Diverse, vibrant and steeped in San Francisco history as it may be, the Tenderloin is also home to a community in crisis.
2L Briana Desch has spent the past year bearing witness and says she “developed a deep appreciation for the Tenderloin community.” And while she was impressed by the efforts the UC Hastings administration has put into being a good neighbor, she and others “craved a deeper opportunity for more student involvement in the community.”
There is a saying at UC Hastings: “There’s a student org here for everyone, and if there isn’t, you can start it!” Because a formal student-led community outreach initiative to the Tenderloin did not yet exist, Briana worked with ASUCH President Samuel Chang to bring forth a resolution to create the Tenderloin Community Outreach Board. The result? ASUCH passed a unanimous resolution formalizing the task force this past August to:
- build rapport and assist under-represented individuals with the surrounding communities of UC Hastings
- organize and facilitate building relationships between UC Hastings’ students and organizations with the surrounding community
- inform UC Hastings’ students of community events to strengthen ties with various programs or organizations
- promote a positive image of reaching out to community organizations that share a common interest or passion with UC Hastings’ students
- increase the pro bono opportunities with local non-profit organizations, local community service, and public service organizations already offered by UC Hastings
Now the Chair for the ASUCH Tenderloin Community Outreach Board, Briana hopes the board will accomplish her primary goal: to establish relationships with community organizations, and feels confident that the board can provide support to improve the community, which in turn benefits UC Hastings.
She is tasked with reaching out and working with relevant offices, staff, and organizations at UC Hastings and within the City and County of San Francisco. There are many opportunities to explore, and Briana, though realistic about how hard it is to focus because there is so much you can do, is not easily dissuaded. It’s challenging to keep up with a busy course load and find time to volunteer, she knows, but she urges others to get involved and give back. “The community will be better off because you helped,” she says, noting “this doesn’t even feel like work.”
ASUCH President Samuel Chang praises Briana’s “amazing sense of optimism and willingness to get the work done.” He says he is impressed with her efforts so far and hopes the board will show the Tenderloin community that UC Hastings students are willing to be good neighbors and foster community outside of UC Hastings. Even if you don’t have time to spare for volunteering efforts, Sammy says that being a good neighbor can be as simple as supporting the community with your patronage “when you’re going out you can choose to support our local businesses.”
Tenderloin Safety Panel
The first event that Briana as the Chair for the Tenderloin Community Outreach Board has put together is a Tenderloin Safety Panel happening on October 11th. The panel will host representatives from two community organizations Briana hopes will become long term partners for UC Hastings: Concrn, focused on dispatching compassionate responders to persons in crises and Safe Passage which promotes safety for children in the area by placing trained volunteers at high risk corners in the neighborhood as a safety force for youth traveling to and from school. Together with the captain of the Tenderloin police department, these community organizations will shed light on issues concerning safety in the Tenderloin.
For more information and to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.