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How the Tenderloin is building a new image as one of the friendliest neighborhoods.

The residents in one notorious neighborhood of San Francisco are coming together to revitalize their streets — and it's working.

How the Tenderloin is building a new image as one of the friendliest neighborhoods.
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Dignity Health 2017

Ever wonder how the Tenderloin neighborhood got its name?

Once full of speakeasies and jazz clubs, gamblers and prostitutes, the area has always welcomed outsiders and misfits, even if that earned it kind of a notorious reputation. And in the 1930s, the neighborhood is believed to have gotten its name because police officers were often paid more to work its streets, thereby allowing them to buy more expensive cuts of meat — including, of course, tenderloin steak.

Today, the Tenderloin is still one of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, welcoming insiders and outsiders alike.

But its residents also live with higher rates of poverty, homelessness, drug dealing, and crime than the rest of the city.


Roughly 3,800 individuals in the community are homeless, there are numerous abandoned buildings and decrepit hotels, and the area suffers from a serious drug trade problem.

This bad rap had been somewhat isolating for the people who call it home — including recent immigrants and a number of immigrant families that have been drawn to the area for its affordability. In fact, about 4,000 schoolchildren live there.

One event, called 4-Corner Friday, is working to change people's perceptions and experiences of the Tenderloin by fostering a more inclusive, stronger community for its residents.

"It's not post-traumatic stress; it's persistent traumatic stress." The residents of a long overlooked neighborhood are finally getting some much needed attention.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, March 31, 2017

4-Corner Friday holds meet-ups once a month on Friday afternoons so that neighbors can meet each other, have fun together, and build connections.

Whether it's getting to know each other over hot chocolate and popcorn or playing games and painting murals as a community, these get-togethers help residents break down preconceptions, foster a sense of inclusion, and promote healthy, positive activities.

Image via Dignity Health/Upworthy.

People — no matter who they are — are able to find common ground with each other because they have conversations and work together to make their neighborhood better a place for kindness.

The event, which is supported by Dignity Health, is a project started by the Golden Gate Block Safety Group, a group of neighborhood service agencies dedicated to improving the collective safety of the neighborhood by reducing crime and drugs in the area.

4-Corner Friday began at an intersection infamous for persistent drug dealing at 3 p.m. (a high drug traffic time), and the safety group hopes to help residents take back their neighborhood one small step at a time.

When residents get involved in their communities, real change can happen.

image via Dignity Health/Upworthy.

This is especially true for community groups that help engage children and young adults. By providing kids with safe places to play and meaningful attention, they feel seen and heard, which has a positive impact on their lives. In turn, crime can be combated. But it’s also true for the larger community, because when everyone is engaged, collective action can be taken to stop crime.

The changes 4-Corner Friday has created are starting to be felt, according to residents.

Of course, it's been an uphill battle, and the conditions that created the drug abuse and trafficking problems in the neighborhood didn't change overnight after the first 4-Corner Friday event.

Image via Dignity Health.

Still, change is slowly coming to the Tenderloin. Local eateries and restaurants are starting to get new attention, the theater district and art scene are thriving, and developers and city supervisors are even working on making the neighborhood the first recognized transgender cultural district in the world.

Boeddeker Park, the largest park in the neighborhood, reopened in 2014 and is considered a safe haven, full of community activities serving children, seniors, and anyone who wants to enjoy the beautiful amenities.

As part of the Tenderloin Safe Passage Program, neighborhood partners like the Tenderloin Community Benefit District station community-corner captains to assist school kids and seniors moving through the neighborhood during designated hours. And many corner captains are actually parents and residents themselves who take the responsibility of creating a safer community very seriously.

Most importantly, residents are starting to feel safer just walking their block, and they're starting to feel like part of a community that cares about one another. And this stronger community is building a new image of the Tenderloin as one of San Francisco's friendliest, most caring neighborhoods.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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