Organizing Youth & Families




Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth is a member-led, multi-racial community organization working to create a city of hope, opportunity, and justice for all children and all families in San Francisco.

We organize San Francisco low income and working class families – especially Black, Latino and Pacific Islander families – to build their own power to improve their lives, their schools, and their communities.  With the leadership of our members and the support of thousands of San Francisco voters and residents, we win concrete improvements in the lives of the city’s next generation.

We have a unique “hybrid” model of social change, linking grassroots organizing, leadership development and policy advocacy. We work to win citywide policy change and budget investments, while remaining rooted in the schools and neighborhoods where families are facing the greatest challenges in our city. We believe in parent organizing – where the parents and guardians of public school children make change, in youth organizing, where young people lead their own advocacy campaigns, and in inter-generational organizing, where young people and adults work together to create lasting community change.

Learn more here about Y-MAC and P-MAC



Read about our reports on the decline of children in the city:

Surprising Facts about San Francisco Children & Families

Since the year 2000, San Francisco has had one of the lowest child population of any major city in the nation. Decades of gentrification and increasing housing costs has either pushed or priced tens of thousands of families raising children out of the city. Young, working class people of color growing up in the city today assume that they not be able to afford to live here as adults, and wonder why schools are closing as new luxury housing is built in their neighborhoods.  A central goal of Coleman Advocates’ organizing and policy agenda is to put a halt to these disturbing trends. Coleman families are struggling to stay, and asserting the right of working class families and communities to remain in the great city they helped to build.

Working- and middle-class families of all races with deep roots in the city, have been forced to seek their dream of home-ownership and decent public schooling by moving to the outer suburban rings of San Francisco and Oakland. Since 1990, San Francisco has lost fully one-half of all Black families – overwhelmingly working class families whose jobs no longer pay a living wage in this city. In the face of redevelopment and public housing rebuilding projects, low income Black families have been relocated throughout the Bay Area into communities with subsidized housing but few social services and job opportunities. At the same, the pressures of globalization continue to drive thousands of young workes from Mexico and Central America to the city. As upwardly mobile Latinos must leave to find affordable housing in the East Bay, Latino newcomer immigrants struggle for basic survival and opportunities for their children, while living in overcrowded housing and earning less than a living wage, and often less than the legal minimum wage. Coleman Advocates has introduced racial equity into the public debate about the decline of children, noting that white children in the city are actually very well, and are now increasing in numbers. Similarly, while Asian families are numerically the largest group of poor families in the city, there are opportunity structures that allow the vast majority of Asian children to overcome major barriers, do well in public schools and move on to join the middle class.

Coleman Advocates has made a specific commitment to addressing the acute crisis facing African American children and families over the last several years, drawing public attention to the needs of Black young people in the public school system and the lack of good jobs and economic opportunity they face in this city.  Through grassroots leadership development of Black parents and students in schools in the Bayview and the Excelsior, and through the public advocacy of Coleman staff, Coleman is seeking to build the leaders and alliances necessary to reverse the trends facing the Black community today.

We are not hopeless. Coleman youth and parent leaders continue to have hope in the midst of crises, continue to stand up for change and win victories year after year that make real improvements in their lives.