Friday, April 1, 2011

Aspiranet Program Spotlight: Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center

Did you know Aspiranet has more than 35 programs across California working toward our vision of taking collective action to support communities and families as they love and care for children? Our diverse programs range from foster care and afterschool programs to encore career opportunities for retiring professionals. 

In the coming months, we will introduce our readers to the life-changing work of our Aspiranet programs. For the first installment of the Aspiranet Program Spotlight, Michael Funk of the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center took a moment from his jam-packed schedule as the Director of Afterschool, Community, and Youth Development at Aspiranet to participate in a Q&A with us. Please enjoy and ask anything we missed in the comments! 

What does the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center do? 

SNBC’s mission is to provide support and opportunities to ensure the healthy development of children, youth, and adults in the Sunset District of San Francisco.

In response to a dearth of community-based services for Sunset families, I decided to start a grassroots effort to address issues facing the Sunset community, out of which SNBC was born. Now in its 15th year of operation, SNBC is still one of the few family-focused agencies in the neighborhood.  SNBC continues its focus on improving the life outcomes of local youth, families, and seniors.  

SNBC's vision is to connect people to their passion, potential, and community here on San Francisco's West Side. Through our myriad programs, we support the healthy development of Sunset community members and families. Programs include: daily afterschool programs at five public schools and two community-based locations, serving more than 900 students daily with academic support and enrichment activities; technology classes in English and Cantonese for adults; digital arts and media programs for youth and young adults; case management services for at-risk youth; enrichment and skill-building evening classes for adults, and the Sunset Family Resource Collaborative, led by SNBC, which provides support services for families with young children. All programs and services offered by SNBC are known for their exceptional quality and are free of charge.

 When you look back on your work, is there an individual story that stands out to you as embodying the success of SNBC?

This past fall, SNBC was selected as one of only 18 national finalists (out of more than 300 applicants!) for the prestigious MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award.  Our afterschool programs at A.P. Giannini Middle School is a national model for afterschool programming—right here in the Sunset! 

What does SNBC need to better serve families?

Like many nonprofits in this difficult economy, our needs are largely financial. To continue serving Sunset families, we need ongoing financial support for our programming. SNBC currently serves more Sunset community members than ever before -- each day of the school year, more than 900 youth attend our afterschool programs, and every week, more than 300 adults participate in our evening programs. While our efforts are supporting more youth and adults than ever, we still have waiting lists! Our programs are more popular than ever and we have grown to meet demand, but we must raise funds to support our future programs. In 2011, we must raise an additional $50,000. Every donation, no matter the size, will propel us towards our goal and is greatly appreciated!

What does SNBC have on the horizon? 

On Saturday, April 9th, SNBC will host A Victorian Evening, a benefit and fundraiser. The event is also a celebration of SNBC's 15 years and 15,000 youth served. You can support SNBC by joining us at A Victorian Evening for beer and wine, hors d'oeuvres, live entertainment, door prizes, poker and blackjack, and a silent auction! Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here. You can learn more about SNBC's A Victorian Evening by visiting our website

We're excited to welcome the following special guests: San Francisco Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranza, Senator Leland Yee, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Speaker Pro Tempore, Phil Ting, San Francisco Assessor-Recorder, and Hydra Mendoza, San Francisco Board of Education President.

Wine and wine cocktails will be served, courtesy of Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. 
The menu for the evening includes:

Gourmet Sliders
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls
Shrimp Cocktail
Fruit Tartlets 

The silent auction includes:
Russian River Getaway - vacation home rental
Private Sunset Flight for two over the San Francisco Bay
Round-trip flights on Southwest Airlines
Tickets to "Uncorked" Wine Events
San Francisco 49ers tickets plus parking pass
San Francisco Giants tickets
Lunch and Capitol Tour with Assemblywoman Fiona Ma
San Francisco Ballet tickets
Sunset Sail on the San Francisco Bay
Lunch for five with bestselling author John Lescroart
VIP Barrel Tasting for six at Peju Winery
Wine from Grieve Family Winery, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Kermit Lynch Wines, and more!
If you cannot attend A Victorian Evening but still want to support Sunset children and families, you can make a gift to SNBC at

How can we learn more about SNBC?

Visit our website at and follow SNBC on twitter and facebook. We update our twitter and facebook often. We're currently running giveaways on facebook for people purchasing and/or promoting our A Victorian Evening event tickets, so be sure to head over and show your support. 

Thank you, Michael, for talking with us about the exciting activities over at SNBC. We're happy to feature the great work of SNBC in the first edition of the Aspiranet Program Spotlight. 

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