Sarah Wan (she/her) is the Executive Director of Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYC), which serves the needs of low-income, high-need, and at-risk Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), Latinx, and African American youth. Since 1970, the organization has provided a diverse population of San Francisco youth with a sense of belonging and vital tools and experiences to succeed in life. As a longtime, trusted, and highly visible city partner, CYC serves over 8,000 youth and their families each year with culturally competent services that include health and wellness, enrichment and advancement, and community engagement.
In 2021, in response to rising violence against the AAPI community, CYC joined with other local organizations to provide proactive and integrated violence prevention and intervention services. CYC serves as the fiscal agency for the Coalition for Community Safety and Justice (CCSJ), providing coordinated street outreach and crisis response services throughout San Francisco. CYC also serves as the fiscal agency for Asian Pacific Islanders Council, a community collaborative to uplift the voice of API communities, representing over 50 organizations. CYC employs 150 staff members at 7 locations in San Francisco.
Sarah grew up in one of Hong Kong’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Her experience with social workers and mentors who showed care and compassion for her community had a profound impact on her values, and youth development became her life’s passion. After Sarah moved to San Francisco, she witnessed many young people struggling with family issues, traumatic migration experiences, intergenerational rifts, and difficulties navigating cultural differences. She dedicated her career to improving the lives of youth in San Francisco and joined CYC first as a counselor, then a program director, and was named Executive Director in 2002. Sarah has been appointed to serve on various City Commissions, including the Juvenile Justice Commission (2009-2013) and the Commission on the Environment (2013-present). She is currently the co-chair of the API Council, and her accomplishments have been recognized by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2012) and District Attorney’s Office (2019).
After 20 years as Executive Director of CYC, Sarah is eager to invest in herself. “During my sabbatical, I would like to travel to places on my bucket list and have personal reflection time,” Sarah says. While she remains committed to her role at CYC, she says, “Stepping back temporarily will provide an opportunity to think strategically and creatively about CYC’s leadership pipeline and future growth, ensuring we can continue to serve our community sustainably and effectively for years to come.”