Young Women’s Freedom Center was founded in 1993 as the Street Survival Project by a coalition of service providers working with young and adult women in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

The guiding principle then and now for the organization is that young women are the experts on issues impacting their lives and they should be involved in running and directing the programs that serve them. Young women were hired to do street outreach to other young women who were living and working on the street.

Then, in 1995, Lateefah Simon was hired as the founding director and expanded Street Survival Project into the Center for Young Women’s Development. YWFC’s current Executive Director, Jessica Nowlan, was hired as the Deputy Director. In 1997 Lateefah left and young women of color under age 26 assumed all leadership responsibility, including Marlene Sanchez who became the Executive Director in 2004 and served for ten years.

In 2016, Jessica Nowlan returned to the Center as the Executive Director and has grown it into the Young Women’s Freedom Center and its historic site in San Francisco to three additional sites in Oakland, Santa Clara County and Los Angeles.

Interactive timeline coming soon.