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.
JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
Urgent First Steps
The JJPA Blueprint
In 2020 the Juvenile Justice Providers Association (a network of 20+ community-based agencies in SF), met monthly and then weekly, through quarantine, to research and write a blueprint for justice reform. As lead agency, we spearheaded the effort and spent hundreds of hours in committees and subcommittees, gathering input from stakeholders and community members and refining ideas.
The blueprint helps define what community-based care might look like in homelike environments with therapy, education, and other resources in partnerships with teachers, families and others invested in the life of the young person. Recommendations included how to finance these changes by reallocating specific city funds.
In it we argue for swift action by city supervisors, urging them to:
• Reduce the footprint of juvenile probation in the life of SF youth
• Immediately implement policies to reduce the number of youth in detention
• Commit to closing juvenile hall in order to reduce harm to youth
• Change the system to prioritize the health and wellbeing of young people
Click on the JJPA Blueprint below to learn about the demographics of incarcerated youth, the diversion process being recommended, and the community care that we believe will be necessary to help improve the outcomes of these young people.