Family Goals Create Good Roads

By James King

When Dawn and Ron Stueckle moved to San Francisco in 1991, they quickly established

themselves as youth leaders and mentors in the Outer Sunset. The married

couple came to the neighborhood as youth pastors but their work soon evolved.


In their capacity as pastors, they spent time getting involved in the lives of young people

by advocating for them at school, in court or in the youths’ homes.


Sunset Youth ServicesPageOne copy

 Delvin Mack (left to right) and Dawn and Ron Stueckle stand outside of the offices of Sunset Youth Services, a non-profit organization on Judah Street that works with at-risk youth. Photos: John Oppenheimer



In the early ’ 90s, Dawn Stueckle explained, there were very few resources in

the Outer Sunset and San Francisco in general for young people considered to be

at-risk and their families.


“We pretty quickly realized that the need was very extensive,” Stueckle said. “So, we

started Sunset Youth Services (SYS) as a way to address that need.”


After 25 years addressing that need, SYS continues to serve the community

and city at large from its office located on Judah Street, between 44th and 45th avenues.

Sunset Youth Services was founded by the Stueckles and Delvin Mack . They created

a non-profit organization that helps high-risk, or in-risk 14-24-year-old teenagers, young

adults and their families.


Sunset Youth ServicesInside copy

 Rymo Cortado (right), creative lead and staff member, with Kyle Shin, a.k.a.
“Kid 20,” at the Sunset Youth Services’ recording studio, called UpStar Records.


Specifically, SYS is an organization that provides students with job training and

social work services.


As the nonprofit has expanded its program since its founding in1992,  Stueckles and

Mack have maintained their vision. Throughout its existence, SYS has increased its level

and breadth of services and now offers five comprehensive programs for youth.


On its website, SYS highlights its programs in the digital arts, music recording, case

management, family support and its cafe. It also works closely with various city

agencies to identify, educate and help underserved youth.


One of the organization’s goals is to “help kids find a new path and stay in the

community and succeed.”


“We work through the lens of helping kids deal with trauma and moving them forward,”

Stuekle said.


Malachi, 22, is a current staff member who started out at SYS as a student a couple

of years ago. He described the non-profit as a second home. Malachi loves

spending time at SYS’ recording studio, called UpStar Records, pursuing an en –

deavor he loves.


“Music is my life ,” Malachi said.


Kelly, 18, is ano ther young person who has had a positive experience at SYS.

“This is a family oriented place that you feel the minute you walk in the door,”

she said.


Kelly said  he organization provided her with a support system that she never

had before.


“I never have to do things by myself. I have people to help me,” she said.


According to Stueckle, the SYS engages with the Outer Sunset community

in addition to serving youth.


“We try to be committed to being good neighbors,” she said.


Some of the work in the community that the non profit and its students have

done includes work at Playland at 43rd Avenue, where SYS partnered with the

city to build and maintain the site, and the district’s annual Sunset Community

Festival at the West Sunset Playground.


Recently, the organization was recognized for its contributions to the city’s youth. In June

of 2017, the California Association of Nonprofits saluted SYS as well as dozens of other

organizations around the state. Assemblymember Phil Ting nominated SYS from his

district, saying on his Twitter account: “Proud to honor Sunset Youth Services as my

Nonprofit of the Year! They offer many programs to at-risk youth in S.F.”


Stueckle said her favorite aspect of being the executive director of the non-profits

is building relationships with people in the community. She is especially proud of

people like Malachi, who work on the staff after participating in the program as

a student.


“A good day is any time young people make the decision to make better choices

for themselves,” she said.


To learn more about Sunset Youth Services, visit the website at

c ommunity and succeed.”

“We work through the lens of helping

kids dea l with t rauma and movin g th em

forward,” Stueckle said.

Malachi, 22, is a current staff member

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