by People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey, Oakland Bureau Chief
The Black business renaissance in San Francisco can claim 3rd Street as ground zero. Hunters Point and Fillmore activist and advocate Jameel Patterson has been saying for a while that there are close to 50 Black businesses on just this one street.
Jacqueline M. Norris, M.A.Ed, is a San Francisco native and a Human Resource Analyst retiree from the City and County of San Francisco, after 14 years of service. I met her while walking down 3rd Street and thought that she was interesting because of the services that JN Outreach Foundation offers to seniors and homeless people. And the fact that they have an office on 3rd Street, in the heart of Hunters Point, convinced me that she is doing this work to serve the Black community.
As a writer, my job is to amplify the community voices that are working to empower the Black community. Jacqueline M. Norris is definitely a people’s champ for the community and entrepreneurial work that she does. Check her out in her own words.
JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about why you founded the JN Outreach Foundation?
Jacqueline M. Norris: In 2018, I founded the JN Outreach Foundation alongside my 13-year-old daughter and my sister as a result of the need to be the change we wanted to see in the surrounding communities. We saw a need within our community and we came up with a realistic and humanistic solution that would encourage family unity and improve the neighborhoods in which we live.
The JN Outreach Foundation, Inc. and our family aims to empower the community members and offer them an opportunity to improve their situation and evoke change by taking advantage of services and resources that will: shift their perspective, create change, demonstrate human kindness and meet their needs as it relates to being treated with respect, obtain food and clothing, partake in learning opportunities, address basic personal service needs, and be exposed to positive energy in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.
These are key principles and are critical for the community members who are on fixed incomes, considered working poor, underprivileged, people who are going through re-entry , considered as outcast, or who are in a transitional stage of life.
We know that there are many resources available, yet often people find it difficult to ask for assistance, locate services, or meet the fine-print qualifications or inferred social standards. As a result, many community members miss out on valuable resources due to the following factors: pride, trust, confidentiality issues, fear of the unknown, and judgment.
Our overall objective is to meet the need, make the connection and provide support to all participants and those within their circle. To ensure confidentiality, all programs hosted by JN Outreach are funded by private donations and not city funds, grants, or government assistance.
In summary, the JN Outreach Foundation, Inc., is a local minority-woman-owned nonprofit multi-purpose human service corporation. As we work to achieve our mission, we reaffirm our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). JN Outreach Foundation Inc. makes accountability a priority as it ensures that all parties and participants are continually practicing and experiencing fair treatment, being treated and serving with humility and extending human kindness!
JR Valrey: What are some of the things that the organization does?
Jacqueline M. Norris: JN Notary and JN Outreach Foundation host workshops, mentor new business owners, allow local businesses to use our office for business/community meetings, and we offer tangible support where needed and requested.
|Literacy||Community Adult Learning Empowerment (CALE) Program|
|Literacy||Community Learning for teens (12-18)|
|Health & Wellness||Bayview CPR Training & Wellness Screening (TWS)|
|Health & Wellness||Inspiration Sessions/Empowerment Workshops|
|Health & Wellness||Self-Improvement Sessions|
|Health & Wellness||Grief Sessions (Teens 12-18 & Adults)|
|Health & Wellness||Addiction Recovery Support Facilitation/Sessions (virtual and in person)|
|Youth||Teen Success Solutions (TSS) Program (15-20)|
|Youth||I AM Workshop for Girls (15-17)|
|Seniors||Senior Visual Art Tour (VAT) Program|
|Mini Scholarship||College Mini Scholarship ($250 to $500 – University enrollment, HS GPA 3.0+, Athletic Component)|
|Community Connection||Parent Classes – Create the Conversation|
|Community Connection||Teacher/Health Care Worker Appreciations Program|
|Community Connection||Community Circle (Relief of food, clothing, & hygiene insecurity)|
|Community Connection||Financial Hardship Assistance (Victim of violence, Funeral, Hotel, College/School supplies)|
|Community Connection||Let’s Talk Virtual Network|
|Community Connection||Community Leadership recognition and donation (Certificate/Cash)|
|Community Connection||Virtual Business Assistance (Local) – Computer/Admin work, Document Drafting/Review, Banking, Lite Accounting, Resume Assistance|
|Community Connection||Art Therapy (Canvas painting sessions for those suffering from trauma or abuse)|
|Community Connection||Accountability/Life Coaching|
|Community Connection||Spiritual Inspiration (Digital, written, in-person, and virtual)|
|Children||P3 Craft Night|
We offer some group sessions, but we specialize in one-on-one sessions based on the confidential nature of some of our classes, courses, or sessions.
JR Valrey: Why is it important for you to put a focus on seniors?
Jacqueline M. Norris: Being raised by my grandparents. I was conditioned to care for my elders and to ensure that each interaction is memorable. With that said, when I became a business owner, I vowed to set seniors’ needs as a priority when it comes to our products, services and course design, as well as the set up of our offices.
We offer an environment of peace in addition to providing an overall sense of security for all clients, be it in-office or mobile. We have an opportunity to be the change that we want to see, and when clients step into our offices, the response is always the same: “Wow this is so welcoming and calming.” That means a lot to me, as I pride myself on providing good service, and also offering moments of peace in our chaotic society for each person seeking or utilizing our services.
We are flexible and confidential. We do not have appointment time restrictions, we have – and express – compassion when serving our clients’ needs. However, we pay special attention to our senior clients and we are very detailed and intentionally informative when assisting them with services as we understand their limitations, heath conditions and emotional challenges due to age.
In summary, by offering personal services such as Notary and senior assistance, we believe we can effectively change, or at least have a positive impact on, the condition of the community and its various members. On Feb. 2, 2022, I took early retirement from my city and county job. Now I am able to dedicate and focus my energy and invest in my passion to serve the seniors and the community members.
JR Valrey: How has the local community responded to your work?
Jacqueline M. Norris: Once community members find out all of the things that we do and offer, they are very receptive. Some offer donations and others offer powerful words of prayer. The clients that we serve are very excited about our services, especially the unhoused. They look forward to seeing our cars because they know they will receive a full hot meal and items such as socks, soap, towels, conditioner, ointment for their cuts and bruises, etc.
This year we even added a snack pack for their dogs. We are literally attempting to meet all needs. It is such a great opportunity for us and them. More times than not, before we can complete the exchange, we hear words of thanks and blessings. Here we are doing our best to bless them and yet we leave full of motivation at the sound of, “God Bless You and see you next time.”
Heartfelt exchanges of love without the blur of color lines, status, or financial gain really demonstrates the impact of our community services and the love for the people.
The clients that attend our classes or training courses are happy with our services. They seem to like the confidential way we teach literacy, the personal experience, the relaxing environment and the fact that they can receive a variety of quality services within one building.
JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about JN Notary and Professional Services, and how it started?
Jacqueline M. Norris: In 2020 when business came to an abrupt halt due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we noticed that many of the essential needs of our community were not being met. While business slowed down, personal needs were still occurring and even increasing. The need to have documents notarized quickly became essential, yet the service providers were few. With the support of my family, I enrolled in all the necessary courses and successfully passed exams to become a California Notary Public.
In January 2021, I received my Commission and on Feb. 22, 2021, (my birthday), I launched JN Notary & Professional Services. As a result of our efforts and sacrifice, JN Notary & Professional Services is the only Notary business with two stationary offices within the Bayview and Portola area, where the seniors and other members of the community can come and feel safe while receiving professional services.
JR Valrey: What kinds of services do you provide?
Jacqueline M. Norris: Our overall mission is to provide exceptional notarial service when and where it is requested, which is verified by our A Ranking on BBB as well as our 5 Star Reviews on Yelp. Clients can schedule onsite service at one of our two safe, clean, comfortable and convenient San Francisco locations.
The majority of our clients are seniors and business professionals. We also service local contractors, funeral homes, tax professionals, insurance companies, and the general population. We provide notary service related to wills, trust documents, bid packages, payment waivers, birth certificate requests, POAs (Power of Attorney) , DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) documents, personal affidavits etc.
We offer affordable and convenient onsite mobile services at a designated location – office, home, business, hospital, school, college, assisted living, senior citizen residents, and nursing home. This enables the client to obtain their required notary services promptly without stress or hassle.
We aim to encourage family unity and improve the areas in which we live one house at a time. I truly plan to impact lives and make a difference in all surrounding communities, not just the Bayview, by educating clients on issues such as the importance of literacy, wills, estate planning, youth empowerment, health and wellness, and financial security.
|Community/Business||Onsite/offsite notary and loan signing service|
|Community/Business||Professional work such as drafting documents, form completion (virtual), etc.|
|Community/Business||Bill pay service/assistance (onsite/virtual)|
|Community/ Business||Resource Connections|
|Business||Process review (onsite/virtual),|
|Business||Employee training (onsite/virtual)|
|Business||Splash page and website design|
JR Valrey: How has having a business on 3rd Street been for you?
Jacqueline M. Norris: To be honest it has its ups and downs. I love being on 3rd Street and having the opportunity to service the community with deep African American roots. My location seems to be very convenient for the community constituents. Yet, as with the other 3rd Street businesses, we do not have heavy foot traffic, meaning the community seeks service on an as-needed basis and not by general discovery. More foot traffic would draw more people and allow me to service the needs of more community members which over time would shift perspective and change minds.
However, for now the majority of our non-profit clients come from referrals or clients who have also received services from:
– our JN Notary service (rate starting at $15),
– Greeting card business (Jaaz Creative Designs prices between ($2.00 – $5.00),
– previous empowerment attendees
– purchasers of the self-authored Inspiration collection ($10 each)
Titles in stock are as follows: “Impacting Lives and Making a Difference” (2018), “My Prayers Have the Power to Make a Difference” (2019), “Rejuvenation of Mind, Body, and Soul for Teens” (2020), “On Sunday Morning” (2021), and “Making Time for Self” (2022).
As well, I understand that some clients and community members are hesitant to shop or do business on 3rd Street due to the people who hang out there. But I pray that will not deter future business growth for me and the other merchants.
JR Valrey: How can people get support JN Outreach Foundation, Inc. and how can they access JN Notary and Professional Services?
Jacqueline M. Norris: We post JN Outreach updates and upcoming classes on IG @JN_Outreach, and FB at Jacque Sanders-Norris. We do our best to frequent Bayview events and support but the best way to find out about our services or classes is via our website at JNoutreach.org. Also, text or call 415-722-6687 or email JN.Outreach@gmail.com and one of our representatives will respond within 24 hours.
JN Notary can be found at https://jnsfnorris.org and at www.jaazworld.com/notary-svc, and on IG @ Notary_Norris.
In addition to offering self-scheduling on our websites, potential clients can also text or call us at 415-444-6622 to speak with me personally and schedule an appointment for notary or professional services.
Our main website is www.jaazworld.com, where you can see information on all of our businesses.
We respectfully accept donation via zelle: 415-722-6687, WWW.JNOUTREACH.ORG/DONATE, Cash App $JNOUTREACH; Venmo @JN_Outreach; and checks can be sent to JN Outreach PO Box 347217 SF CA 94134.
Conclusion, in keeping with the mission of our Non-Profit JN Outreach Foundation, all three of my businesses offer the community an opportunity to tap into quality resources and services that will create and build a strong or stronger foundation based on self-preservation, self-improvement, accountability, and positive contact with other diverse members of the community.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story!
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau and is founder of his latest project, the Ministry of Information Podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Instagram.