Our Upcoming Events
Investing in Our Youth
The future health of our city is integrally connected with the future of our youth. When we offer our youth quality education and decent paying jobs, crime will drop and our City’s fortune and reputation as a great place to live and work will soar. I’m already working closely with Oakland Schools' Superintendent Tony Smith:
- In 2011 we launched Late Night Live during the summer to provide safe places for youth and families late Friday and Saturday nights—the time when historically our young people are vulnerable to shootings and other violence. This summer expanded the program to Friday Nights in the Parks at Willie Wilkins and Carter Gilmore parks in East Oakland.
- We created the Summer Stars program with the Police Activities League (PAL) to provide an outdoor camping experience for middle school students from our toughest neighborhoods.
- We more than doubled the number of positions available through the Mayor's Summer Jobs Program, providing that all-important first job to 1000 Oakland youth.
- We kicked off the new Oakland Education Cabinet, a working group of key leaders from local colleges and universities, the community colleges, business, the Oakland Education Association and parents. OEC Committees are focusing on communication, early childhood education and development, high school completion, college readiness, higher education, and workforce development. Participants include knowledgeable, influential and independent citizens.
- We also launched the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative, with a vision of finding caring adults to work with Foster youth, formerly incarcerated youth and chronically absent youth. We surveyed 46 different organizations already working with Oakland youth in some mentoring capacity and helped initiate the Mentoring Forum, a working group of these agencies who hope to leverage their resources to better serve Oakland’s youth. By promoting the need for mentors, the City, in partnership with OUSD and these mentoring providers, has placed more than 1000 mentors and volunteers in the past year.
Mayor's Summer Job Program
Last year with only two months' notice, Congress cut the Mayor's Summer Jobs Programs. For decades Oakland received funding to employ about 500 low-income youth each summer. The President doubled the number in 2010 because of the recession, then Congress brought it to zero in 2011. We scrambled last year and between the City and the County came up with about 400 internships focusing on foster youth. Private employers answer the call and funded 200 more.
This year raised enough funding to provide 1,500 jobs, employing half of the students from West and East Oakland. The City itself hired 42 summer interns.
While we are thrilled that we more than doubled the number of job opportunities from last year, we had 2000 applicants this year. We need your help for 2014, when we hope to place every applicant in that important first job. A summer internship costs $1500-$2000 per student to underwrite. If you can hire a student or are willing to take a student for the Mayor's Summer Jobs Program, contact Felicia Duncan at 510-238-6457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo above: Spring recruitment fair at McClymond's High School in West Oakland.
Summer Stars Program
This summer, we sent 100 middle school students from our toughest neighborhoods away for a one week camp out experience. We held two sessions at the Police Activities League (PAL) Camp in Joaquin Miller Park this year. Next year, we will expand to include a week at the City's Feather River Camp near Quincy, CA. Please help us give these kids a new perspective on their future by sending a donation to the Summer Stars Program c/o The Mayor's Office, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612. Donations are tax deductible.
Mayor's Mentoring Initiative
Helping Oakland's most at risk youth build a future
To assure success in school and life beyond, some of our youth need a little extra support and guidance from a caring adult. Because of extreme economic times and severely depressed school district budgets, some of our youth do not receive all the help they need.
The evidence tells that each youth that has a caring adult in his/her life earns better grades in school, is less likely to use drugs, resists gang involvement, is forward thinking and plans for a successful and productive life. Last year we promoted mentoring throughout the City and helped place more than 1000 mentors and volunteers with Oakland youth. More young people are waiting.
We started the year with a call for mentors for Oakland's 2000 most-at-risk youth--aging out Foster youth, formerly incarcerated youth and students who are chronically absent from school. More than 500 people responded and signed up as volunteers or mentors in one of the 46 different programs serving Oakland youth.
You can find out more about these programs and which one might be the best match for your skills and interests as a mentor by attending the Oakland Bay Area Cares National Mentoring Month Mentoring Mixer (see above). Members of the newly formed Mentoring Forum, representing the many mentoring programs in Oakland, will be on hand to explain their programs and help you get started. You can sign up here at www.oaklandschoolvolunteers.org/mentor.
Click here for information about some of the organizations with which we are partnering to give hope to Oakland's youth.