Sunset Spotlight

Student Wins Top Honors
Lifelong Parkside District resident Jennifer Tinonga was named one of the 10 hood recipients in SF State University's class of 2004. The honor recognizes the university's most distinguished graduates.

Tinonga, 23, was selected among the 7,500 students who received degrees from SFSU on May 29, at the university's 103rd Commencement. Hood recipients wear hoods to symbolize their commitment to excellence at the commencement ceremony.

Tinonga, a hood recipient for the College of Humanities with a 4.0 grade point average, plans to combine the two disciplines in which she majored - English literature and studio art - into a career as a children's librarian and author and illustrator of children's books.

After being named the 1999 valedictorian at School of the Arts high school, she entered SFSU as a Presidential Scholar, the university's most distinguished academic award for freshmen.

Tinonga has garnered a host of other awards and honors, including two Osher scholarships and election into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Tinonga volunteers with the SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council, SF League of Urban Gardeners and the South SF Public Library. She will pursue a master's degree in library and information studies at the University of British Columbia.

Youth Theater Group Brings Various Productions to Stage
In the middle of Chinatown, a thug confronts a condescending yuppie while his girlfriend watches in horror. A controlling mother and her equally obstinate daughter go head-to-head in an argument over race relations during the tumultuous '60s. "Fruit and vegetable man and his amazing sidekick" once again save the world from the most evil doctor in the universe and eat a balanced diet!

This summer, the members of Youth for Asian Theater (YFAT) are bringing these real-life scenes to the theater.

Three days a week members of YFAT meet at the Sunset Recreation Center to write, direct and rehearse original short plays and monologues. The group's members, whose ages range from 12 to 19 years old, run all aspects of production, as well as make crucial administrative and artistic decisions.

While some summer acting programs can cost up to $1,000, YFAT provides youth with a forum for artistic expression for free. At the same time, members devote their summers to producing an evening of plays with no compensation other than their own self-satisfaction.

YFAT came into being in 2001 when founder and executive director Lauren D. Yee noted the lack of opportunities for San Francisco youth to express themselves on the stage. Since then, YFAT has involved more than 50 youth in its productions and entertained and educated more than 1,000 audience members.

While YFAT's members are still developing as artists, their work has already begun to attract the attention of the arts community. Many of the plays featured in YFAT shows have gone on to receive awards and performances in such places as Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Collectively, YFAT playwrights have had their work performed more than 20 times nationwide.

Yee, who is a playwright, actor and director, said writing for YFAT "has really made me appreciate my own culture and embrace my identity as an Asian-American woman so much more. There are so many rich, rewarding stories to tell."

Youth for Asian Theater will perform its summer production "disOrient" on Saturday, August 7, at 7:30 p.m., at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre, located at 401 Van Ness Ave. Admission is free. For more information, call (415) 831-5849 or visit the YFAT website at

Pelosi Gets Federal Money for Presidio, UCSF
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi recently announced that the 2005 Defense Appropriations bill will provide funding for several San Francisco priorities, including $13 million in funding for the continued revitalization of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Pelosi also obtained $2.5 million for operations and building maintenance at Fort Baker, in the hopes of turning the site into a sustainable national park site; $5 million for the University of California at San Francisco's Department of Neurology Gallo Center, where continued research on alcoholism will be studied; and $2.5 million for the planning, design and restoration of the parade grounds at the Presidio's Main Post.

Free Lunches for Youth Available During Summer
Fifteen million children nationwide receive free or reduced-priced meals during the school year through the National School Lunch Program. Yet only two million receive meals during the summer.

The Summer Food Service Program, in conjunction with the SFUSD and the Mayor's Department of Children Youth and their Families, fills this summer-time nutrition gap for children under the age of 18. Ongoing, through July 23, a number of school sites offer lunches, including Francis Scott Key Elementary School, Abraham Lincoln High School and the Richmond and Sunset district Beacon Centers, from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunches are also available at the A.P. Giannini Middle School from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, visit

Early Ocean Movies Sought
Public television station KQED has begun production on an hour-long documentary about the issues facing California's coastline, such as development, beach erosion, beach access and seawalls, and the history of coastline activism.

Producers seek the community's help in the form of home movies taken from the early 1900s through 1980. Scenes taken anywhere along the coast are welcome - Pacifica, Solana Beach, Malibu, the Gaviota area and Fort Bragg and Mendocino in particular - highlighting people enjoying the beach, surfing, playing in the water and more.

Footage of protests centered around coastal development, support of the Coastal Act (Proposition 20) or the oil spills of the late '60s and early '70s are especially welcome. For more information or to suggest possible leads, call Associate Producer Sheraz Sadiq at 553-2856 or e-mail

Conservatory Needs Docents
Members of the public who are friendly, welcoming and eager to learn and share information about the historic and elegant Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park are welcome to serve as children's docents. Interested individuals will need to commit to one year of service and participate in informational and interactive training sessions, held one weekday morning a week for six weeks. At the completion of the training, docents will lead school children on at least two scheduled tours through the Conservatory per month on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings.

For more information or to apply to be a docent, call Michele Canning at 750-5226 or e-mail

Help Needed for Sunset Festival
Organizers of the 10th annual Sunset Community Festival are looking for neighborhood sponsors, volunteers, community donations and performers.

The event, sponsored by the Sunset District Neighborhood Coalition, will be held Saturday, Oct. 2. The theme for this year's festival is "Spotlight on Our Neighborhood History."

For more information, call Susan at 665-5579.

Jobs for Veterans Needed
Employers are being sought to help veterans get back on their feet through employment and job training.

Employers participating in the Department of Veterans Affairs' Transitional Work Experience (TWE) program can benefit from the relationship. By hiring a veteran, businesses can qualify for the elimination of all state and federal taxes associated with the employee as well as the elimination of unemployment insurance, workman's compensation and vacation and sick pay.

The program, run by Veteran Industries, seeks to match the skills of the veterans with the needs of various businesses.

"Veterans in Veteran Industries are eager to work and are very appreciative of a chance to improve their lives," said Program Coordinator Anita Yoskowitz.

For more information, call Yoskowitz at (415) 551-7360 or go to the department's website at

Self-Healing Workshops in July
Meir Schneider is an internationally acclaimed healthcare educator, therapist and author who was once blind, but overcame his condition through the development of therapeutic exercises focusing on movement, breathing and mental imagery.

Today, Schneider enjoys fully functional eyesight and has worked to spread his holistic methods of stimulating the body's natural healing powers to others. He tries to help relieve the ailments of those with chronic headaches, multiple sclerosis, polio, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, breathing difficulties and others.

Members of the public can join Schneider and Beatrice Nascimento at Schneider's non-profit organization, The School for Self-Healing, located at 2218 48th Ave., on Tuesday, July 20, for a series of workshops specifically designed to alleviate back pain.

Three workshops, entitled "Building a Healthy Back," "Overcoming Back Pain" and "Working with Deformities - Lordosis, Kyphosis, Scoliosis and Others," will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., and 11 a.m. to noon, respectively. Afterwards, a limited number of individual one-and-a-quarter-hour sessions will be held to evaluate clients and supervise treatment. For more information or to schedule an appointment (required), call 665-9574.

Free Park Shuttle Service Through October
A free shuttle service, with multiple stopping points in Golden Gate Park, is now hauling passengers.

The service, which continues weekends and holidays through Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., picks up passengers at approximately 15-minute intervals at 15 locations throughout the park.

Popular stops include the Conservatory of Flowers, National AIDS Memorial Grove, Japanese Tea Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Stow Lake, Polo Fields, and Beach Chalet.

Park visitors are encouraged to leave their cars at the nearby UCSF parking garage and to ride the free shuttle from there into the park.

For more information about the service, visit