Tag Archives: youth justice

Sunset Youth Services

Lives are made up of a collection of moments, both important and unimportant, decisions both major and minor, and relationships between people, both loving and less than cordial.

 

Friday evening I was privileged to photograph a Roaring 20’s themed fundraising event at the Bently Reserve celebrating the 20th anniversary of a moment when a decision was made that has changed countless lives for the better.  Twenty years ago, Dawn and Ron Stueckle and their friend Delvin Mack co-founded Sunset Youth Services.  Rev. Stueckle and his wife were young, idealistic newlyweds, determined to make a difference in the lives of young people.  Rev. Mack wanted to focus on Asian youth in the juvenile justice system.  Since then, with their stated mission “to foster long-term stability and growth for in-risk youth and families through caring relationships and supportive services”, they have created a vibrant community.

 

Sunset Youth Services offers case management, which helps prevent juvenile delinquency and violence.  (90% of their youth in case management avoided repeat offenses versus 30% from the Youth Guidance Center). They have a Youth/Teen Center where kids can hang out after school and do homework, socialize, or talk to caring adults. They offer digital arts and technology training, which can lead to careers in the future while keeping youth out of trouble in the present.  In addition they also offer Family Crisis services, Life Skills training, a Food Pantry, and Café food preparation training  . . .

 

SYS serves over 3500 families a year in San Francisco.  The families they serve come from all over the city, and many of them are immigrants.

 

I heard stories from people who have been through the program – a woman who is now ‘fighting in the boardroom rather than out fighting on the streets’, a young adult who is receiving support as he completes his GED and prepares for college,  a mother who struggled to manage her home life but now has a plan for the future . . .

 

With a program like this it’s no wonder that SYS has the support of politicians, police, and the public.  Dawn, Ron, and Delvin are an inspiration to us all.

 

And, a week after the tragedy in Boston, I have to wonder – if the Tsarnaev brothers had been involved in one of Sunset Youth Services’ programs, would the story be different?

 

To help Sunset Youth Services, donate here:  http://www.sunsetyouthservices.org/

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