Winnie Phan

[cnn-photo-caption image=

caption=”Winnie Phan, 16, educates kids on the importance of staying in school.”]
Winnie Phan grew up in a troubled home. Her parents didn’t support her education or give her the opportunities other kids her age enjoyed. By the time she managed to make it through grade school, she was on the road to becoming a statistic.

California has a 25% high school dropout rate, according to the California Board of Education. Nationwide, the dropout rate is about 31%. Winnie, now a junior, is determined to defy the statistic herself and inspire her contemporaries to do the same.

Winnie started Safe Walks in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, pairing up older kids with younger kids to make sure that everyone gets to and from school safely. “Growing up it was scary to walk home,” the now 16-year-old remembers. Taking the fear out of the commute, Winnie hopes, will get more kids staying in school.

Update: Watch the Live interview

This entry was posted in Community contributors, Social reformers, Stereotype busters, Under 20. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Winnie Phan

  1. Xuan Pham says:

    Good for you Winnie! Keep up the good work!

  2. Randy Hill-Texas says:

    Nicole, you doing a great job! Keep up the good work. The “young people who rock” are our future and I hope you will continue the series. Our country is in turmoil and our financial system is in grave danger of being severly damaged……..but we are embarking on the greatest opprotunity for young entrepreneurs in our nations history. Recently I herd Lee Scott say….”We need to tell our story better and more often”

  3. Rick says:

    Winnie , you Rock!

  4. tdude says:

    i think that parents should support there childs eduacation for atleast a half of it

  5. patricia zamora says:

    Hi Winnie,
    You rock, thanks for”repping” San Francisco and the Tenderloin Community and Clubhouse. We are proud of you and the contributions you have made to the club and community to help keep our kids safe! Have fun at the National B&GCA Conference. You and all the Keystoners worked hard to make it happen. Live, Learn and Love.

    Pat Zamora
    Tenderloin Clubhouse Director

  6. Ray Charles says:


    that is terrific what you are doing for younger children. It is scary walking home from school especially in such a large city such as San Fransico. I am also proud, even though I am not your parent, that you stayed in school and did not succumb to the statistic of being a dropout. Keep up the good work.

  7. guy says:

    there are still some good kids out there…good karma to you, young lady.

  8. needsnoname says:

    If you are afraid to go to school, then you should just stay home and wait until you actually grow up a bit…. what is this world coming to…. I guess this is the generation of tis sucking babies that forgot to cut the cord when they were born.

  9. Jennifer Weiss says:

    Thanks for having the courage to be your best and sharing yourself as a role model.

  10. TL Boys And Girls Club says:

    hey hey winnieaaaa you rock girl….we lovvvvvvveeeeee you and miss ya

  11. Sara Segura says:

    Hey Winnie, keep up the good work, we love what you doing for your community and what your doing for yourself and becoming a young and strong women….I love ya and can’t wait until you come back to the clubhouse, “YOU ROCK”

  12. vanessa says:

    Winnie you are my hero

  13. vanessa says:

    Winnie we are proud of you, don’t pay attention to haters like needsnoname, obviously some people just don’t get it.

  14. Rivers says:

    nice story…

  15. Meri says:


    What you are doing is great! I absolutely support you and wish you success in all of your future endeavors!

    Обучения по свалки

  16. Olivia H says:

    Winnie – I am SOOOOOOOOOOO PROUD of ya!!!

  17. Henree says:

    You are brave, determined and full of guts! You deserve the success coming your way. Never let anybody tell you, you can’t, because you have and will for the rest of your life. Never forget to pray for continued support, strength and guidance all the way.


  18. DJ CASANOVA says:

    Winnie…Living proof…. AIN’T NO POWER LIKE THE YOUTH POWER…keep blessing the world with your love and energy!!!! Be the change

  19. Harishka says:

    its admirable that you have decided to continue your education despite having had many challenges in your life, keep it up!

  20. Harishka says:

    i understand your challenges being a teenager.I am lucky that I come from a priviledged background.I`m given full support to attend school, I attend a model C school.

  21. Harishka says:

    yes, education is the key to the future that the reason why i feel so dedicated to my school career

  22. Harishka says:

    yes i will keep it up and make sure i complete my secoundary and teritary education and definatly stay away from drugs and alcohol. I plan to get involved in community work to give back to people like you in your situation.

  23. Diana L says:

    good job winnie!!!
    congrats 🙂
    you’re famous now haha

  24. brandi says:

    needsnoname, you sound ignorant.

    congrats winnie!

  25. Kendall says:

    I know I used to be scared of walkin to school and I always wanted my mom by my side but I still had to do it.

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