Meet GLIDE’s Emerging Leader Intern: Char-Leen Craner as She Reflects on Her Experience Thus Far

ImageGLIDE’s Emerging Leaders Internship program for college students throughout the country just finished a two week in-depth immersion, where all the interns engaged in GLIDE’s many services. Char-Leen Craner, a junior at UC Berkeley and native to the Bay Area, shares her experience. 

This past spring, I was beyond excited to accept an internship with GLIDE for the summer. Family and friends showered me with advice on staying safe and questioned whether I really knew what I was getting myself into. Apparently, the Tenderloin had a bad reputation and I was going to be working right in the middle of it.

These first two weeks as a GLIDE Emerging Leaders Intern have been eye-opening. I myself was raised in East Oakland, a neighborhood where experiencing drugs, violence and poverty are a normalcy in my community and even within my own life. And yet, coming to work in the Tenderloin was still a different world to me.

For those who take Bart into the city, getting off at Powell Street station usually means shopping in either the Westfield Mall or Union Square. However, by just walking mere blocks the streets are no longer filled with eager teenage shoppers but instead are full of a different kind of people. Homeless. Gays. Drug users. Men and women of color alike. The outcasts and those shunned by every aspect of society seemed to mingle on the streets of the Tenderloin.


On my second week at GLIDE, the interns and I took a walking tour of the Tenderloin with Del Seymour. He took us to see St. Boniface Church, where the homeless can have a safe and quiet place to sleep, showed us a beautiful mural beneath an inner city sweatshop and even took us into a local hotel where recovering addicts stay. Having been at GLIDE for two weeks, I wasn’t expecting anything to seem different. I soon realized that while the community members we served in GLIDE embodied the Tenderloin, actually experiencing the neighborhood for itself was very different.

Almost every block had something going on. I specifically remember walking down Turk street with the other interns, Del’s reminder that this was the most dangerous street in California still fresh in our minds as we hurried down the street laden with trash, dealers and users alike. Instead of rushing myself down the street and averting my eyes, I decided to look, and I mean really look, at the world around me.

There were people stretched out on the sidewalk, others were sitting. Several women sat on crates; they stopped us and asked us what we were doing in the Tenderloin. A few steps ahead I noticed a drug deal between a man and a woman occur. To my right stood a man and woman sharing a crack pipe. The man was reaching out for the woman who swayed, barely keeping her balance, a look of blankness on her face that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. 

About a half an hour later, Del walked us back to GLIDE. Security greeted us all with friendly waves and smiles, at this point recognizing us as interns and a part of the GLIDE family. And that was when it struck me. Outside of GLIDE’s walls, was a chaotic world. At the very heart of all this poverty, violence and self-desolation was GLIDE; an oasis to those within the community. They opened their arms to the drug dealers, the addicts, those with mental disabilities, and gave them whatever they needed. Whether it was a just hot plate of food or a cry for help in recovering from drugs, GLIDE’s motto of meeting people where they were was very evident to me that day.

So I must say, that while I had my own convictions of the people of the Tenderloin, I found those stereotypes quickly torn down by every person that walked into GLIDE. Regardless of what happened outside on the streets, the staff and community members treated everyone with so much respect, dignity and love – occurrences I see rarely happen in daily interactions among strangers. I have found myself overwhelmed by the generosity, strength and pure beauty of this community and I am extremely blessed to be able to work in an organization that brings so much light into people’s lives. 


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GLIDE Instagram
GLIDE Church invites you to stand up for smart, sensible gun control laws at the San Francisco March For Our Lives Rally on Saturday, March 24!
WHO: GLIDE Church. And YOU!
WHAT: SF March For Our Lives
WHERE: We will meet at GLIDE at noon and then walk over to Civic Center Plaza together as a group.
WHY: Our children should not have to live in fear of gun violence AT ALL, much less at school. Our teachers should not have to add "taking a bullet" to their job descriptions. We raise our voices in solidarity and demand a safer, more peaceful future for our children, our teachers and our country.
WHEN: Saturday, March 24. The rally starts at 1:00 pm, but we will meet at GLIDE at noon!
Additionally, we will make posters for the rally THIS SUNDAY on March 18 after the 11:00 am Celebration.
If you have any questions, please contact our beloved Rev. Angela Brown at
#ENOUGH #Guncontrol #gunsense #safeschools #parkland #columbine #LasVegas #marchforourlives  @womensmarch @womensmarchbayarea @momsdemand @gabbygiffords @100daysaction @bayresistance @glidefycc @kaye_foster @everytown On Wednesday, the children & teachers from GLIDE's Family, Youth & Childcare Center (FYCC) joined thousands of other students across the nation in the #NationalSchoolWalkout. Our FYCC teachers stress the importance of being community-minded thinkers and global citizens. Demanding #GunControlNow and safety in our schools is an important lesson for our kids, as well as a compassionate and powerful act of solidarity with the #Parklandhighschool students & all victims of school shootings.
Gun control is also a crucial advocacy issue for GLIDE — fighting for our children's education, well-being and their very lives is a direct application of our values and one of the most meaningful efforts to get involved in today.

Much love and support to FYCC and to all the young people across the country who raised their fists in defiance, resistance and mourning. We are with you.
@glidefycc @bayresistance @momsdemand @cityhallsf @100daysaction #keepchildrensafe #safeschools #banassaultweapons #forthekids #ENOUGH Children and teachers from GLIDE's Family, Youth & Childcare Center getting ready for a photo at today's #NationalSchoolWalkout. Our teachers stress the importance of being community-minded thinkers and global citizens. Demanding #guncontrolnow and safety in our educational institutions is an important lesson for our kids, as well as a demonstration of solidarity with the #parklandhighschool students and all victims of school shootings.
#enough #safeschools @janekim @momsdemand @kaye_foster @everytown @kamalaharris @wkamaubell @mchammer @feliciahorowitz @glidefycc kids and teachers on there way to City Hall for #nationalschoolwalkout to demand #guncontrolnow! @momsdemand @janetector @kaye_foster @everytown @janekim @andthelma @alissagrier @angelabrown17 @theonj3 @kamalaharris @nancypelosi

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