An Introduction to Mo’ MAGIC

by Myke Suyat

As the new Program Assistant at Mo’ MAGIC, I plan to ride this “new guy” title as long as I can. Almost one month on the job and I’m still discovering who we are, what we do, and why we do it. I think I have a good grasp of this organization, but I learn new things everyday because we do more than what we say we do on paper. Mo’ MAGIC Director, Sheryl Davis, who is affectionately dubbed, Sister Davis within the walls of the office, is busy, really busy.

Founded by the SF Public Defender’s Office in 2004, we are “a collaborative San Francisco neighborhood-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the community and youth through the MAGIC of collaboration.” The program first served the Bayview & Hunter’s Point community and then in 2006 expanded to Fillmore and Western Addition neighborhoods due to the efforts of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. Thus, Bayview MAGIC’s sibling was born, Mo’ MAGIC (Mo’ is short for Fillmore), with Ms. Davis at the helm. Before Mo’ MAGIC, programs were being offered to the community that were disconnected. Now Mo’ MAGIC coordinates and collaborates efforts in the Western Addition.

Once defined by our name, Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities (MAGIC), we initially served organizations working with at-risk or underserved youth, who are more susceptible to juvenile delinquency. But driven by the needs of the entire community, we expanded to serve other unmet needs. “We couldn’t just serve the kids without looking at the rest of the household,” Ms. Davis explains. “The families need assistance, too.” The partnership has grown to include jobreadiness, mental and health-service organizations, housing development managers, and resident associations.

“We have evolved into a one-stop shop of neighborhood know-how,” Ms. Davis continues. “We work towards our mission by convening stakeholders, building community and capacity, and sharing information and resources.”

Our annual events include weekly summer activities, academic support, field trips, holiday celebrations, a backpack giveaway, interfaith activities, teen council and leadership, community gardening, and more. The youth, as a result of their regular participation in community events, have taken ownership of the neighborhood. And through regular interaction with each other, these same kids have helped to break down some of the invisible walls that have caused separation and fighting. Ultimately, Mo’MAGIC is achieving the mission of Public Defender Jeff Adachi when he instituted MAGIC along with Western Addition stakeholders by decreasing truancy and youth encounters with the criminal justice system.

As we plan for 2011 and continue to serve the neighborhood on a tighter budget, we invite you to participate, share your ideas, or volunteer at an event. All meetings are open to the public. For more information, please contact or visit us on our website