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.
Why is SYS important
“SYS has been a part of my life since I was in 7th grade. They’ve supported me with guidance, love, encouragement and support––with no judgement.”
- Former Youth Participant
"When I think of SYS, I think of authenticity, respect for the dignity of every human being, creative solutions, fun and laughter, journeying alongside kids and families through both pain and joy." - Board Member
"The staff helped me a lot when I relocated to a new city and my family was homeless. They make me believe there is HOPE in my future." - Parent
"SYS provides me and my family with financial and mental health support, which are extremely important to me as a single mother of two children." - Parent
"SYS is important to me because it’s a place of encouragement. I feel loved and supported by staff." - Youth participant