Chinatown CDC 17th Annual Work-A-Thon Over 150 Youth Volunteers Spring-Cleaning Chinatown

Youth gardening at St. Mary's Square (Picture by Jason Pang)

SAN FRANCISCO (March 30, 2013) -- Chinatown CDC’s Adopt-An-Alleyway (AAA) and Youth for Single-Room Occupancy (YSRO) hosted their “17th Annual Work-A-Thon” this morning at 9 a.m. with over 150 students from San Francisco high schools volunteer to clean Chinatown.

Chinatown is the densest neighborhood in San Francisco where it is difficult to maintain the environmental health and clean community appearances. People can see litter and fallen leaves on the ground, graffiti on storefronts and walls, pests and dead plants. In order to contribute to a harmonious and clean environment, Chinatown CDC’s AAA youth have organized the Work-A-Thon since 1996 to lead others to beautify Chinatown.

“We hope the Work-A-Thon serves more than just beautifying Chinatown,” AAA member Delan Tham said. “We want the public to always be aware of protecting our community environment.”

With AAA and YSRO’s legacy and mission in mind, over 150 youth, volunteers and staff gathered at Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square this morning for Work-A-Thon’s opening ceremony. Participants registered and gathered cleaning supplies and tools while listening to San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chu and Chinatown CDC Executive Director Rev. Norman Fong’s words of support.

“Thank you, AAA and YSRO, for leading all the youth today in this incredible cleanup, and for making sure our seniors, families, and young people are living in an amazing neighborhood,” David Chiu said. “Everyone here today is a future leader of San Francisco, and we look forward to groom and cultivate you all to better serve the city together.”

After the ceremony, volunteers and their group leaders proceeded to different work sites to remove graffiti, renew murals, and clean alleyways while others cleaned single-room occupancy building’s (SRO) corridors, restrooms, and kitchens. Work-A-Thon sites included St. Mary’s Square, Portsmouth Square, the Ping Yuen buildings, Hang Ah Alley, Joice Street, Ross Street, Wentworth Street, and various Chinatown SRO buildings.

After three hours of work, Chinatown CDC served a celebration luncheon at Donaldina Cameron House to acknowledge the youth’s passion in community improvement, and to encourage them to continue serving the community.

Chinatown CDC thanks the following organizations for their support and donations that have made this year’s Work-A-Thon possible: Community Challenge Grant, San Francisco Department of Public Works, San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks, AA Bakery and Café, Anna Bakery, Chipotle, Costco, Good Mong Kok, Juicy Fruit, Laser Quest, Little Paris, Lowe’s, Noah’s Bagel, North Beach Pizza, Safeway, Starbucks, Target, Wing Lung Co., Yee’s Restaurant. Volunteers who participated in this year’s event came from Abraham Lincoln High School, Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, George Washington High School and Thurgood Marshall High School.

For more information about future AAA and YSRO activities, please contact Chinatown CDC at (415) 984-1450 or visit


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