Residents of San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood Monday celebrated the opening of a new youth center that hopes to improve and unite the community through teen leadership.

The Community Youth Center of San Francisco opened a new branch at 4438 Third St., between Kirkwood and LaSalle avenues, at 11 a.m., and more than 150 neighbors welcomed the nonprofit to the block.

“It was a beautiful day,” project manager Eddy Zheng said. “A lot of people came. The community came through.”

The center plans to hire 12 local teens, between 14 and 18 years old, of varying cultural backgrounds to be youth advocates for the community.

Organizers will teach the advocates leadership and public speaking skills, and participants will learn about each other’s cultural backgrounds, Zheng said.

The advocates will then take what they have learned and create a presentation on “the challenges and the beauty of Bayview,” he said.

The participants will take this message to area schools, community organizations, and to the state legislative body in Sacramento, Zheng said.

Zheng said organizers hope the participants will help to create solutions to stop violence and create job opportunities for young people.

The advocates will be paid $10 an hour for six hours a week and their job includes participating in local efforts to clean up the streets and assisting other organizations with charitable events.

Zheng said organizers are in the process of reviewing applications and interviewing prospective advocates.

The center has a main office at 1038 Post St. and another branch location in the Richmond District at 319 Sixth Ave.

Erika Heidecker, Bay City News

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