A new year means new opportunities for achievement and a renewed interest in hobbies that may have fallen to the wayside. January is National Mentoring Month, and as we roll out 2015, we’re highlighting a few organizations in Oakland who are investing in our youth for the years to come.

If you have, or know, a young person who would thrive from extracurriculars such as academic tutoring or creative enrichment, our city has tons of community resources to guide their pursuits:

  • For the poetically inclined, Youth Speaks is a fantastic organization focused on cultivating the voice of adolescents who have much to say but few platforms on which to say it. Open mics, spoken word and creative writing workshops are among the activities for young adults seeking a literary community.
  • Younger kids interested in the performing arts might enjoy classes in African drumming and traditional dance through Bay Area Youth Arts. Saturday workshops are taught by Tacuma King, a master percussionist and well-known Bay Area arts educator.
  • For academic help, the East Oakland Youth Development Center hosts an after-school homework center with resources for youth of all ages. Tutoring is offered 3-6 p.m. on weekdays.
  • High school students passionate about video production, audio engineering and other technical skills behind digital media should check out Bay Area Video Coalition. They have a varied schedule to accommodate varied interests, but an application to their programs is required.
  • Already thinking about the summer? Teens considering urban farming and food justice as potential careers should turn to City Slicker Farms’ paid summer program. Youth learns the ins and outs of agriculture while fostering an “organic” community among each other and their neighborhoods.

What other organizations do you know of for youth? Please share in the comments.

3 Responses

  1. CB

    Great article – HOWEVER – instead of highlighting BAVC (which has defunded all of their Oakland programs and only runs in SF) how about Media Enterprise Alliance at KDOL TV ?? (Disclaimer: I teach for them.)

  2. Cristy Johnston

    An organization that’s making a huge impact in thousands of youth’s lives each year through a unique combination of mindfulness, movement and arts education is Destiny Arts Center. With dozens of hip hop, modern dance and martial arts classes that integrate a powerful violence prevention curriculum for youth as young as 3, Destiny is one of Oakland’s best kept secrets for families looking for an inclusive, diverse community with quality arts programming.


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