Co-Founder & Executive Director
Dawn has worked with young people in San Francisco for more than two decades, starting campus-based girls’ support groups at Lincoln High School and A.P. Giannini Middle School in the early 1990s and co-founding in 1992 the organization that would later become Sunset Youth Services. In addition to providing leadership for the nonprofit, managing staff, connecting with donors, and building relationships with young people served by Sunset Youth Services, Dawn partners with numerous community coalitions and city agencies as an advisor, change agent, and voice for the disenfranchised youth of the city.
In 2018 Dawn was elected to co-chair the Juvenile Justice Providers Association (JJPA)–– a consortium of community-based organizations that she helped establish in 2004 and which plays an important role in local policy-making, youth advocacy and has a strong voice in how funds are used to meet the needs of vulnerable youth.
Programs as Pathways to Connection and Healing
The mission of Sunset Youth Services is to foster long-term stability and growth for systems-impacted youth, young adults, and families through caring relationships and supportive services. This goal is based on the simple belief that youth are inherently worthy of dignity and respect and have the potential to positively contribute to their communities when their real needs are met.
Our healing-centered approach to youth development helps us to recognize that our young people are active agents in the creation of their own well-being and, given the opportunity and resources, have the power to address the roots of their own trauma.
What does this look like practically? In one-on-one therapy, creative projects, and healing arts groups, young people build on their experiences, knowledge, skills and curiosity to reinforce that they are more than the worst thing that has ever happened to them. They address harmful systems and structures and speak truth to power in song, art, and other liberating forms of expression. This happens in the context of a culturally-affirming and uplifting community that is invested in seeing them thrive.
Learn more about how our innovative Attachment Community offers security and dignity to young people through relationships with stable, caring adults.
Our dynamic youth programs offer tangible pathways and opportunities for self-discovery and growth––essential for developing independence and hope.