• Posted on: October 28, 2014

Powerful Women of EOYDC III

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Guadalupe Barocio

California State University, East Bay, Business Administration

My journey with EOYDC began in 2004, where I did a school project about community service My role was to help in the homework center, help tutoring kids, playing games. Most importantly I learned that I was able to set a positive example and by doing so I was being a role model to the kids. I love the life and environment of the EOYDC it felt like home, so I went ahead and apply for the program as a youth leader. I was not sure how I was going to do because I was competing for a position as there were more than 20 people applying for that same position. I was hired as a youth leader in 2006, and that is where I became closer to EOYDC and began to experience things that were new to me.

At EOYDC I have been involved in several things, such as the lobster fest, opening of a football game, breast cancer marathon and so on. I have received scholarships to help with my education and accomplished my goal of business woman. I just graduated from Cal State East Bay and received my Bachelors in business administration.

I am also attending San Leandro Adult School for my CAN/HHA certification. I recently got certified to practice CPR. I am very excited to see what the future holds for me. I will be a successful woman.

There is no obstacle that I cannot overcome; I always say that nothing is impossible, if you set your mind to it. My family is always supporting me in any way they can if they see me falling, they help me get back up and encourage me to do well.

Adrianne Batiste

University of San Francisco,Bachelor of Science, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

California State University, Monterey Bay, Masters of Business Administration- Business Management

Global Investment Company, Inc., Jr. Financial Analyst and Internship Coordinator

I am a recent graduate of University of San Francisco, with B.S. degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a current MBA-Business Management student at Cal State Monterey Bay.

Currently, I am working at Global Investment Company in Oakland as a Jr. Financial Analyst and Internship Coordinator where I would directly with our CEO to provides an array of specialized services—financial planning, investment management, fiduciary advisory services, investment fiduciary audits, benefits management solutions as well as community outreach and social impact investing.

Following completion of my MBA degree I hope to continue working in the field of social impact investing while launching my own firm that educates communities on financial literacy and financial independence.

My relationship with the East Oakland Youth Development Center and Ms. Regina began in 2004 as a participant in the Cultural Enrichment Program. Later, I became involved in the Pathways to College program and had the pleasure to share my experiences at the University of San Francisco with my EOYDC family through college tours.. Through these experiences, I have gained personal qualities that enable me to be open-minded to new people, activities, environments, or temperament of any situation. These experiences truly encourage me to be successful in personal and professional aspirations. I am truly blessed and appreciative for Ms. Regina’s love and dedication, and for the support of the EOYDC.

Taylor Brandon

DePaul University, Public Relations and Advertising

The most valuable skill that I have learned at the EOYDC is to advocate for my community. It is a major theme in my life that can be represented in my current work and future career goals.

My experience with the EOYDC officially began in the of 2008 when I became a Youth Leader for the summer program. The youth leadership position provided me with a professional foundation and a love for my community. I was presented with a myriad of opportunities from the center such as a backpacking trip, a college tour to New York and various public speaking engagements.

Aside from these outstanding experiences the EOYDC has provided me with a second family. Every time I come into the center I know that I am home. Upon my arrival at DePaul University I noticed that my motives were different from other students. I wanted to receive an education but I knew that I needed to network,find mentors, and immerse myself in as many leadership opportunities as possible. All these skills were brought out of me from the center and from the Pathway to College program. PTC and

EOYDC alumni such as Dominique Drakeford made me aware that I needed to be a go-getter at my university.

As a Junior at DePaul I am a Resident Advisor and I serve as the President for Nu’ance Dance Team. Nu’ance is one of the 5 largest black student organizations on campus and I could not be more proud to provide a safe space for black women while also mentoring middle school aged girls. I am also the Communications and 5k intern at Girls on the Run- Chicago, an organization that serves 6,000 girls in the Chicago area, teaching them life skills and preparing them for a 5k run.

I owe a majority of my success to the East Oakland Youth Development Center because they provided me with the confidence to make my mark in a different city. I would also like to thank Dania Frink for providing me a comprehensive communications internship in the of 2013. This among other experiences provided by the center and Ms. Regina have had the most positive impact on me. I know that I will have a career working with communities whether that be nationally or internationally. My goal is to provide these communities with tailored communication support.

EOYDC will forever be a part of my life and success.

Cara Brown

California College of the Arts,MBA in Design Strategy

Cara Brown joined the EOYDC track club as a junior at Bishop O’Dowd high school. She was a member of the varsity women’s relay teams, competed in the triple jump, as well as both the 300m and 100m hurdles. She was the section champion in the 100m hurdles champion in 2000. After graduating in 2001, she carried the principles of focused discipline and hard work learned from working with Coach Curtis with her to Howard University in Washington, DC. Ms. Brown contributed to the H.U community as an athlete on the Track and Cross Country teams and assistant director in the Howard University Student Association (H.U.S.A) while earning a B.A. in International Business and Marketing. It was at Howard that she discovered her passion for entrepreneurship, with marketing consulting and empowering young women.

Ms. Brown pursued a marketing career within the arts, culture and media space, working with BET.com, Radio One and DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She had the pleasure of sharing her experience with Ms. Regina and an EOYDC student group during their stop in the Nation’s Capital on the annual college tour. Ms. Brown shared stories and tips about college preparedness during dinner and a tour of an art gallery, where she served as director.

Currently, Ms. Brown is earning an MBA in Design Strategy at the California College of the Arts. This groundbreaking MBA encompassing innovation, design thinking, sustainability, systems thinking, finance, entrepreneurship, and generative leadership equips Ms. Brown with a unique skill set needed for the dynamic business landscape of the future.

Ms. Brown cherishes the lessons and values learned from EOYDC track team, as they created an invaluable personal foundation of discipline, tenacity and leadership. She hopes to pass these values forward, empowering young girls to set goals and pursue their passions. Ms. Brown continues to develop as an entrepreneur, marketing professional and leader in the millennial generation.

Mekaela Clark

California State University, Northridge, Cinema Television Arts and Electronic Media Management

I am a graduate at CSUN in Southern California majoring in Cinema Television Arts with an option in Electronic Media Management (quite a mouthful, I know). I am working at the Valley Performing Arts Center currently, as well as interning at Tasha Smith’s Talent Management and Agency she runs with her husband Keith Douglas. It’s an awesome experience and I’m learning new information every week! Last semester I worked on Tavis Smiley’s show on PBS as a Production Assistant Intern and met a lot of successful singers, actors, directors, etc that showered me with wonderful information about how to be successful in this business and staying true to my craft. Everything they told me were reminders of things that I had been taught and had instilled in myself since I started at the EOYDC when I was 11 years old.

I would like to thank EOYDC, Ms. Regina and all the wonderful people that helped make me the woman I am today. I left EOYDC with pages upon pages of experience and skills that I knew how to market once I left home. I had years of experience volunteering, working, pushing boundaries and stepping out of my comfort zone, all because EOYDC gave me the opportunity to do so. I was able to try new things and be okay with failing, and also have my crafts and talents cherished. Even today I can come back to the center and feel right back at home with the familiar faces and the new young faces that have discovered the value that EOYDC encompasses.

Thank you EOYDC for creating a platform for me to get started in this world, and for allowing me to come back anytime and share my experiences with those that need to hear it.

“Education is the key.” — Booker T. Washington

Andrea M. French

Spelman College, Bachelor of Arts Economics

The Wharton School of Business, Masters of Business Administration

I am a second year MBA candidate at The Wharton School of Business. I began my professional pursuits as a Capital Markets Analyst at Lehman Brothers, and just prior to Wharton, I worked as a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, LLC in the Strategy and Operations practice. My experience is in the Health Care sector primarily deploying clinical information systems at health care providers, developing go-to- market strategies for innovative health IT products, and implementing strategic initiatives for large health plans.

I can very easily trace the roots of many of my achievements back to exposure and training that I received from youth development programs at EOYDC and throughout the Oakland Bay Area. As I scroll through the Powerful Women of EOYDC Blog I am so proud to read about all of the amazing things that EOYDC alumni are doing — it truly is a testament to what can happen when you invest in potential at an early age. I am so grateful for the leadership and commitment of Regina Jackson — I can’t wait to be like her when I grow up!

Brea Hammonds

Loyola Marymount University,Communication Studies and Theater Arts

I am a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University double majoring in Communication Studies and Theater Arts. I am currently working in the admissions office at my school assisting incoming freshmen with the transition into college. I also currently have an internship off campus serving as personal assistant to actress Brely Evans, a friend of EOYDC. In addition to working two jobs I have also began to pursue my acting career. This past semester I starred in several student films and have begun auditing for feature films and commercials. Although I am going to school to study both Theater and Communications I have recently found a love for playwriting. In fact, a play I wrote discussing racism in my generation was selected to be featured in a performance festival on campus. Theater is my passion and I love using it as a platform to bring awareness to major issues in today’s society. My passion for social justice drives me to not only succeed but also be the best actor I can possibly be. Acting is my outlet that will someday put me on a universal platform to address and combat social injustice.

I became a member of the EOYDC family in 2011 during my senior year of high school. Throughout high school I was unaware of the great things EOYDC offered to the youth. EOYDC has created an environment for Oakland’s youth to feel at home and gain a sense of family; this is something I will forever be grateful for. This center has changed the lives of many in unimaginable ways. Personally, I believe that if it were not for EOYDC’s Pathway to College program I may not have been able to attend the college of my dreams. EOYDC has taught me that in one’s success giving back is key. My only hope is that one-day soon I will be able repay the center for all it has done for me.

Charlotte Jones

Clark Atlanta University,Psychology

Hello all! My name is Charlotte and I am a graduating senior psychology major at Clark Atlanta University. While in school, I have had the opportunity to be part of the Essence Dance Line, Miss NAACP Scholarship Pageant, Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant, and the treasurer and representative of #VIP (community service organization). During my senior year I have been fortunate enough to receive two amazing internships; Cool Girls Inc. and Youth Villages. While working with Cool Girls Inc. I assisted in resource development and tutored and mentored 3rd -5th grade girls. While At Youth Villages I worked as a teacher Counselor for girls 13-16 years of age who have been diagnosed with behavioral and Emotional disorders. Recently, I was offered two post-graduation positions. One working as a Behavioral Youth Counselor at Youth Villages in Memphis, TN, the other as a member of the AmeriCorp Program, City Year, New York. After the completion of the post-graduate program, I plan to continue furthering my education and receive my LCSW degree as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

For the past six years, I have enjoyed being a member of the EOYDC family. I started by helping sort toys for EOYDC’s annual Christmas party. I remember my first day at the center like it was yesterday. As soon as I walked in I felt the warmth and everyone greeted me as if they knew me for years. This was the day I fell in love with EOYDC! Through my time with EOYDC I have been an intern, youth leader, and a member of pathways to college. I can honestly say, I don’t know how my college experience would have been without the support of my EOYDC family. Since the day I met her, Ms. Regina has been a significant influence, and has provided support and guidance throughout my college experience. As well, she has counseled me in the development of my career goals. I will forever be grateful to Ms. Regina, the staff and my peers at EOYDC for the positive influence they have had on my life.

Estefany Maldonado

San Francisco State University,Business Administration and Marketing

I am currently a junior at San Francisco State University where I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I am pleased to share that I am on track to graduate on time, May 2015, with cum laude honors. I aspire to work in marketing communications, specifically in the fashion industry, once I graduate.

I have been part of the EOYDC community for about 5 years now. I first got involved with the center when I found out about the Cultural Enrichment Program and the job opportunity it offered. At first I simply wanted to apply to be a youth leader, but I eventually decided to apply for the Spanish instructor position. Although I had no prior experience being an instructor, the SCEP directors believed in me and offered me the position. I worked as the Spanish instructor for two consecutive years and truly loved it.

Before joining the EOYDC I was a very shy and quiet person, but thanks to the youth leader job training and the experience of being an instructor I was able to step out of my shell and become a more confident and outgoing individual. Aside from participating in the SCEP, I have also been a member of Pathway to College(PTC) — which has been very beneficial. During my senior year in high school I was able to attend the 2010 PTC White House college tour. I gained so much from attending this tour; I was able to learn more about D.C., visit many monuments — that I never imagined I would be able to visit — and I was able to tour many great universities, one of them being the school I’d love to get my masters degree from. One of the highlights of my tour was meeting Rosie Rios, the United States Treasurer. She was someone I could identify with. Rosie Rios grew up in the bay area and had a similar background to me . It was motivating to see that hard work does pay off. Now when I look at money and see her name on it, it brings back great memories of the trip!

PTC helped me choose the university that I am currently attending, and the scholarship program has helped me pay my tuition. PTC has definitely had a positive impact in my education. Although due to my hectic work and class schedule I am not able to volunteer or participate in the EOYDC events as much as I’d like to, I have continued to put what I have learned at the EOYDC to good use. During my sophomore year I interned for a program on campus that focuses on promoting higher education, helping youth be more prepared for college, and connecting students to campus resources. Having a background in working with youth at the EOYDC helped make me an excellent candidate for the internship and the job training skills that I learned at the EOYDC helped me excel.

Thanks to doing the internship I now know more about my campus and I’m able to give a little bit back to EOYDC by giving youth participants tours of the campus. Overall, the EOYDC, its programs, and staff have had a huge impact on my life. I owe a lot of my success to the opportunities, help, and guidance that I have received from being part of the EOYDC. Words truly cannot describe how thankful I am and how honored I am to be part of such a successful, caring, and supportive community.

Sha’quea Pratt

California State University, Sacramento, Psychology and Nursing

I have always been a part of the EOYDC family. I first came to EOYDC when I was seven years old. I can remember my first day like it was yesterday. Ms. Jackie saw how bored we were and told us to ask my great grandmother if we could go with her to her job at a center where there are many kids like us. My sister and I ran down the stairs to her car and jumped in. We came in and signed in and Ms. Jackie introduced us to a few people and then she told us to stay together. At this point we stayed together and went to the computer class, art, the gym, the homework center and the music class. Soon it was time to go. We didn’t want to leave at all. Once we told our mom about it she knew exactly what we were talking about since she had gone to EOYDC when she was little and she said yes. Because my mom was in school and working both full-time, she only could make it to take us a few times a week and eventually less. Soon my mom found out about the Cultural Enrichment Program at EOYDC and she signed us up. This is where we had the most fun. We were able to be at EOYDC for more hours in the day. We got there in enough time to eat lunch and go to a few classes. My sister and my favorite class within the SCEP was the dance class; we loved to dance and soon became known for it at EOYDC. We were always out front at all of the talent shows and we even made up our own dances within a small group and everyone wanted to be a part of. One time in particular was our dance to Crazy in Love by Beyoncé. It started with just three of us and grew to around 15 of us. We had a blast!

Throughout the years I attended the program and the after school program where we attended the West African Dance class, the Home Alone Cooking class, the peewee basketball program, the art class, the music class, and the Links book club. I can specifically remember being a part of the bridging the digital divide program in the computer lab with Brittany Harris and the time where Magic Johnson came to the center and presented us with a brand new computer center. This day was a breathtaking experience and brought many people into our doors. This summer of my 13th year was a great one for me. I had been promoted from a volunteer to an intern and then from an intern to a Youth Leader and Dance Instructor all within 1-2 weeks. Every summer following this I was a Youth Leader. When I was 14 I became a Homework Tutor for the year round program. At the age of 16 I became the Computer Instructor and from there I transitioned into the Assistant Director of SCEP in 2010, the Director of SCEP in 2011 and 2012 and the Managing Director of SCEP in 2013. These years taught me a lot and they sure helped me to mature and become a lot more responsible. I was able to participate in many programs and was a part of many great projects. such as the New York College Tour of 2010, Clean up Our Crib, the first book writing and publishing of EOYDC, “Y U Gotta Call it Ghetto”, I was awarded the first Links book club scholarship, Pam Moore scholarship in 2011,and the John George Youth Social Justice Award of 2011.

During the 140th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association(APHA) wehad the opportunity to share our learnng outcomes from the participatory action research that culminated in poetry anthology entitled, “Y U Gotta Call it Ghetto”. Not only did I participate in many programs, but I also met so many people who I can call family. I am in contact with many of them on a frequent basis. In 2011 I graduated from High School and the College of Alameda at the age of 17. I was the youngest person to have graduated from college. This also gave me a lot of opportunities in life such as being to transfer to Sacramento State as a junior at the age of 18. During high school many of my friends would always make fun of me because I could never hang out with them. I always had night class or homework to do. Once I graduated everyone could see why I always went to school so much and remained focused. I am only human, so there were times that I wanted to give up, but I had my mom, my dad and my EOYDC mentors and family cheering me on. This all was possible only because of the hard work ethic that was instilled in me from my parents and my EOYDC family. If it weren’t for these people I do not think I would be where I am today. So I thank all of you who have been there for me from the beginning and who have continued to be there for me up until today.

As of today I am currently working full-time as a Leasing Consultant at an apartment near my school and enrolled as a full time student working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology while completing my Nursing pre-requisites in order to apply to nursing schools by the time I complete my Psychology degree. I am working towards both degrees in order to understand children and adolescents inside and outside of their minds and bodies. I am so happy that I took that volunteer position at EOYDC at the age of 12 or else I wouldn’t know what hard work really is and I would not know my passion is to serve youth. So, thank you EOYDC!

I will end with a quote:

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” — Ella Jane (Jazz Vocalist, 1917-1996)

Ella Jane said it best! I know that working with children is my passion; therefore I will never give up.

Julian Purvis

Academy of Art University,Masters in Multimedia Communications

University of Michigan,Bachelors in Screen Arts and Culture

I am a graduate from University of Michigan where I majored in Screen Arts and Culture, from there I come back home where I have started my masters program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco focusing on Multimedia and Communications. I’ve had the honor of being a student first and athlete second at both institutions receiving full athletic scholarships. My track career started much younger but had been enhanced by being a part of the EOYDC family, functioning under Ms. Regina as the head of the center and Curtis Taylor as my coach.

I started with EOYDC as an 8th grader. Curtis Taylor who was my coach at the time introduced me to Ms Regina and Ms. Regina introduced me to what EOYDC is. Shortly after I fell in love with the opportunities offered and what the program puts out, not only for myself but others. This center provides career programming, after school, arts and media to name a few providing and uplifting youth. I got involved by becoming a track mentor for the center.

EOYDC was all about success and I couldn’t be more involved than trying to help my generation and generations to come. EOYDC is also all about leadership. With me wanting to be involved with communications and wanting to be a broadcaster in the near future, you would think I talked a lot. I was the totally opposite. Leadership to me does not always have to say or speak up and be heard. Sometimes it takes a simple example to catch someone’s eye who’s able to understand and follow. Less talk more do! Learning how to be successful by taking control of your own destiny and leading by example are two key points EOYDC has magnified my success today.

Being distant and going off to college and traveling around the world, I manage to stay in touch with my EOYDC family. Still to this day with pursuing my professional career as a track and field athlete, I continue to stay connected with EOYDC through Brother and Sisterhood Across America and powerful women of EOYDC. These are organizations that keep me humble and leveled today. EOYDC, in the past given me a scholarship for my academic achievements and honors and it’s a honor to still continue to be a part of the pathway to college program and seeing how many students are able to go to college and sometimes be the first generation to receive an education under the help of EOYDC. Coming home and being able to see the future amazes me and shows the growth of what EOYDC has produced and will continue to produce. I have made it my duty to stay connected with my community, my EOYDC community. I have managed to network and put in contact with those who are the

face of EOYDC. Ms. Regina has helped me tremendously and I cannot do anything but reciprocate the love back by being a part and giving the same opportunity for others.

In order to be happy, you have to do what you love. As we speak I am living part of my DREAM. Living my dream I have made some sacrifices all are not good and none is bad but learning experiences. I am currently finishing up my master’s degree at the Academy of Art online in order to pursue my track career. I have moved down to Texas where I have been given the opportunity and have made the commitment to be a professional athlete. With my masters program coming to an end, I will be graduating in the of 2014. My future is not based around my activities currently but will shape my future. I plan to become a sports or entertainment commentator by working in television and media. I believe in taking steps to make the big step and right now, I am taking those steps to shaping my future in television media. I live by life through obstacles; you have to be courageous to hurdle over them. Thanks for all the love and support from my family, friends, and EOYDC family.

Kamilah Reed

Dillard University, Psychology

I am currently a junior at Dillard University as a psychology major. On campus I take on various leadership roles; I am a part of an organization by the name of SKIRTS (Sisters Keeping It Real Through Service) which is an organization based on sisterhood and community service as well as, a tutor on campus. In 2015 I will graduate from Dillard University and an education graduate program. Once I receive my master’s I plan on going back to Oakland Ca to teach elementary in a low income community.

I was a little girl coming to the center with my mom who worked as a receptionist and a cooking instructor at the center. Once my mom stopped working at the center I had stop coming for a while. When I became sophomore in high school I heard about an opportunity to work at the SCEP as a youth leader. I attended all the job trainings that helped all the youth prepare for an interview. The job training taught us everything from making a resume and cover letter to dressing the proper way to an interview. My first time applying for the youth leader position, I didn’t get the position. Though I didn’t get the job, I came in everyday of the SCEP program to volunteer. The following year I reapplied to work as a youth leader and I got the job! It was great experience because I was able to meet new people, network, and learn different things. In fact I met a very close friend of mine, Aja Seldon at the center. We both

worked at the EOYDC as youth leaders.

My sophomore year at Dillard University I experienced my first hurricane. The whole school had to evacuate and Aja who attends Clark of Atlanta welcomed me to her home with open arms until I was able to go back to school. Working as a youth leader, it is required to become a PTC (Pathway to College) participant. I’m grateful that it is required because the PTC program helped me out tremendously. I am the first in my family to further my education at a four year so my parents were not aware of the steps it took to prepare me for college. The PTC helped me with everything such as my FAFSA, scholarships, personal statement, and questions my mom would ask regarding college. I was able to attend the Black College Expo with the center where I was accepted on the spot to Dillard University which is Dillard University, my chosen college. Being in the PTC program they encourage me to apply to all the scholarships I was eligible for. Luckily I received several scholarships which helped me out financially at school.

The center taught me many life lessons but ones I feel are most important is to always give back to your community and networking because it’s not what you know but who you know.

Alana Russaw

Alliant International University,Masters of Public Health

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

EOYDC became apart of my life when I was in the 10th grade. I was looking for a sport to keep me fit and a classmate talked me into running track with her and her coaches name was Curtis. To this day some of my best friends were made on that track team. My first experience at EOYDC was transformative, I always wondered what was in there and I was amazed. It was a computer lab, a gym, basketball court and everything else a kid would need. I felt blessed to be training in track and field next to some of the best athletes of my time and they treated me as an equal because we were all products of EOYDC! Everyone brought something to the Center and left their gift there long past their time of training there. For example, the annual crab feed which was always a hit and moneymaker thanks to Patrice and her family. EOYDC allowed me to fall in love with track and start to love school even more. I realized no matter how good in track I was, school was really going to be my saving grace. Every time I pass by the Center, memories pass of my wonderful times there flood over me, and I think of ways I can partner with Ms. Regina now that I am soon to have my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. My goal is to one day open or partner with the EOYDC to offer mental health services to families/children in East Oakland. I also had a mindset to have a place for “one stop shopping” including after-school activities, sports, education, mental health, assessment and anything else our children and families need. The EOYDC allowed me to see who I truly was and I want to give back as much as possible and I have learned how to do by learning from Ms. Regina.

My next journey in life is that I was accepted to an internship placement for my doctorate program at Kern County Department of Behavioral Health in Bakersfield.

Ashaki Scott, University of California at Davis, Environmental Policy and Analysis Planning

I am currently a Junior at Davis majoring in Environmental Policy and Analysis Planning, with an emphasis in City and Regional planning, and minoring in Social and Ethnic Relations. I currently work as a tutor at the Davis Bridge program at Harper Jr. High in Davis, California,

which is sort of a predominantly Latino/a, Chicano/a version of the EOYDC’s homework center.

Throughout the years, the EOYDC has taught me to be involved in up building my community, and whether it be Davis or Oakland, there are young people in my local communities that I believe have the potential to grow up to be great activists for change. From encouraging their peers to pursue their education to fighting against social injustice, I believe that every child has the potential of greatness inside of them, no matter what the system says because my EOYDC family believed in me.

My philosophy for my future endeavors is as follows: I believe that the impact of the environment on individuals in a community has tremendous influence on the behaviors within the community, whether it be good or bad. I believe that we can create sustainable societies by enhancing the standard of living of individuals in our communities by helping to implement and encourage a safe, educated, beautiful, unified and productive environment around us to raise our families. I believe in elevating the level of education that our children receive, which means that ethnic identity development must be a part of children’s curriculums, and STEM courses must receive more attention, especially in poor Oakland schools to advance the next generation. I believe in the develop and advancement of effective programs of human relations which minimize problems of racial, ethnic, sexual, age, handicapped and other forms

of injustice or prejudice. Also, in order to create sustainable societies, we need to provide community development through effective, appropriate action and combat community deterioration through activities designed to improve social and economic opportunities. Much of my philosophy was derived from my involvement and personal development within the EOYDC.

I began my journey with the EOYDC in December of 2009, with an internship at the front office. I did not know much about the EOYDC before I began, but was gladly welcomed. From there, I became a youth leader in the SCEP program in 2010, and was the Science instructor for the SCEP program from summers 2011 to 2013. Ms. Regina encouraged me to pursue the position of Science Instructor as opposed to me choosing to be the Computer instructor, and ever since, I have been pursuing Environmental Science, although i was once an intended Computer-Science major. In addition, in October of 2010, I received the opportunity to take part in the Washington D.C College tour, which was definitely the trip of my high school lifetime. From visiting my first HBCU, to meeting United States Treasurer, Rosie Rios, to visiting the White House, I was able to explore different parts of the country outside of Oakland for once.

During the SCEP program, my ultimate goal was that by the end of each 6-week-curriculum, students will be more knowledgeable about the roles that Science plays in their everyday lives in relative and tangible ways, and apply their new-found knowledge in their own communities to better appreciate the beautiful earth we live in. From eating nutritious foods, to not littering on the streets of Oakland, to building and testing scientific models, I wanted to let the youth know that they can be advocates of change in their community, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to have dreams and aspirations to major in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. In addition to the several years that I was able to be a part of the SCEP program, I have also been helped tremendously through the Pathways to College program, not only financially, but holistically. One of the main things that makes the EOYDC different than other youth development centers is that fact that the EOYDC’s endeavor is to help today’s youth thrive holistically, which includes, but is not limited to, development academically, spiritually, physically and emotionally. This holistic approach grows transformative, effective, and strong leaders who are extremely dedicated, goal-oriented, and selfless, always seeking to better the next generation. My college journey hasn’t always been easy, but no one ever said it would be, and with the support of my EOYDC family, I am still striving towards my Bachelors of Science degree.

No matter where I go in this state, country, or world, Oakland is always going to be my home, and I will continue to take pride in my community and continually educate myself on how to

inspire and instruct others to want to do the same. I am going to be “A Part of the Solution.”

Maya Danielle Spencer

Graduating Class of 2013

Spelman College, Bachelor of Science, Biology

I’ve had the honor of graduating from Spelman College this past May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. During my matriculation at Spelman, I’ve had numerous research experiences and also published an award winning presentation sponsored by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Spelman College Phage Genomic Research Initiative.

As I continue my career goal to become a Registered Nurse with a specialization in anesthesiology, I currently volunteer at Alta Bates Hospital in the surgical care unit to gain more experience in the health field and to also give back to my community. My future plans are to apply my nursing skills not only to help people within the continental United States, but also around the world on medical missions.

It has been an incredible accomplishment to become a graduate of Spelman College. However, I could not have achieved this dream without the outstanding support, love and guidance from my family, friends and community. I am grateful to come from a community with leaders such as Ms. Regina, who reminded me while I was at Spelman that I was there for a reason: to learn, grow and succeed. My connection to EOYDC has been over the years starting from the Yosemite mountaineer trip and recently the Sisterhood Across -America lectures. Undoubtedly, I had my share of trials. However, I enjoy coming to EOYDC and sharing my trials and tribulations with other people to encourage them on their own pathways to college and life goals.

Trinity Wilson

UCLA, Sociology

2010 Youth Olympics (Singapore), Team USA

Hi! My name is Trinity Wilson and I am a sophomore at UCLA. I am a current student and track and field athlete in pursuit of a Sociology degree.

EOYDC has had a huge impact on who I am and the person I present to others. Being apart of a tremendous program that teaches you to continuously give back but also expect to be given back to in return is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned with EOYDC. I’ve given a multitude of my time dedicated to track and field and putting my trust into Curtis Taylor and Regina Jackson and all I was expected to do was to not limit myself and expect excellence from myself. I was not only expected to be an athlete but an individual who had the ability to conduct myself in a way that is respected not only of my peers but of any adult or child who I came into contact with. The point was to leave a lasting impression because you never know when you might need someone who you may not have expected to need before. This I learned from Ms. Regina who taught me that networking is one of our best resources. A resource that can not be achieved without an unforgettable presence and showing others that you’re more than determined to get things done but actually capable of it. Most importantly Curtis Taylor and Ms. Regina have taught me to never feel bigger and better than EOYDC which is a place that’s connected and given me insight on so many avenues in life that I have access to because of the East Oakland Youth Development Center.

Ashlee Wood

Hampton University, Kinesiology

I am Ashlee Wood; I am a junior at Hampton University majoring in Kinesiology. Upon graduation I plan to attend an accelerated nursing to gain a secondary degree in nursing. I have worked at the East Oakland Youth Development Center’s Enrichment Cultural Program (SECP) for two consecutive years (2010 — 2011).

First and foremost, EOYDC and Ms. Regina provided an opportunity and work ethic that I will carry throughout life. SECP instilled discipline in me. I know that every organization requires employees that are punctual and reliable and that do their best at any task provided. During my first at EOYDC I worked with the GED and Pathway to College Program. My second year included working as a Youth Leader for 10 and 11 year olds. Throughout my Junior and senior year of High School, I volunteered on many projects with EOYDC. From neighborhood clean up, working at basketball tournaments to chaperoning youth field trips on numerous occasions.

The most memorable trips was the mountain climbing trip to Yosemite, where we were taught survival skills and the college tour to Washington DC. I was honored to serve as a tour guide when Ms. Regina recently brought two groups of students to Hampton. The experience and skills that I learned through EOYDC are life long. I will cherish what I have learned and give back to my community. I am part of a very unique population. I am a second generation “first job” recipient proud of EOYDC’s 35 year legacy


Kristina Davis

Louisiana State University,Communication Studies

Health Net Federal Services,Government Contracts

My EOYDC journey began in fall of 2001 when I was introduced to Curtis Taylor. At the time I was one of the youngest on the team so being around the older ladies taught me a lot. Being a member of the EOYDC Track and Field team not only taught me discipline but how to remain focus and set goals to achieve them. While running with EOYDC I was able to travel and compete at higher levels to showcase all the hard work that was endured at practice. I have had the honor to be on many track teams but EOYDC was one of my favorites. Everyone was always positive and motivating one another. The training environment was always a pleasant experience for me. I am grateful to have been able to meet such wonderful people.

I consider EOYDC the foundation of how I became the athlete I was. I always knew I had talent but working with Curtis gave me the confidence to know I could line up with anyone and have no doubts that I was going to get the job done. I earned a full ride track and field scholarship to Louisiana State University where I graduated with a B.A in Communication Studies. Even though my dreams of being an Olympian did not come true I am still proud of all my accomplishments.

I still enjoy watching Track and Field and working out. I currently work for Health Net Federal Services in Sacramento doing Government Contracts.

Olivia Dawkins

Securitas Security Services,Account Manager

My journey at EOYDC started almost a decade ago.I learned a lot of things and furthering my career is an all time goal. My EOYDC family and friends encouraged me to do so. I attended Grambling state university majoring in nursing. However, I took some time off after having my daughter Zaniya who is 7 yrs old in age. She has pushed me to return to school. I am now glad to say that next year in may I will be graduating thanks to online courses. Thanks to my daughter and my support system because without the help of them all, I would be somewhere sitting trying to figure out my life. Eoydc has pushed me in so many different directions. Determination had to be the biggest thing for me. I was asked and also challenged to go to Yosemite on the yearly camping trip and boy oh boy, I tell you if it wasn’t for determination I wouldn’t made it through. It was a good experience, I learned to value what I have and sleeping in the woods, digging holes to use the restroom, getting bit up by insects, bathing in the river, eating healthy, and hiking many miles and trails was all a challenge. I did good by crying my way through the week but I did it because I was determined for it to be over with. Most importantly I enjoyed my time with my EOYDC family and I thank Ms.Regina for pushing me the whole way through. Also In my journey at the East Oakland Youth Development center I started off being a homework center after school tutor which was very fundamental. I loved working with the kids. They taught me a lot just as well as I taught them. To this day I am proud to say I was able to help someone there at Eoydc. At a point in their life as I watch them grow today. After being a tutor I thought things out and decided fashion was my area in growing so I started the fashion designing class for the summer program at EOYDC. I am happy that Ms.Regina decided to keep my class going . It makes me proud that I was able to bring something to the kids that they would enjoy doing and I am forever grateful for that. To sum up my journey now, I am a wonderful mother of one that strives for the best and I will not give up. I am a account manager at a high rise building for Securitas Security Services where I devote myself and time. I am a high rise safety director for condominiums and I enjoy what I do and I thank god for EOYDC because that was my 1st job and I’ve never stopped from that day forward. My daughter enjoys EOYDC programming now and I am excited to see her journey.

Chameeta Denton

Saint Mary’s College of California, Master of Arts in Counseling Education


My connection to EOYDC began in 1998. I had the pleasure of running track with Curtis as well as participate in community activities with EOYDC. EOYDC has been an asset in my life because it taught me to be a more responsible, reliable, and respectable young African-American young lady.

After graduating from Berkeley High School one year early I went on to receive my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Shortly thereafter, I attended Saint Mary’s College of California and two years later graduated with a Master’s in Counseling Education in 2010 with a 3.98 GPA. I am extremely devoted and motivated to the advancement of higher education, especially in the African-American community.

After two years of teaching and counseling at the college level I made the decision to move to Houston, Texas in order to pursue a permanent role within a company. Shortly after arriving to Houston, I was offered a career in Doha, Qatar, which is in the Middle East next to Saudi Arabia, as a College Counselor Consultant. I spent 16 months in Qatar and excelled as a counselor and instructor while training, mentoring, teaching and overseeing the development of the first and only community college in the country of Qatar.

I am now back in Houston, Texas. I am currently teaching part-time and working on my own business I plan to have up in running by July 2014. I will never forget what EOYDC has done for me in my development in becoming a well-rounded young lady and giving back to the community. I thank God everyday for my many blessings and hope that He continues to bless the EOYDC organization as well.

Jazmin Noble

East Bay Asian Youth Center (Oakland High School Wellness Center), 9th Grade Coordinator

EOYDC was where I first began my educational journey at the tender age of three years old. I attended and completed their head start program. Not only was EOYDC where I began my educational journey but the organization was my first employer. At the time I was unaware of the divine connection and the blessings that would be bestowed upon me in the near future. The summer of my senior year of High school I became employed. I learned how to be professional, a trailblazer, and more importantly serve the metropolitan area that I’ve resided in my entire life. More importantly EOYDC taught me that I can be an achiever and receive a higher education. Due to the strong ethics of EOYDC there was never a question whether I would attend college just where. Due to that extraordinary expectation, I received my bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University in Ethnic Studies with a concentration in Humanities and Behavioral Sciences. Today, I continue to work in the non-profit youth development sector. I proudly proclaim that EOYDC is the reason why I continue to do this work. According to the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”. I began my first steps with EOYDC and I am endlessly grateful for that experience.


Turshika Bennett

Bishop O’ Dowd High School,Educator, Mentor & Track Coach

I have been blessed to be an integral part of the Bishop O’ Dowd family over the past 12 years as an educator, track coach and mentor. Being an alumna of Bishop O’ Dowd, I had the pleasure of studying and learning a great deal of my track and field knowledge under Curtis Taylor. In 1996 under the tutelage of Curtis Taylor and Tony Green I earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona, later transferring to Oregon State University to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Science in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Communication and Graphic Design.

In 2001, upon my completion of my degree, I returned to the Bay Area and decided to train with Curtis Taylor who had by this time joined Regina Jackson and the EOYDC family. In 2002, I had the pleasure of training with the Track Club and unknowingly leading by example, the skill set and mentality one must posses to be successful in life and on the track. Through my involvement with the Track Club, I had renewed my passion for a sport I loved as a young person and awakened a desire to coach and begin educating young people the following year at Bishop O’ Dowd High School.

Over the course of coaching I found a greater desire to assist our student-athletes to assist in bridging the gap between the field and the classroom and sought and acquired a Master’s Degree in 2012 from Holy Names University in Education with an Emphasis in Curriculum Development. My thesis was based on an Academic Support Program for Student-Athlete’s that was successfully implemented, coordinated and evaluated by myself at Bishop O’ Dowd

I believe through my involvement with EOYDC, I have been provided the an opportunity to explore a desire and excel in assisting young people. I am fortunate and blessed to give back to my community the wisdom and knowledge that I have acquired over my lifetime.

Through a desire, passion, dedication, focus, discipline and perseverance, all things are possible!!!

Ashlee Renee George

Oakland Unified School District,Restorative Justice Coordinator

Afro-Brazilian Dance Teacher

Berkeley Free Clinic, Medic Volunteer

EOYDC has planted seeds of success, resilience and self-expression within me.

As a child at EOYDC, I had the opportunity to explore Oakland as a performer and student chef. EOYDC helped me form the practice of tapping into my creative potential within. This experience empowered me with the ability to share my gifts and talents with the world.

The seeds that were planted long ago were nurtured by highly skilled and caring instructors and leaders. As a young child there, I found an activity, playing the Steel Pan, that made my heart sing. I was able to connect to a part of myself that I hadn’t yet discovered. To this day the steel pans have a special place in my heart. So much so that I am currently studying them again. The melodic rhythms make me feel at home and as though I am experiencing a little piece of heaven within me as I listen and play them.

I will never forget the day that our steel pan band opened for the Oakland Athletics game in the early 1990’s playing the Black National Anthem. I was so proud and honored to be there. In that moment we were all microphoned and the whole stadium had eyes on us. This pinnacle experience of my youth challenged me to harness my nervous energy into a calm, centered performance. In an instant I felt powerful and serene at the same time. I was in the performer’s zone. As I look back, I would have never imagined that one day I would perform at another Major League Baseball Stadium, the San Francisco Giants, as the 2012 San Francisco Queen of Carnaval. Although I discovered dance as a young adult, it has allowed me to connect with my most inner and sacred self. Dance has become one of my mediums of self -expression, passion and joy.

Another important seed that was planted and nurtured: cooking. I learned how to use knives; the art of blending spices; and how to finesse the arrangement of food. I come from a family of great cooks who showed love through food and family meals. Until this day, we still gather around the dinner table sharing and telling stories. These gatherings keep us connected and form fond memories of our love and appreciation for each other. Our overlapping and complex dialogues always seem to have a way of comforting me and soothing my soul. The combination of the skills learned from family and the EOYDC cooking classes taught me to use food as a way to bring folks together in love and community. I did not become a chef, but the skills that I learned are invaluable and serve me every day in the way that I approach loving and and being in communion with others.

Now I cook in a different way. I bring youth together to cook something that is just as soothing to their soul. We cook recipes of peace and love. In Restorative Justice our focus is on building community and addressing harm when it occurs. I teach youth conflict mediation skills to facilitate the process in helping their peers find peace with others who they have conflict with or who have harmed them. When I studied at the University of California, Berkeley, people would always ask, “What can you do with an Ethnic Studies Degree?” At the time I wasn’t sure, but now I know the significance of my studies because it’s what I was ultimately destined to do: Help young people heal from the inside out. It is using radical ways to transform pain into peace, to create a space where youth can learn from their conflicts, and to heal social and emotional wounds.

Another aspect of cooking is service, the gift of offering yourself through food. Part of food preparation is making the meal look beautiful. This allows the mind to accept that this food will be easily digested and nurturing to one’s body. In my care as a Medic, I see the beauty of serving my community in an appetizing way: Free health care! There is no greater joy than giving. Just as with food, we make the healthcare process palatable. Our mission is being client -centered throughout the entire process. In order to be client-centered we explain what we are doing and why are doing it, we take our time, explain each lab we are running, and provide outside resources if we are unable to meet the client’s needs. I believe healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Therefore, I strive to provide as many resources and information so that people feel empowered to make their own informed decisions about their health.

Many seeds were planted and some are still taking root!! Some seeds have begun to bloom while others have just began to bud. My life is a performance life, which ask me to reside in the present moment, in the now. I have the fortune of offering gifts to any and everyone I meet. Most often people think the “Show” is on stage. No, it is now. The “Show” is in every interaction that we have with others and in being our authentic selves. It is realizing that we are all connected; we are all one. I am a Powerful Woman because of Love and my connections to the oneness in All living things.

Bisa Grant

Anchor Engineering, Controller Accountant

My kids are my passion. Maybe it’s the way I was raised. Or the fact that I didn’t have my first child until I was over 30 years old. Or maybe I’m just a nurturing soul who is fulfilled by a child’s spirit. Regardless, these days I am driven by the prospect of my two daughters someday changing the world.

This is exactly what inspires me about Regina Jackson and the EOYDC family. The overall welfare of East Oakland’s inner city children are the priority and have been so for close to half a century. I’ve only been a mom for 5 years, but I comprehend the journey of changing the world through children.

Education, constructive activities, community environment and lots of love and compassion — that’s what I discovered when I first encountered EOYDC 15 years ago. I was one of the two first elite track and field athletes to represent “The Center.” In 2000 I was an All-American USA Track and Field athlete in the 100 meter hurdles, becoming The Center’s first and only Olympic Trials finalist to-date. I competed around the world and unlike most any other athletes at these competitions, I represented the city where I grew up and an organization committed to reclaiming its youth.

Retiring from track and field was a real turning point in my life. I felt that it was time for the person, the athlete, I had been for so long to grow forward. Being inducted into Bishop O’Dowd’s Hall of Fame in 2008 alongside Regina Jackson and Meisha Marzell, was a great way to close that chapter. For the first time in my life things had come full circle.

Life after track and field has been eventful. I completed my Masters degree in business and subsequently consulted with small businesses needing strategic planning, risk mitigation and problem solving services. I succeeded in applying my athletic strengths of discipline and dedication to outperform various competitor consultants to secure unique client contracts.

At the height of the recession, I targeted firms in the stable engineering industry and specialized my services in areas of accounting and finance. Eventually I was recruited to join a growing architectural and engineering client full time.

Today, I oversee all accounting functions of Anchor Engineering, a construction management firm owned and operated by very talented veteran civil engineers. I work very hard everyday, aspiring to learn more, do a better job and bring greater value to my team, company and clients. These are among the things necessary to earn my next level of promotion as VP, Finance and Operations.

As a mom, a businesswoman, a former athlete and a proud supporter of The Center, I will continue to give praise and appreciation for EOYDC, its leaders, its mission for the community and its ongoing desire to share life’s possibilities with our children each and every day.

Fallon Johnson


Rising Entertainment Mogul, Entrepreneur, Coach, Artist Manager, and Mother, Fallon Johnson, does it all. The Oakland native uses every opportunity afforded to her to turn everything she touches into gold. From inspiring and motivating young athletes on the court to creating job opportunities in the urban community, Ms. Johnson understands hard work and that nothing will stop her from attaining every goal that she dreams up. In addition to her business endeavors, Fallon Johnson has a heart of gold. She makes it her duty to give back to her community to reach and teach the youth that will succeed her legacy. In 2000, Ms. Johnson joined East Oakland Youth Development Center as a Youth Advisor, making her mark as a mentor for the inner city youth that were drawn to this safe haven of self-expression and adolescent liberation.

Fallon Johnson graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Kinesiology and hit the ground running. She developed a non-profit Summer Teen Center, using her experience from EOYDC, which operated through Zion Tabernacle Church of God in Christ with the sponsorship she gained from Safeway Corporate, which focused on tutoring, basketball camps, and giving back to the community. This opportunity led her back to the court, serving six years combined at Skyline and Fremont High School as the Junior Varsity Basketball Coach.

Coming from a lineage of entrepreneurs, Fallon’s mother, a successful mortgage broker and business owner, taught and guided her how to create and run a business of her own after overcoming her own hardships. Accordingly, Fallon knew exactly her purpose and made strides to establish her first professional business, Certified Janitorial LLC in 2008; and if that was not already a monumental task in itself, later that year she started Blaqline Entertainment with her business partner Lamar Brown.

In all things, she does give thanks, especially to her mother, noting that she would not have made it this far without her; positioning herself to develop, organize, manage, and produce nothing short of the best. The sky is not the limit and Fallon Johnson continues to break through barriers, paving the way for other women, who understand that this may be a man’s world, but women give it life! She is definitely a force to be reckoned with and it is her goal to become a powerhouse in all industries.

Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu

Artist, Educator

My name is Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu and I am a coloratura soprano, dancer, educator, playwright, music arranger, entrepreneur, wife and mother. I was initially introduced to the EOYDC at the age of seven when I began taking West African dance with Sister Linda. With that class, I had the honor of dancing for Nelson Mandela when he came to Oakland after being released from prison. I continued to take dance classes there until I was 16, and came back to guest teach later on. Additionally, I spent a couple of summers working with the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program.

After graduating from high school, I attended Prairie View A&M University on a Presidential Scholarship and majored in music with a minor in dance. Because my mother always taught me and my twin sister the importance of business ownership, I obtained an MBA in marketing in order to prepare myself to successfully own and operate my own business.

In 2003, my sister and I started Osun 07 Fashions, a women’s apparel manufacturing business. In 2006, we, along with two friends, founded Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble which performs extensively throughout the Bay Area. I began teaching popular music history and choir for Berkeley City College in 2007. While pursuing graduate studies in vocal performance at CSU East Bay, I began researching the pervasiveness of coding in African-American Spirituals. As a result of that research, in 2008 I was recognized as a Negro Spirituals Heritage Keeper by the Friends of Negro Spirituals.

December of 2012 marked the debut performance of a musical theater tribute to the African-American Spiritual and to Harriet Tubman, that I wrote and directed, entitled “Go Tell It! — A Harriet Tubman Christmas Story.” I have had the honor of being awarded grants from the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program for two years running for the production of “Go Tell It!”

Last, September, I feel as though I came full circle when Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble opened our teaching arm, Lyric Performing Arts Academy. Our academy teaches dance, voice instruction, show choir, musical theater, and arts entrepreneurship training to students ages 18 months to adults.

Currently, I teach 2nd grade at Ile Omode school in Oakland. I am also the director of their dance program. I am the Chief Executive Officer of Lyric Performing Arts Academy where I also teach ballet, competition team, musical theater and show choir. Additionally, I lecture in schools, colleges and community organizations on the coding of African American Spirituals. As, I type this, I am preparing for an encore performance of “Go Tell It!” this May at Laney College. In spite of my busy schedule, I make time to spend with my wonderfully supportive husband, Obara Awoyefa, and two beautiful daughters, Saije (8 years old) and Sassafras (2 years old).

For more information about “Go Tell It!” or Lyric Performing Arts Academy, visit us online at: www.gotellit.info, www.lyricperformingartsacademy.com

Tamika West

Golden Gate College Preparatory Academy, Discipline Coordinator

I originally was a member of the 85th Boys & Girls club in Oakland until one day a friend of mine advised me that there was another center down the street that had a big gym and all kinds of activities for the youth as well as employment. Because I loved basketball I wanted to give EOYDC a try and I did. The first day I walked into the center it was exciting there were kids cooking, doing art projects as well as a huge gym. From that day on I did not miss 1 day at EOYDC if it was open I was there. I challenged everyone in basketball and the security in charge even taught me different exercises to give me more physical agility on the basketball court and to take my game to the next level. Everyone at EOYDC genuinely cared about our community and it showed. The first day I met Ms. Regina she corrected me on the use of my language and who would have know that her corrections helped me to express myself without using slang or curse words and I still hear Ms. Regina’s voice correcting me before I attempt to use my own choice of words versus the correct way to use them. Ms. Regina gave me my first job of course supervising the gym, I wasn’t the easiest kid to deal with I was hard headed and a tad bit of a class clown but ms. Regina did not hold that against me. Instead she pushed me towards greatness and saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. Although my mom was killed when I was 7 years old and i was basically a ward of the State Ms. Regina was and still is my Fairy God Mother I ended up being a part a part of a huge family with lots of love. I was able to play on the girls basketball team and I helped bring back a nice championship trophy to EOYDC, everything was going great for me and my huge EOYDC family.

Unfortunately hanging out with the wrong crowd and I eventually separated slowly from EOYDC making some bad decisions and having feelings of regret knowing that I let Ms. Regina down and I knew that she wouldn’t want to deal with me after all of the bad choices that I made especially not graduating high school.

Years later I returned to EOYDC because I had a daughter and I wanted to take advantage of EOYDC’s educational programs because I wanted to get my GED not only for myself but for my daughter. Nervous of what Ms. Regina might think I swallowed my pride and entered into the center for a second time this time as an adult. Everyone remembered me and greeted me as if I never left. Ms. Regina came out of her office and gave me a big hug and said welcome back Tamika! Ms. Regina helped me enroll in the GED program immediately and welcomed my 6 month old daughter to come to class with me because I had no babysitter. Ms. Regina never judged me and has always had my best interest at heart and for that I am thankful. I received my GED 3 months later as well as a couple of computer certifications from Mr. Dwight.

I am now the Discipline coordinator for Golden State College Prep Academy here in Oakland Ca. I help kids that are very similar to me and i am what Ms. Regina was to me to my students. I am grateful for the skills that i learned from EOYDC. I am also the head Girls Varsity Basketball Coach with 1 championship under my belt as a Coach and anytime my team needs to practice or work out Ms. Regina welcomes my team to use the gym when needed. I even send my High School students to apply for youth employment opportunities as well as the many other programs EOYDC has to offer and they absolutely love EOYDC. As defiant and belligerent I was as a teenager Ms. Regina never gave up on me and now I am in a position to do unto others as Ms. Regina and EOYDC has done unto me. The EOYDC legacy will live on through me.

I believe that I was always meant to work with kids because of the full circle I made from working with kids as an adolescent to call center and customer service jobs back around to working with kids as an adult. I am going to continue to work with kids in my East Oakland community and help shape future one kid at a time :-)

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