Mwende Hahesy

Independent Reporter/Producer

High up on a hill in San Francisco's Hunter's Point neighborhood is a tiny two-bedroom apartment. From the outside it looks like any other building on the block. But as you approach, the sound of laughing, yelling, stomping, squealing, and music can be heard spilling out of the door and windows. 

Gathered inside is a group of black girls. They're old friends, new friends, cousins, sisters, neighbors, and strangers. Every day after school, nearly 30 of them make their way here to be part of a makeshift, girls-only clubhouse called Girls 2000.

Here, the girls can learn to cook for themselves. They help each other with homework. They work on art projects. They talk about boys. And they learn how to grow.

Clowns remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. But it takes a professionally trained clown to lighten the mood in a hospital while being therapeutic. In a quiet hospital wing, some unlikely sounds float down the hallway: an accordion, a ukelele, and laughter. Luz Gaxiola and Molly Shannon make their daily rounds at the California Pacific Medical Center. They’re part of the Alameda based Medical Clown Project.

Compared with the rest of the nation, the Bay Area is an easy place to go green – many restaurants will give you take-out with biodegradable containers and silverware, trash cans have a section for recyclables, and San Francisco, along with other Bay Area cities, even offers compost collection