Supportive Parents Information Network
SPIN's mission is to help low-income families achieve self-sufficiency by removing the obstacles that stand between us and full participation in the social, economic and civic life of our community and our country.
How do we do it?
SPIN is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization with no paid staff. SPIN was founded by 12 parents on public assistance in 1998. They were struggling to find a way to complete their educational training instead of being forced to take low-wage, temporary jobs to satisfy welfare reform demands. In an atmosphere of respect and affection for parents and children of all backgrounds, we:
- Provide advocacy training for parents as they try to make the best use of their time on welfare to prepare for self-sufficiency
- Conduct activities that break the isolation of poverty, develop peer support, and build family communications
- Facilitate the inclusion of low-income people’s voices in civic and community affairs
- Plan, develop and carry out projects designed to remove obstacles to self-sufficiency
A few of our accomplishments:
- We’ve conducted the first grassroots, comprehensive Study of Hunger and the Safety Net in San Diego County. With the Caring Council, we spearheaded the cross-class campaign that has resulted in the approval of 69 recommendations to address systemic problems inhibiting access to food stamps.
- We’ve grown from 12 members to 5,000 families.
- We’ve helped hundreds of parents reach self-sustaining employment.
- We’ve trained hundreds of parents, community organization staff, and volunteers in welfare laws and regulations to better advocate for choices that help parents reach self-sufficiency.
- SPIN parents have developed skills in communication, public speaking, problem-solving, and leadership.
- SPIN youth have educated thousands of members of the public about the realities of living in poverty and its effect on children’s lives.
- Working with the Caring Council, we convinced local banks to provide basic banking services to low-income customers.
- In partnership with the Caring Council, we initiated Senate Bill 1264, which became law in 2002. As a result, children's scholarships and awards are no longer deducted from families' public assistance grants.
- We convinced the San Diego County District Attorney's Office to implement the Public Assistance Fraud Diversion Program, which has received a national award. SPIN conducted research with the help of sociologists from California State University San Marcos. We then partnered with the Caring Council to build the public support to which the District Attorney's Office responded.