The “perfect storm” that transformed the nature of the political, institutional, economic, and social infrastructure in Oakland since the 1990s is refered to as the “urban trifecta” (S. Ginwright, 2009), including the demise of the Black Panther Party, the exodus of blue collar jobs, and the spread of crack cocaine. Oakland‘s unemployment levels currently remain significantly higher than the Alameda County and California statewide averages (Witt et al., 2005).  A large proportion of those who commit and are the victims of homicide in Oakland are unemployed (J. M. Wilson & Riley, 2004).  Oakland has a quarter of Alameda County‘s population, but accounts for 60 percent of its reported violent crimes (Violent crimes in alameda county: A fact sheet, 2010).  The Oakland Tribune reported in 2010 that more than 1,000 people have been killed in Oakland in the past nine years, which closely parallels the number of American lives lost in the war in Afghanistan during the same timespan (Johnson, 2010). Over 33 percent of homicide victims in Oakland are between the ages of 15 and 24 (Beyers, Jain, & Mena, 2006).  Sixty-one percent of the homicides in Oakland occur in East Oakland (Spiker, Garvey, Arnold, & Williams, 2009).  These stark statistics affirm that residents in East Oakland regularly contend with economic, environmental, educational, and health inequities.

The East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) is located in the Elmhurst District of Oakland, referred to as “the killer corridor” (Moody, 2008)” because of the high rates of violent crime and homicides in this neighborhood.  Nevertheless, EOYDC remains committed to attending to the emotional, physical, intellectual, and economic well-being of this community for the last 33 years.  EOYDC‘s mission is to equip East Oakland‘s youth with the skills, training, and values necessary to become dynamic leaders and responsible citizens.  EOYDC‘s free, comprehensive core programming emphasizes educational empowerment, artistic expression, job training, and physical development.  For five days a weeks, 50 weeks each year, EOYDC offers positive and safe experiences for East Oakland‘s youth through a dedicated staff and extensive, relevant program offerings.