AIDS activist Ryan White and forest warrior Julia Butterfly Hill could have ended up like many of their peers -- more interested in the latest version of Resident Evil or who's getting punk'd than the world around them. But due to a complex alchemy of circumstance and will, these young people managed to change minds, policies, and lives. Even before reaching voting age, kids can be a dynamic political force -- if they're given the tools and encouragement they need to splash out.
Get your children off to a good start with "SF Youth and Social Change,"an afternoon of conversation about the possibilities for local teens and 'tweens. An address by MacArthur Fellow Lateefah Simon, who became the executive director of local criminal justice outreach nonprofit the Center for Young Women's Development at the tender age of 19, is followed by a panel discussion by youth and adult activists starting at 5 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second St.), S.F. Admission is free; call 597-6701 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Everyone loves monkeys, right? The sad truth is, someone somewhere doesn't care about them much at all. Some folks aren't interested in their poignant facial expressions or their adorable long arms, let alone their health. Dr. Biruté Galdikas has been working to safeguard orangutans for many years, and was a compatriot of Dr. Louis Leakey. At "Orangutan Odyssey: The Plight of the Orangutan in Indonesia," she outlines various problems the above-mentioned somebodies are creating for these intelligent, vulnerable animals. Dr. Galdikas also answers questions and signs copies of her book, Reflections of Eden. Her lecture is recommended for those 12 and older; however, just down the hall is a program for kids aged 4 to 11 on the subject of great apes and their habitats. Monkey around, starting at 7 p.m. at the Lurie Education Center at the S.F. Zoo, 1 Zoo Road (at Skyline), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 753-7073 or visit www.sfzoo.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Up Up and Away
You can't tell the kids to go fly a kite in this stormy weather, but you can urge them to go build one at the Kite-Making Workshop. The hands-on event, led by a professional kite artist, lets budding fliers create their own sturdy aerial apparatuses and circling contraptions using simple materials, all while learning about the physics of aeronautics. Just make sure your Orville Wright doesn't turn into Ben Franklin when the next storm hits. Take off starting at 2 p.m. at Zeum, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), S.F. Admission is free-$7; call 777-2800 or visit www.zeum.org.
-- Jack Karp