Nonprofit presents a talent show like no other

Neaplensah “Princess” Yarnway never imagined she’d be a star, but tonight she’ll become one as part of the Community Housing Partnership’s “A Night With the Stars” talent show and fundraising event at the Brava Theater Center.

The annual benefit, now in its seventh year, celebrates the talents and spirit of formerly homeless San Franciscans who have transformed their lives with the help of CHP, a nonprofitorganization that offers permanently affordable housing to the homeless. CHP operates 10 buildings with 648 housing units and is working on five additional housing sites.

For the past three months, Yarnway and her children have been earnestly preparing for the performance in hopes of taking home the grand prize of $500.

Known as the Jazzy Girls, the dance ensemble will perform a step routine to DJ Unk’s “Walk it Out.”

“Oh, I’m very confident. We’re in it to win it,” says Yarnway, 28. “When we’re done, [the audience] is going to want to walk it out, too.”

Yarnway’s newfound confidence is a far cry from the hopelessness she felt during the two years she was homeless. The Tenderloin resident found herself without a home in 1998 after she decided to leave a bad relationship. Pregnant and caring for a young child, she bounced from one relative’s home to another, but never quite found a stable place to stay.

Upon the advice of her mother, she applied to CHP’s housing program and in 2000 she was offered a permanent place to live.

Since then, the devoted mother of four has dedicated her to time to providing a better future for her family.

“All of the people in the talent show have arrived. They are in a totally new place in their lives,” says Jeff Kositsky, executive director of CHP.

“To see someone who used to live on the streets and was so disconnected from society get onstage in front of 400-500 people and share their talents is pretty amazing. You can see it on their faces what an experience it is. It’s such a far cry, such a long journey from where they used to be.”

The talent show, which was initially started by CHP as a confidence builder for job interview workshops, features a host of judges such as Ellen Gavin of the Brava Theater and Stanley Williams of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.

Judges will assess each act against a 30-point system, which looks at originality and creativity, audience enthusiasm and quality of presentation.

In addition to the performances, “A Night With the Stars” will feature the first-ever Partnership Awards, which honor various individuals and groups — Joel Lipski of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, San Francisco Foundation and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation — for their ongoing support of CHP’s mission.

“I expect an amazing show,” says Theresa Howe, CHP fund development manager. “This is a way to celebrate the spirit of the organization and the extraordinary talents of the people we serve.

A Night With the Stars

Presented by Community Housing Partnership

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Brava Theater Center, 2789 York St., San Francisco

Tickets: $80

Contact: (415) 929-2470 ext. 304 or e-mail info@chp-sf.org

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read