Grateful For Everything— Sept. Featured Urban Angels

By: Dawn Siddons

“I lost everything I could have wanted in life and I now can finally live,” said Angel Stuart, a gift of humanity faith (aka an Urban Angels volunteer).

lifeisbeautifulA foster care child emancipated at 16, Stuart said it took one person to show her compassion to change her life and create her happiness. Homeless twice, Stuart has moved between sleeping at rest stops, couch sitting, and finding any location of basic shelter.

Even after a rough start to life Stuart experienced greater loss when her daughter passed away at age five in a tragic accident. If I were to ever meet anyone to have an excuse about life being hard I feel like Stuart would have won in my book, but she proves that is nothing close to the truth. Stuart moves against created excuses of being a victim of circumstances and creates a quality of life worth living.

Now at age 31 Stuart lives nicely under her self-earned roof but said there are no strong attachments to her material belongings. Stuart said that quality of life for her is to laugh, live, and love. Stuart is most grateful for good health, a place to live, and her love of art. With a free spirit and expressive lifestyle, Stuart can be found dancing, creating unique clothing, and making people laugh. Stuart is also one of the lead Angels for Monday night volunteering.

“Don’t be a victim of circumstances,” said Stuart. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself.”

This months second featured volunteer coincides nicely with Stuart as both believe in working hard towards something, and coincidentally both were introduced to Urban Angels Darian Kambiz Limo.

“Don’t b****, don’t complain, and good karma,” said Dragan Vasic, the man to speak truth in passionate love (aka known as the other featured Urban Angels).

Vasic is the attitude of “I do what I want,” in the best possible way. He does not seem to carry this demeanor as rebellion of a bad attitude; rather, he represents a positive movement and stands for a reputable purpose.

Coming from a large family with strong values, Vasic said his hard work ethic inspires from his parents who came to America on a boat with no money and built their dream from the ground up. Taught at a young age how to dream and aspire, Vasic said he recalled a childhood memory of not wanting to do a chore until money was thrown in the mix. Vasic said his father taught him to work beyond the motivation of a green piece of paper and to work in a grateful manner towards something for himself. Being grateful for a home with a roof provided by parents who love and work hard for you is a blessing not really understood until older but Vasic’s dad encouraged the mentality at an early age.

God, family, and friends are the three things Vasic is most grateful for. On an emphasis of what he is most grateful for, Vasic said his mother and father are his greatest inspiration. He loves the Packers, working out, and quality times spent with family and friends. Vasic is one of the lead Angels for Tuesday night volunteering.

Urban Angels is melting pot of incredible stories and unique personalities all brought together by a purpose of movement —positive change starting with the nourishment of bodies. What both featured volunteers wanted current and future volunteers to know is that Urban Angels is an open invitation to come as you are to an open table of questions or no question and enjoy a place of no judgment but plenty of compassion. To help or find help more information can be found HERE.

“Volunteer means giving love to other people,” said Vasic.


AngelStuart DraganVasic

(Angel Stuart, left; Dragan Vasic, right)


The importance of positive change in a brief Ted Talk Video:

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Time On Their Hands—Urban Angels Featured Volunteers

By: Dawn Siddons

Time is the only value that cannot be earned back. It will always move forward and will never be replaced. It’s something people will spend a lifetime appropriating. Try to understand its complex concept but don’t spend too much contemplation, because, well—no one needs to waste time.

“People need to know it’s a different rewarding method of socializing,” said Miki Airada, San Diego’s modest gem and volunteering angel.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Airada attributes her approachable, helpful, and daring heart (her three self-describing words) to her father who was an LA officer. “He was the kind of man who’d pull over on the highway to change a strangers flat tire, said Airada. “He’d help any stranger that needed it.”

Wrapped up in the many roles of life, Airada seems to balance out well—or as well as any single mother, working full-time, with a college kid, and volunteering four separate organizations could. She might not be a wonder woman, unless wondering meant marveling over how she manages time, but she is a community hero with an invisible bound lasso showcasing justifiable truth of happiness. Airada volunteers for Sharp Hospice, Foster Youth Mentor, Race Crew, and of course Urban Angels.

“Quality of life for me is being happy,” said Airada. “Happy is being who I am and loving what I do.” Airada said that value is measured beyond monetized depths; it’s personal experience, individual growth, and the power of support in community. “Don’t be afraid to give of yourself,” said Airada.

While it’s no wonder Airada makes a great candidacy of Urban Angels featured volunteer, the busy bee is not the only volunteer devoting time to the community.

“It’s good to share our stories, to take each others experiences and apply them to our lives,” said Ron Buccat, San Diego’s step-to-the plate compassionate leader and volunteering angel.

It takes a certain kind of humility, compassion, and above all purpose for anyone to gain reputable reputation and influence change. Having been on both spectrums of the Urban Angels concept, giving and receiving, Buccat explained the importance of serving others and being a part of the community.

“I’ve lived out of my car for a week once, begging for gas money to keep it running during the harsh winter nights of New Mexico,” said Buccat. Digesting the emotional strain of losing his job, drinking his sorrows and being evicted from a home, Buccat said he overcame personal pride and sought out help.

After a rough reality check, Buccat illustrates nothing short of human humility and expressive gratitude. Back on his feet, Buccat is a cheerleading coach at Del Norte High School, as well as, a part-time speed and agility coach, and of course an Urban Angels volunteer. “Serving others is rewarding,” said Buccat.

“It’s all the same story but a different struggle,” said Buccat. “Don’t take life too seriously and remember to enjoy the moments that count.”

Buccat’s take-nothing-for-granted attitude not only reflects on his own struggles but the recent loss of his mom & younger brother. Buccat said that he use to always plan for the future rather than live like each day could be the last. While he endorses hard work, he also wants to remind others to give and be grateful for every passing moment.

(Miki Airada, left; Ron Buccat, right)

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” —  Abraham Lincoln

Urban Angels Takes 150 Connections Residents & Staff to Padres Baseball

Check out the press release!

Homerun for downtown’s homeless population!
150 residents of Connections Housing invited to attend Thursday’s Padres game.

What: Thanks to a generous donation of tickets, 150 homeless individuals staying at Connections Housing Downtown San Diego are invited to attend the San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game.

When: Thursday, June 20th, at 7:10 p.m.

Where: Petco Park (19 Tony Gwynn Drive, San Diego, CA, 92101)

Scott Lutwak, owner of Fit Athletic Club and founder of local nonprofit Urban Angels, has partnered with the San Diego Padres to give 150 homeless individuals a chance to enjoy America’s Pastime. The individuals who will attend the game are residents of Connections Housing, a 14-story residential and service facility for people experiencing homelessness that celebrated its grand opening in March.

Last week, when Lutwak visited Connections Housing with Urban Angels to prepare and serve dinner for the facility’s residents, he overheard a resident wishing he could attend a baseball game this season. As soon as Lutwak went home, he contacted the San Diego Padres to arrange for a donation of 150 tickets for Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and make that resident’s wish come true.

“Connections Housing’s residents aren’t in the back of my mind,” Lutwak said. “They’re in the front of my mind all the time.”

Urban Angels was formed to nourish and provide food for San Diego’s homeless population, as well as empower a new generation of philanthropic community leaders. Their volunteers regularly donate, prepare, and serve meals at Connections Housing each week. Prior to the game on Thursday, Urban Angels will help residents get ready to play ball by hosting a classic hotdog cookout.

PATH San Diego: / Urban Angels:

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An Urban Angel Purpose

By: Dawn Siddons

At some point everyone will be brought to his or her knees – metaphorically speaking. While mothers achieve a beautiful thing releasing us out into the world, there are no provided manuals to life because no one can really prepare anyone for an arbitrary existence.

We will spend our entire lives trying to find purpose, fighting to live the best way possible and to not feel obliged by the expectancy of others. We will make every choice as life is nothing but an everyday decision. Unfortunately, not all the choices made will be promising and some of the experiences will be disheartening, however, even in moments of darkness light can be found.

At Urban Angels we help out by re-energizing beyond the plates served. We bring genuine smiles, share conversations at the table, and remind each other how to dream and pursue. Urban Angles will not spend time calling out others for what they are not doing, rather invite anyone seeking positive change to join the cause.

Join us and help provide familiar eyes seen through gestures of care at the dinner table. After all nothing shows more care than nourishment!



Urban Angels Needs Your Help!

Connections Housing, San Diego’s brand new homeless community located at 1250 6th Ave., is set to open on January 21st. Connections is an integrated service & residential community whose primary goal is helping homeless people off neighborhood streets and into permanent housing. Virtually every resource a person needs to break the cycle of homelessness will be available at Connections.

Urban Angels is excited to be a major food provider at Connections Housing. We are looking for enthusiastic & reliable volunteers to build an official Urban Angels food service crew. Nourish those in need, give back to the community and help save lives when you help Urban Angels serve food at Connections!

Email for more information and signups

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