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.
April 1, 2020
Dear Sunset Youth Services Friends and Family,
We know how disorienting this season is for our own families, the youth we serve, and our communities. There’s so much out of our control and yet laughter, song, and hugs (the social-distancing variety) are what we regularly dish out as we strive to keep our young people grounded in relationships and love.
Frustrated by home confinement? No problem, we’ve got a song for that.
Need help feeding your family? We’ll make a delivery and give a social-distancing hug.
Having trouble connecting with your probation officer because you’re sheltering in place and don’t have a phone? We’ll wait outside the apartment building until someone lets us in, and then talk through the door to help you navigate the situation.
There’s so much we can accomplish with a bit of creativity and time, but putting on a benefit gala with catered dinner and live band in the midst of a pandemic is not one of them. With the shelter-in-place order we’ve had to make the very difficult decision to cancel our Annual Sunset by the Bay fundraiser at the Bently Reserve and trust our giving community to help us make up the shortfall. In its place we're hosting "Live from the Living Room"––our virtual gala! Mark your calendars for May 1st at 7pm and join us on FB Live to meet these critical needs.
As you know, the needs of San Francisco’s vulnerable youth and families are greater than ever––many anticipate layoffs, lack access to good food, are contending with chaotic home environments, and are struggling to keep kids safe while cooped up at home. We need your help to raise $88,000 to meet our gala goal and sustain essential services to youth and families who have no financial buffer and few other resources.
Every gift made to this critical appeal–up to $30,000–will be matched dollar-for-dollar through a generous donation. We hope we can rely on your support.
If you read our Response to COVID-19, you know that although we’re mostly sheltering in place, we are actively addressing the most urgent needs of our youth community. Relationships and crisis response are our highest priority.
We’re working with the new Juvenile Probation Chief, Katy Weinstein Miller, to address the needs of young people who are currently in detention. As a member of the Sunset Family Resource Center (FRC), we’re also meeting with the city’s other 25 family resource centers to organize service provision in an evolving landscape in which domestic violence is on the rise and city funding priorities are changing.
In the meantime our Justice Services, Workforce Development, Digital Arts and Technology, Family Support, and Healing Arts teams are meeting regularly to discuss and deploy creative interventions, virtual support groups, job coaching sessions online, and regular check-ins for overwhelmed families and anxious young people for whom social distancing is amplifying isolation and disconnection.
Please make your donation today to ensure uninterrupted services to our youth and families who most urgently need them.
With great hope,
P.S. Donate online or by phone 415-710-0495. We're happy to help with a corporate match or bequest, and answer any questions.