CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A non-profit organization in the South Bay is helping our community's most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents. In this Zevely Zone, I visited the Emo Brown Foundation. The foundation uses a network of members from small business, education, cultural sectors and social service sector to help neighbors in need.
A few months ago, I aired a segment titled 'Up All Night' about San Diegans who work hard while most people are sleeping. We went to the UPS plant in Chula Vista where I met a father who delivers for his community in more ways than one. It was at the UPS, in the middle of the night, where I met Steve Garcia who was in a great mood. "Every day. All day," said Steve who told us if we thought his UPS job was impressive just wait until we saw his day job.
Steve owns 3 Punk Ales Brewing Company where he and his buddies founded a non-profit called the Emo Brown Foundation. "Emo Brown is like a sad Mexican. Emo, sad. Brown, the color of our skin, so it's Emo Brown the saddest Mexican and we made a point to flip those tears and turn them into cheers and go out into the neighborhood and help out," said Steve.
From gratitude bike rides to golf tournaments, the organization raises scholarship money for students in need. "Most of the people that are involved with us are from the South Bay. Chula Vista, I.B., San Ysidro, Barrio Logan, National City," said Steve who was born and raised in Chula Vista.
One of his good friends, Justin Lipford, sits on the Emo Brown board. "For us it was about finding the next leaders to make a change," said Justin who also works for the YMCA. "All we are trying to do is do what we can in that moment to help the individual, the family, the community have a sense of peace and happiness," said Justin.
Steve Garcia owns several businesses and wants to show the next generation how to build wealth and buy a home. "So, in our network we have real estate agents, we have mortgage lenders, we have brokers, we have educators," said Steve.
The Emo Brown motto is Doing Good in Our Hood. "How Chula Vista are you?" asked Steve showing off some of his tattoos. Justin has a mohawk framed by his most recent tattoos. "This is the most recent one I got, pretty cool right? Matches the haircut," he laughed.
"You got to represent your brand," said Steve. "That's Chalino Sanchez, that is a Mexican folk hero. You know he is a like a Mexican Robin Hood." The same could be said about Emo Brown. "There are hurdles, there are obstacles, and if we come together as a community to help people who need to scale these hurdles or get over these obstacles, then I feel we all win together," said Steve.
The father of three who has been married for 17 years starts his day in the middle of the night at UPS, then when the sun rises he goes to work for his community. "I have heard that some people are calling you Mr. Chula Vista," I said. Steve told me, "I don't know who these people are sir. It's not the name I want to take upon myself, it's a cool name but not for me. We are all Mr. Chula Vistas at Emo Brown," said Steve.
The Emo Brown Foundation also has a popular podcast. If you'd like to learn more information or get involved with the group, click here.
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