Neo Veavea has been a San Francisco resident for over 50 years. While both of his parents are from American Samoa, Neo has lived primarily in District 10, most notably Bayview, Hunters Point, Excelsior, Sunnydale, and Visitacion Valley, which he’s called home for the last 35 years.
Neo attended Guadalupe and John McLaren Elementary schools and then Burbank Middle School. He went on to attend Searramonte High. During his junior year, he relocated to American Samoa for a year. Neo returned to San Francisco to lend financial support to his family by obtaining his Cosmetology License in 1975. Neo worked in the industry off and on for 10 years until finding his niche working in the Hotel Industry, where he held a supervisory position at the Cathedral Hill Hotel the former (Jack Tar Hotel) for 20 years and later as a Travel Agent accountant for the Fairmont Hotel.
In 1998, Neo co-founded the United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliances (U.T.O.P.I.A.) an organization that provides support and resources for LGBTQ Pacific Islanders. U.T.O.P.I.A. SF sprouted chapters in Hawaii, Seattle, Portland, New York and San Diego. The organization has participated in multiple PRIDE events and presented educational workshops at Stanford University, UC Davis Sacramento, UC Berkley, and many High Schools, Community Colleges, and many local community organizations. U.T.O.P.I.A has also been able to provide scholarships through pageants and have received many awards for their community-based work.
Neo also ran his own catering business NeoBello’s while hosting a cooking show on San Francisco Public Access TV from 2003-2010.
Neo began volunteering with SF Unified School District in 2006 while his son attended Visitacion Valley Middle School as a parent liaison, coordinated the food pantry for low-income families, created a Bi-monthly newsletter, and was known to the kids as the popcorn man as he would sell popcorn during lunch hour to raise money for the PTA. Neo became PTA President and one of his proudest achievement there was the formation of the “Second Cup”, a meet-and-greet to introduce parents to school programs and policies and provided refreshments for parents before headed off to work.
In 2008, Neo was appointed to the District 10 Citizens Advisory Committee by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom. Their focus was the redevelopment plan for the Schlage Lock site in Visitacion Valley. Neo was on the Board of Directors for the Visitacion Community Center and is a member of the Visitacion Valley Connection, a volunteer group that is the catalyst to build connections between businesses, residents and service-providers that brings resources to support positive growth for the entire Visitacion Valley Community.
In 2012, he was appointed the LGBTQ Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission. The committee’s concern was providing social resources to the underserved LGBTQ, immigrant, and senior population. Following a stint as a stay-at-home-dad, Neo’s community advocacy led him to the nonprofit sector. In 2014, he began at the Boys & Girls Clubs as Program Coordinator at multiple D10 clubhouses and he serves currently as Project Coordinator at the Samoan Community Development Center developing programs around mental health. Neo has also spoken at community events surrounding topics of Domestic Violence, Anti-Bullying, Parent Project groups and keynote speaker for the Pasifika Pride GLBTQ Pride in Long Beach, Ca,
Neo facilitates the Café Wellness support group the meets once a week and a senior aerobic workout called ‘Hot Siva’ (Siva means “Dance” in the Samoan language) that meets three times a week. Neo also the founder of The Visitacion Valley Ukulele Club with his son Sana who latter audition at the Cow Palace and was picked to appear during Hollywood week on the last season of American Idol. Neo also dabbled in the world of entertainment as a Stand-up comedian after completing a workshop at Hyena Comedy Institute in San Francisco and appeared as a Muni Bus Driver in the 2009 Movie La Mission. You can catch Neo at his favorite park John McLaren walking his dog Shylo on any given day.