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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.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."