain poor. A college education can be a ticket out of poverty; few investments yield a high return as a college degree. Building this shelter is an investment in a child’s future.
Andrea Devitt, San Luis Obispo