Program areas at Oakland Kids First
Oakland Kids First (OKF) works with 120 core youth leaders, 3,400 students across four high schools, and 100 teachers or administrators annually. OKF programs cultivate belonging and build power for young people to advance racial and educational equity. Program Descriptions:Representing Educated Active Leaders Having a Righteous Dream (REAL HARD) Youth Leadership Program is a stipended after school leadership development and youth organizing program that engages 60 student leaders, grades 9-12, at four high schools annually. Youth participate in leadership development and community building activities after school, and then engage thousands of their peers and teachers in community organizing and school culture change efforts designed to increase educational equity. REAL HARD meets twice weekly at Castlemont, Fremont, Oakland High, and Oakland Technical High Schools. The program focuses on shifting school culture from punitive to restorative by expanding leadership roles for students to become culture drivers, by implementing shared Code of Respect values, and creating respectful learning spaces. REAL HARD is Oakland Kids Firsts longest running program.Peers Advising Students to Succeed (PASS-2) creates a peer-to-peer model of relationship building and information sharing at Castlemont and Fremont high schools. PASS-2 provides an engaging space for 9th grade students to access the resources, requirements and support that they need to succeed, thrive in school, and prepare for post-secondary opportunities. PASS-2 engages 30 student mentors annually to facilitate community building circles and academic workshops for 100% of 9th graders at their schools, and offers additional one-on-one peer mentoring support. PASS-2 is currently offered at Castlemont and Fremont high schools. In the past mentors facilitated workshops at Skyline, McClymonds, Oakland High, Street Academy, Oakland Tech, and at several middle schools. OKF serves as the Lead Agency for Castlemont High Schools Knight Success and Knight Time Programs that serve over 400 youth after school annually with 120 students participating in programming per day. OKFs Castlemont programs offer comprehensive college, career, and community readiness programming, as well as academic support, credit recovery, support for International and Newcomer students and their families, health and fitness, after school enrichment, positive youth development, and family engagement activities. Youth Organizing Council (YOC) was established in 2018. YOC convenes 15 student leaders with previous program experience from each of our program sites during the summer and each week during the school year. YOC offers intensive leadership development and youth organizing support to champion justice and educational equity for low-income, marginalized students in Oakland. YOC participants conduct community needs assessments, research issues or policies impacting low-income, students of color, develop campaign plans, and advocate for citywide or district-wide changes in educational policy and practice to increase equity. During the 2019-2020 year, YOC researched and co-authored Oakland Youth Vote legislation to lower the voting age for Oakland School Board Elections to include 16 and 17 year olds, and spent a majority of program time implementing this campaign both during in-person programming and once YOC pivoted to virtual programming.Justice For Oakland Students (J4OS) Coalition was founded by OKF in 2017, and OKF continued to serve as the fiscal sponsor and lead organization between 2019-2020. The J4OS coalition is made up of students, parents/families of Oakland youth, teacher allies, and staff from community-based organizations working to center the experience of Black, Latinx, Special Education, Newcomer or International, and other marginalized student identities in city-wide or district policies and campaigns. J4OS serves as a convening, coordinating entity so member groups can work collaboratively towards shared goals that will improve racial justice and educational equity in Oakland Unified School District20192020 Program Outcomes and Accomplishments: During the 2019-2020 year, Oakland Kids First programs were implemented on-campus at high schools between July 1, 2019- March 13, 2020. Between March 16 - June 30, 2020, all OKF programs were offered virtually due to school closures that resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic to prevent the spread of COVID-19. REAL HARD engaged 76 youth in positive youth development and leadership skill building after school programming. REAL HARD youth leaders then conducted research on school culture issues and launched campaigns to improve teacher quality. REAL HARD also continued to uphold positive school culture and climate at Castlemont, Fremont, Oakland High, and Oakland Tech through shared Codes of Respect, school-wide events, peer surveys and workshops for the broader student population. REAL HARD youth facilitated training for teachers and connected positive incentive systems to each schools store and cultural currency. As a result, 86% of REAL HARD youth believe that all students can do well in school, thrive and succeed in the right conditions; 85% indicated that the Code of Respect improved relationships between students/adults; and 80% gained understanding of power building. PASS-2 engaged 20 mentors at Fremont and 6 mentors at Castlemont. At Fremont, the mentors facilitated peer academic mentoring and restorative justice workshops for 90 9th graders in person, which improved their knowledge of campus resources, graduation/college requirements, and transcript literacy. Due to campus closures, PASS-2 offered virtual workshops only at Castlemont, and prepared 6 mentors to create pre-recorded workshops that were distributed through a 9th grade teachers Google Classroom to all 9th grade students. OKF served as lead agency of the Knight Success and Knight Time programs at Castlemont High School, and engaged an average of 100 students per day, serving 441 total students throughout the year. Programming occured on-campus between August 2019- March, 2020, then OKF provided online programs from March 16-June 30, 2020 that included stipended internships, dual enrollment in community colleges, enrichment activities during out of school time such as the CastleWorks Farm, Culinary Arts, Drivers Education and more. OKF provided International and Newcomer students with support through a Peer Interpreters program, offered Academic Support through online tutoring with teachers, and provided SAT prep for 49 juniors, college visits, and resume writing support. During the pandemic, OKF staff supported distribution of technology to students as well as free meals and healthy/nutritious food made available through OUSD and the Alameda County Food Bank for students and their families. The Youth Organizing Council empowered 15 student leaders to lead the Oakland Youth Vote (OYV) campaign in partnership with the OUSDs All City Council and J4OS Coalition. Youth worked with Council President Kaplan to co-author the OYV resolution to expand voting rights in school board elections to include 16 and 17-year olds. As an outcome of the months YOC leadership spent organizing with peers, council members, and community organizations, the Oakland Youth Vote resolution was unanimously approved by the Oakland City Council in May 2020, advancing it to a public vote in the November 2020 election as ballot measure QQ. As a result of participating in YOC, 78% of YOC participants believe that collaboration with other organizations/groups/or youth are important to building authentic youth power, and 78% think that they can change things when they arent fair by speaking up or taking action or organizing. OKF successfully transitioned J4OS from a program within the organization to a fiscally sponsored project. J4OS convened a coalition of multi-racial, intergenerational members and led coordination of the Reparations Resolution for Black Students campaign and support for the Oakland Youth Vote. In March 2020, OKF established a Student Relief Fund to provide students in our programs with essential connections to resources, social services, and financial support.