Mission Housing celebrates International Women’s Day

By Marcia Contreras

Today, as we celebrate Women’s International Day, I reflect on the work that we do not only as professionals, but as daughters, sisters, and mothers as well. It is an amazing type of work we do to leave behind a legacy for the next generation to come.

Today, I celebrate and recognize my wonderful mother that took a huge risk leaving our country behind 30-plus years ago to offer us a better future! Her courage, her strengths and her values are what make me the person I am today.

Today, is also an important day because we raise our voices together to celebrate our accomplishments, our passion, and demonstrate that we make a difference in this world. We will continue to stand up even when others want us to be silent. We will continue to push the envelope, fight for our rights and defend our future not only for ourselves but for those that will come behind us.

At Mission Housing, I personally have the privilege of working with some amazing women that make a difference on a daily basis with the work they do. I would like to recognize the following team members who support our organization daily effortlessly: Marizza Bautista-Ong, Ana Torres, Diana Walcott, Gail McGuire, Bulbul Goswami, Bhanu Patel, Veronica Green, Shanita Gardner, Erin Reeves, Sully Argueta, Janina Navarro, Ellie Barrios and Kate Ouyang.

– Marcia Contreras is the Deputy Executive Director at Mission Housing Development Corporation

This article was originally posted on March 8, 2019.

Mission Housing collaborates with Sunset Youth Services on music program

Mission Housing and Sunset Youth Services hope to hit the right chord to start 2019.

Young people ages 14 to 24 can now sign up for the inaugural Mission Housing Music Program at Valencia Gardens in San Francisco’s Mission District.

“I am excited for Mission Housing Services and our Tenant Empowerment Team to be able to collaborate with Sunset Youth Services,” said Mission Housing’s Deputy Executive Director Marcia Contreras. “Sunset Youth Services is an organization with tremendous history supporting our young adults and most importantly allowing a platform for our youth to succeed.”

The program was initiated by Valencia Gardens resident Patrick Kelley, who saw a need in the community for a safe place where younger residents could learn and make music. During its pilot stage, participants will have access to a sound booth and will be taught the principles of audio production and beat-making. They’ll also have access to music production equipment.

The program culminates with the release of a five song extended play record (EP).

“My vision was to create a space where I could see the kids and young adults where I live have a place to be, to stay out of trouble, to be free, to create,” Kelley said. “It’s important to see young people doing creative things.”

“We wanted to work with Pat and Sunset Youth Services’ Executive Director, Dawn Stueckle, to create this pilot program both to help meet this need and to really prioritize residents’ insights and leadership in how we develop programs here at Valencia Gardens,” said Mission Housing’s Tenant Empowerment Organizer Erin Reeves. “We reached out to Sunset Youth Services to partner with us on this program because of their many years of experience working with youth to produce music, and their trauma-informed approach to youth development through their innovative Attachment Community.”

The program begins on Feb. 12 and runs through March 7 with workshops every Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Those who are interested can sign up by contacting members of the Mission Housing team. Classes are approximately 2 1/2 hours.

“We want to create a space where young people who live in the neighborhood can come create amazing music together,” Reeves said. “Even though it’s only a month long to start, we hope it provides an opportunity for youth to build music production skills, connect with each other, and start building relationships with folks from Sunset Youth Services and Mission Housing.”

“Together we will be opening opportunities to allow our youth to be creative,” Contreras said. “We want to thank the team at Sunset Youth Services, especially to Dawn Stueckle and her team.”

To learn more about Sunset Youth Services’ programs, visit: sunsetyouthservices.org

To RSVP, contact:

Veronica Green, VGreen@MissionHousing.org

Erin Reeves, EReeves@MissionHousing.org

Edwin Ho, EHo@MissionHousing,org

Valencia Gardens welcomes new Community Technology Associate

Residents of Valencia Gardens looking to take advantage of the computer lab now have a new leader to help with their needs.

Valencia Gardens, in partnership with <dev/Mission>, welcomed Jocelyne Umanzor to the team as the new Community Technology Associate. In her new role, Umanzor will oversees technical support for VG’s computer lab.

“They’ll always be greeted with a smile,” Umanzor said about what residents should expect. “Just being able to be friendly with [the residents] I know it’ll set a comfortable environment for them.”

Umanzor is a child of the Mission who graduated from the <dev/Mission> program as part of the December 2018 cohort. She said that while she had no initial interest of joining the program, which is currently incubated at Mission Housing’s site, an epiphany led her to pursue an undiscovered passion.

“I just realized, maybe I should take advantage of the opportunities that people come all over the east coast or wherever it is, take take opportunities here — maybe I should too,” Umanzor said. “And just take a shot at it. I wasn’t going to have anything to lose. And I did it. And now I work at Valencia Gardens.”

“We are thrilled to see Jocelyne not only graduate from the <dev/Mission> program but to see her collaborate with our onsite services team and provide support to our residents at Valencia Gardens,” said Marcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director at Mission Housing. “We welcome her to our community.”

Umanzor’s responsibilities will include helping residents with: WiFi connectivity issues, virus protection software, social media account set-up, build their own websites and most tech-related issues.

“It was actually something I always imagined myself doing,” Umanzor said. “The thought of being a part of dev/Mission, it’s what kept me motivated to be in tech — to some way, some how, give back to the community because this is where I grew up, this is my home. And you know, a lot of it is changing and some of it is not good. And just seeing Leo [Sosa, Executive Director of <dev/Mission>] being that small, but very large, organization that helps out the community is something that I wanted to be a part of.”

The 21-year-old is another success story out of the<dev/Mission> camp. Her hours at the office are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“You feel like you belong,” Umanzor said of the program. “(They) have this banner that says “You belong here” and I feel like I really belong somewhere so I want to continue to be a part of it — behind the scenes, giving back to the community. Even if it’s helping a resident to print a paper or use a laptop, I’m still giving back in some sort of way.

“A lot of the times I would come across, that there aren’t a lot of women in tech so I felt proud and blessed that I was able to be in program and be one of the only females and learning about the new stuff that I didn’t know took place behind the scenes in tech. And I got to be a part of it and I got to learn from scratch,” she said.