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Katy Miller

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DELANCEY STREET FOUNDATION
August 25, 2008

I moved here [to San Francisco] from San Diego at the time when Delancey Street was helping San Francisco to reform its juvenile justice system. The then-mayor Mayor Brown had approached Delancey Street because they’d had such obvious success with their previous programs. I was hired as one of the very small group of people working on the program who wasn’t a Delancey Street resident. That was in 1997. I worked for two and a half years on that, and then I worked with them opening up the school that they have on Treasure Island. I met my husband here—he was also brought here to work on the project. And so I had this amazing experience to be able to work everyday with the residents and the people in this program. It’s an incredible experience to be able to come here to work everyday. There’s such a deep and pervasive spirit here for positive change, and you can’t get that anywhere else. I have kind of an outsider’s inside perspective. *This review was collected by GreatNonprofits staff and entered on behalf of the reviewer

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

On a personal level I have gotten to know a lot of participants in the Delancey Street program and see them stay and be real leaders or leave and go out into the community and be real forces for positive change. I've obviously heard a lot of people's personal stories about how this program really turned their lives around, especially since I worked in the Mayor's office and then the DA's office, and Delancey Street regarded as an authority. The city looks to it for pressing issues like prison reentry and things like that. And thorugout San Francisco people have different levels of knowledge about Delancey Street--some know it as the restaurant, some know it as the Christmas trees, and, of course, there are people who specifically come to this restaurant because they know it supports Delancey Street. It's also just so great at challenging and changing people's perceptions. I was here one day years ago with a couple of police officers and one of them was so nervous and he kept looking around. And just as our server came he asked me “Where are all the criminals?” I pointed up to the guy with our food, and it was just a really funny experience. It just goes to show how this place challenges people’s perceptions.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

A lot of people here are total characters. What I really enjoyed was the strong sense of community, such a strong sense that people can really make changes in their lives if they have the motivation and the support. It’s such a positive environment to be in. Some of the positive culture here can rub off on everybody. I have also always been so impressed with the work ethic here—people work such long hours and work so hard here. Working here with people, I’ve seen that, and with the moving company—they moved my family this May, during the hottest day of the year, a thousand stairs, and they did it. As a business interaction, I’ve always loved their professionalism. I also love the sense of humor here—they have a sense of humor about themselves and about where they came from.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

I don’t know what their priorities would be. Obviously there’s a balance here—you don’t want to lose the intimacy of the community, but also you have more and more people lined up at the door. Part of me wants to say serve more people, but I don’t know if that would dilute the magic of the place.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & I did some work with Delancey Street, I have used Delancey Street moving company 7 times in a decade, I come to the restaurant a lot, I buy Christmas trees for them-overall they're amazing.