Youth Outreach Workers

Who are the YOWs?

Youth Outreach Workers (YOWs) are high school students that are trained to become peer educators for their school. Many schools have 5-10 YOWs; however, larger schools can have more as volunteers. There are over 200 middle and high school YOWs in SFUSD. YOWs work with an adult youth outreach coordinator to develop their own school wide health events and health related classroom presentations that students face today such as healthy relationships, stress reduction, and negative impacts of substance abuse.

It has been proven that students tend to listen to their peers better than the adults. The YOWs play a vital role in empowering and educating their peers to make healthy choices, reaching thousands of students annually. YOWs are ambassadors for health and wellness.  

Youth Outreach Worker Voices

“ I feel needed at school”
“ I am a mentor to my peers”
“we are really helping youth learn to be healthy and have better lives”
“ I like that I can go to a classroom and get students to learn in a very non-traditional setting, its not the teacher in front of the classroom it’s one of your peers educating you”
“ We speak for students who are afraid to speak for themselves”
“When kids participate, I love that feeling and they really like open themselves up to us they feel that connection and we make it fun for them”

Why YOWs?

Over the past ten years thanks to the education by the YOWs, smoking among SFUSD students has decreased from to 36.5% in 2007 to 16.7% in 2017. More Data.


SF Department of Youth and Their Families (DCYF) : Funds Youth leadership, empowerment and development. For more information: 

Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) : is a grant that SFUSD receives from the State to provide tobacco prevention education and interventions for 6th to 12 graders.

Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF): came from Proposition H that SF voters passed in 2004 to improve the quality of education for SF youth.

Community Partners

  • Women’s Community Clinic
  • Mission Girls
  • Mission Neighborhood Health Center
  • Family Health Center Teen and Young Adult Clinic
  • Homey
  • 3rd St Bayview Clinic
  • Health Initiatives for Youth
  • La Casa de las Madres
  • SF Suicide Prevention
  • Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYC)
  • Huckleberry House
  • West Side Community Services
  • United Playaz
  • Huckleberry Youth Programs
  • Breathe California-Tobacco
  • Loco Bloco
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC)
  • Sunset Youth Services
  • SF Women Against Rape
  • Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR)
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • New Generation
  • Hunters Point Family
  • YMCA
  • Kaiser Teen Clinic
  • Western Family Addition
  • Carecen
  • Mo Magic