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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Sunset Youth Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Crime & Law, Employment Preparation & Procurement, Inmate Support, Job Training, Youth Violence Prevention

Mission: To foster long-term stability and growth in high-risk youth and families through caring relationships and supportive services.

Results: In Fiscal Year 2018: • Over 600 individuals served • Over 100 young people engaged in job training and employment • 150 families accessed family support services • 55 young people participated in digital arts programs while in juvenile detention • For 5+ years, over 90% of formerly incarcerated young people who receive case management services do not re-offend

AWARDS

• 2019 Winner of SF Symphony's Ellen Magnin Newman Award

• 2018 Leadership Peacemaker Award by the Community Boards

• 2017 California Nonprofit of the Year

Programs: Justice Services: Supported by case managers—who provide ongoing encouragement, crisis counseling, and referrals to services as well as education and career guidance—justice-involved young people break patterns of violence, meet probation requirements and court mandates, achieve stability, and reach personal educational and employment goals.

Workforce Development: This program helps high-risk youth and young adults rekindle hope and break free from destructive patterns by providing supportive trauma-informed services, incentivized job training, and employment opportunities needed to build stable lives.

Digital Arts & Technology: This program provides youth with access to and training for digital film and audio recording technology to tell their stories. Youth also have access to a computer lab for Internet use and e-mail accounts as well as homework and games.

Family Support: Our trauma-informed Family Success Coaches (one of whom speaks Mandarin) meet weekly with families in crisis and help them identify needs, brainstorm options, establish parenting goals, and practice positive parent-child interactions. Services include referrals, advocacy for children in the public school system and juvenile-justice system, research-based parent education workshops, parenting classes, family-bonding outings, and a weekly food pantry.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I appreciate all the work SYS is doing in the community. It is so important to invest in our young people. I went to the gala this year and was so impressed by all their students, programs, and creativity!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of being a board member for Sunset Youth Services (SYS) for the last several years and have had the opportunity to see first hand the dedication of Dawn Stueckle, the Executive Director of SYS, and her staff to the underprivileged and challenged youth of San Francisco. These at-risk youths are challenged in every aspect of their lives--they have unstable family relationships, are unable to perform in school, are devalued as individuals and lack self-esteem. Basically, society has cast them off and has sent the message that they are not wanted. SYS has adopted a philosophy of developing an Attachment Community with these individuals. The staff become involved in their lives, develop new relationships with them, interrupt and deconstruct old concepts of self-worth and infuse these "castoffs" with a sense of purpose, dignity, love and self-esteem. They do this through Digital Arts Programs (they have their own record company, UpStar Records and UpStar TV); Family Support Programs that teach positive, supportive family dynamics; Work Force Development Programs that teach job and personal skills that facilitate entry into the work force and the dignity associated with being self-sufficient; and by providing Justice Services that help these kids navigate the complexities of the justice system, supported by highly trained and experienced case managers. The success of these programs is reflected in the fact that the recidivism rate is only 10%--90% of the individuals do not re-offend!! To see a highly trained, dedicated staff become intimately involved in the lives of our most vulnerable population and to see the positive results of these efforts is heart-warming and a blessing. The work of SYS is inspiring and exemplary.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services is celebrating its 25th anniversary--an incredible milestone when considering the demanding, time-consuming and challenging work that they do. SYS serves the most challenged youth in San Francisco--the forgotten and neglected ones--the ones with few resources, little to no family support, difficulty with authority and often times frequent encounters with the juvenile justice system. The dedicated and well-trained staff provide services and programs for these kids that are built on developing long-term relationships that provide love, stability, job training and self-esteem with the goal of integrating them into society and making them productive members of our community. As an indication of their success, the recidivism rate of the youth they work with is 10% compared with a 70% rate in those who don't have the opportunity to work with organizations like SYS. Another indication of their success is that SYS was named 2017 California Nonprofit of the year. This is a wonderful organization performing vital services to our most needy youth of San Francisco

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with SYS for about 3+ months.

The best part about SYS is the people. They put a lot of work in helping children and families.

It's been a pleasure serving with these folks!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an amazing nonprofit that changes lives through building deep caring relationships within the community (staff and members alike) and through supportive services to foster long-term stability and growth

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I attended their spring gala that features their work in the community as well as many of the community members and clients that they work with. It is inspiring to see dedicated staff work alongside their clients to pull off an amazing event.

Worth noting is the recently launched Upstar TV in partnership with SF Commons Public Access TV. Just as Sunset Youth Services and their Upstar Records has had a positive impact through music production and employment opportunities, Upstar TV expands the impact of their youth empowerment focus by creating additional opportunities for skill development while celebrating the successes of featured artists.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been attending the Sunset Youth Services Annual Gala for the past few years and have been impressed with their mission, commitment, and effectiveness in working with in/at risk youth and their families. We have continued to increase our support every year because the work being done to support local families has a real impact.

I have been most moved by their program to bring recording equipment to parents who are incarcerated so that they can read to their children and maintain or even increase the bonds between parent and child.

Included is the group I brought to the 2017 Gala.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I live near to the Sunset Youth Community Center and I am a periodic volunteer, as well as a regular donor. Their presence and program is desperately needed amongst a population of youth and families who are not just at risk, but who are in risk. They provide. I have witnessed how the quality and skill of the people working here, their integrity and their sincere care and loving presence is transforming lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services is doing some of the most incredible work of any youth center, possibly any non profit, I have ever seen. If every city in the world had them, we would have a much more hopeful future for our species.

1 Fillmore94115

Donor

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services started as a grass roots neighborhood organization over 25 years ago and has since grown into a multi-service organization for youth at risk. The compassionate leadership recognizes the potential in each one of their kids and gives them the encouragement and positive recognition they need and deserve. The SFPD and SF Public defender seek them out as partners in their efforts to help those who might otherwise be in trouble. They provide love, care, training, companionship, friendship, and so much more. Their work is priceless. Bonnie Wong, a former Board Member.

Previous Stories
2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter (and former Board Member) of SYS for over 20 years and will continue to do so in the years ahead. They are a grass roots organization deeply seeped in unconditional love, compassion, education, and music. Just as their teens have grown into adulthood, the organization also continues to grow in providing parenting, financial, and many other resources and classes for their "kids". The leadership and founders, Dawn Steuckle, Ron Steuckle, Delvin Mack and their home grown staff are amazingly generous with their time, talents, and resources in being a positive presence in the Sunset District in San Francisco.

1 Karen H.19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services commitment to supporting young parents is outstanding! Offering every kind of support to young parents, including but not limited to, job experience, clothes for the little ones, holiday celebrations and gifts, a free library, parenting classes, education and lots of love! I can't imagine my life without this amazing place that helps support personal growth, community, artistic expression, self care, hope and resilience

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services truly saves lives. As a result of the safe place that Dawn and Ron has provided when I was a lost 13-year old child navigating the world, I have been able to achieve more than my sweetest dreams could’ve ever imagined. Now, as a Vice President at a major media data company, I can honestly say that the love and support that they’ve shown me as an impressionable child has given me the confidence and guidance to be exactly who, what and where I’m supposed to be. I will be forever grateful to Sunset Youth Services for allowing me to be exactly who I was (at the time), giving me the love and confidence that I needed and the tools required to navigate the world. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am grateful for your patience, unconditional love and support to help me achieve greatness. Keep inspiring this next generation and fill them with the love and compassion that you live by everyday. You are doing God’s work. I am blessed and a better person to have been inspired by your love and support.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best organization ever they have services for parents and youth

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services is packed with passionate, dedicated adults serving some of the most talented, deserving young people in SF.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services has helped me and family in so many ways. From Triple P parenting classes, helping me find mental health resources, helping me become an advocate for my children, and that's just to name a few. Their case managers are terrific. Tasem was a positive male role model when my son was really struggling with learner differences . SYS has always given my son and I opportunities to see great shows and performances that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to see due to cost. I'm grateful for SYS for always being there for me.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful work in San Francisco and truly inspirational transformations happening in the lives of folks receiving services from SYS. Amazing organization!

1 Sam K.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ever since I was a kid, the age of my kid who love SYS now, I have found welcoming, helping, and loving people who became family.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the honor to meet some of the leaders of this program and their hearts are full of passion, patience, and kindness to all who walk in their doors, especially this young generation! Working with youth takes heart especially in this time in age.
I have also had an opportunity to attend a workshop they hosted and I came away with so much insight and a filled heart! Thank you SYS for all you do!

Liz Z.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Sunset Youth Services for over 15 years and have been consistently impressed with the staff and programs. Young people come to Sunset Youth Services to find a safe place to process the challenges they face, and the expert staff are there to listen with compassion and connect them with resources. SYS is family to many of these young people and provides the caring relationships they need. I love this place!

1 Cat S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found SYS to be a safe space when I was a teen, somewhere I could go when I didn’t know what to do with myself. As I grew up, and had kids, whenever I was in need, they were there. From the women’s group, to the food bank, to parenting classes, they understood the challenges that life could bring, and were there to help provide answers. Other than the services provided, the people there became family. When I was feeling insecure, when my marriage fell apart, when I was questioning my parenting abilities, they always listened. They always had some calming words for me. SYS is a haven in a busy city. I wish there were more places like it, everyone deserves the kind of support they give.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SYS has been in my life for over 20 years... they are a place where kids can go to receive love, support and positive reinforcement from day to day challenges. They are a true blessing to so many families... they also offer job opportunities, help with your resume, offer studio sessions and more!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The level of Community that Sunset Youth Services is un-matched!!! They’ve always gone out of their way to make any of the Youth that walks through their doors feel welcomed, inspired, and safe.

I’ve been around for 15+ years and have personally seen many of the Youth grow into great Men and Women.

The people who work here are some of the most compassionate, inspiring, and loving group. I’m honored to have had the chance to have these people in my life.

1 Kelly D.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SYS has been a part of my life since I was in 7th grade. The last 20+ years they’ve supported me with guidance, love, encouragement and support with no judgement just understanding and care. They do so much for troubled youth. And they’ve not once ever given up on any child. They deserve this!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SYS is awesome! It adds richly to the Sunset District and provides incomparable services. I've volunteered here several times, and always have such meaningful experiences here.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so impressed at how co-founders Dawn and Ron have dedicated their lives to the least of these in SF and steered SYS to show society that in risk youth are worthy of value and dignity.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been on the board on Sunset Youth Services for nearly two years and a donor for the past four years, and during this time I've been thoroughly impressed by the hands-on work the organization is doing with in-risk youth in San Francisco. I am very selective about where I donate my money, and Sunset Youth Services have been faithful stewards who accomplish a LOT with the resources they are given. I highly endorse them!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a non-profit that creates real change through positive relationships. I have seen it happen again and again and I have also been privy to the original works of art (music) that are generated here. Kudos to the staff and everyone who makes this place work. It's a true gift to the community.

1 Katelyn D.2

Donor

Rating: 5

SYS is an outstanding nonprofit in the Sunset serving and empowering youth of color from all over San Francisco. Their approach and programs are dynamic, wholistic and humanizing. They are making a tangible difference in the lives of youth by developing them as leaders to impact their families and communities. SYS's reach not only makes a positive change in the Sunset District, but furthermore makes a positive impact in the city as a whole.

1 Kati B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love SYS! they are truly meeting their community where it is at and providing services and programming based on those needs! I learned about SYS when a friend of mine started working there. She was so passionate about the work they are doing and it was so evident how much of a family atmosphere they have there. I think that’s why they are so successful! I was then invited to attend their Gala and go to meet some of the artists that create music in their studio. It was just more evidence that SYS knows what they are doing and they are doing it well! I love that they have multiple ways for people to get involved whether it is through music, the cafe, education programming, parenting classes, etc. They just rock! SF is lucky to have SYS doing there thing in this city!

Michael F.3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have journeyed with the founders of Sunset Youth Services (SYS) from the early days of this stellar organization. As the Director of another youth-serving organization in the Sunset from 1996-2012, I had the opportunity to partner with SYS on many important initiatives to support kids and families in the neighborhood. What I have observed for decades, is truly remarkable.

SYS is not really best described as an agency or an organization. They are a "family" that has always given love and support to the children, youth, and adults that no one else could reach.

You often hear agencies state that they "change lives". The team at SYS does it. The amazing staff at SYS has saved and rebuilt the lives of so many people that society would have written off. Ron and Dawn are not only the founders, but they are still leading with heart, love, and passion.

I donate to SYS and would recommend you do too. If you want to make a donation that will make a difference, SYS should be your first choice.

Michael Funk
Director, Expanded Learning Division
California Department of Education

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have gotten to know the staff and the work of Sunset over the past several months during their participation in Young Adult Court, a joint project of the San Francisco Superior Court. Sunset is a tremendous asset to the community where young people can go and learn valuable life skills through expressive arts, vocational training and other services.

Judge Bruce Chan

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a really innovative non profit that really understands its clients. They provide supportive relationships and great skill building, with the result of a 90+% non-recidivism rate for five years running!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services is making a positive impact on San Francisco in-risk youth everyday. It is my privilege to volunteer for this terrific community organization and help young people survive, heal and thrive. I am particularly proud of our efforts mentoring youth, teaching life skills and inspiring youth through the digital arts.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

"Juvie" (what everyone used to call the local juvenile detention center) seems impenetrable, and kids who head there join some unreachable caste. As an adult I want to break down the walls and get those kids back into the real world, but how? Sunset Youth Services is how. I've watched them walk alongside challenged kids on the outside, and now actually enter inside the buildings to get music into the kids' lives. They know all their client kids by name and by story, and create family among the staff and kids so that those stories take a turn for the better. A music studio in "Juvie"? A recording studio at the youth center? Job training and now a degree option? SYS has figured out some very real ways of making a huge difference.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services is a great organization that really makes a difference in the lives of young people in San Francisco. The people who work at Sunset Youth Services truly care and go above and beyond to help. The work that is being done there is really amazing and a true treasure of San Francisco.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth is amazing! Ron is really dedicated to the youth of SF as he offers a wide variety of assistance. He really goes out of his way to help the youth. Sunset Youth is a place where kids can be kids. Ron is innovative in how he deals with the 18-25 population. He is genuinely caring and really hard working. Clients see his dedication and latch on to it. They find him very easy to work as they make progress towards their goals. Sunset Youth rocks!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sunset Youth Services provide incredible services to youth in San Francisco. You can read all about those services in their narrative the other peoples response. I want to talk about the dedication and passion of the staff. I have worked with SYS for many years. When you walk into their door, you immediately feel the warm welcome that pulls you further into the building. The co-founders, Dawn and Ron, have spent time and energy to create a safe and nurturing space for youth. They role model healthy relationships, communication skills, advocacy, going above and beyond, and empowerment. There is no place too far or request too ridiculous that the staff won't go to to fulfill the interest and needs of the youth they serve. I am often impressed with the sense of camaraderie among management and staff as well as the high the level of respect and common decency they share. Its no wonder, the youth they serve speak to the incredible integrity, passion, and commitment that everyone who works at SYS, has.