• Posted on: December 12, 2013

Powerful Women of EOYDC Part II

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This past Spring, I wrote two blogs highlighting the accomplishments of some of our . Out of these blogs was born a series known as The Powerful Women, and Men of EOYDC. These brilliant scholars, emerging leaders, and distinguished professionals epitomize the very principles of character development that steer our work (courtesy of the Josephson Institute); trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

 

BRILLIANT SCHOLARS

Alegra Angelo

University of Miami, Political Science and International Relations

I am a senior at the University of Miami double majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Currently I am working at the Department of Human and Health Services in San Francisco as a public policy intern where I assist the regional director in implementing the Affordable Care Act in California and several neighboring states.  Following my graduation in May 2014 I hope to go on to complete my graduate degree in Public Administration and obtain a job in the public sector in the field of foreign or health policy.

 

My connection to EOYDC began in 2008 when I got a position as a summer youth leader. My experience there taught me one of life’s most important lessons: community. This lesson is one that has stuck with me in both my scholastic and professional endeavors and has taught me the significance of giving back. My experience at EOYDC has played a critical role in my decision to work in public service and I am grateful to both EOYDC and Ms. Regina for its constant support.

Henrissa Bassey

American University College of Law, Juris Doctorate Candidate

 

I have had the pleasure of being involved with EOYDC for the past 3-4 years. During this time, I have been consistently inspired by the hard work persistence and tenacity Regina Jackson has displayed in working to ensure that all young people are empowered and engaged in their communities and understand how to access the right resources to ensure their academic and professional success.

When I met Ms. Jackson, I was in the process of completing a Masters in Public Health (MPH) at UC-Berkeley’s School of Public Health. While the focus of my program was Health and Social Behavior, throughout my education and professional work, I had been very interested in “social determinants” of one’s quality of life and well being. This led me to assisting in the work of LeConte Dill who introduced me to Ms. Jackson and the work of EOYDC.

 

As Ms. Dill wrote her final dissertation, “Routes to Resilience: Mechanisms of Healthy Development in Minority Adolescents from High-Risk Urban Neighborhoods,” she held poetry workshops, where each young person wrote poems centered on themes such as identity and relationship to surroundings. Ultimately, the young people of EOYDC decided to compile these poems into a book and chose their own title, “Y U Gotta Call it Ghetto?” reflecting their relationship with their community as well as an acute awareness of other’s perceptions of East Oakland. I was honored to have the opportunity to co-lead one of these workshops as well as transcribe interviews conducted with young people from EOYDC. I am currently completing my law degree in Washington, D.C. and await the opportunity to collaborate with youth, parents, and families to integrate policy reform and legal advocacy with community engagement, research, and public health training. This fall I will also be teaching courses on constitutional law and juvenile justice in public high schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland as part of a constitutional literacy project designed to ensure young people are informed of their rights and their role in the voting process.

 

The potential for youth success has always and will always be there. It’s whether we tap into our young people’s potential in a thoughtful, culturally conscious, and compassionate way that makes all the difference. EOYDC continues to make a profound difference by tapping into the potential of each young person who walks through their doors and I am so grateful to have been a part of Ms. Jackson’s momentous work.

Domine Ezechukwu

Fisk University, Biology

 

I am currently pursuing my Bachelors of Science degree in Biology at Fisk University, and minoring in Music and Vocal performance. In just a week I am in my sophomore year of college, and have accepted various leadership positions on campus for the upcoming academic year of 2013-2014.

As for work pertaining to my field, I have not yet graced that period in my life, however I am working closely with my professors with research projects on campus to help build my resume for incoming opportunities. I am also a part of mentoring program with medical students at Meharry Medical College, and frequently visit for various research seminars, as well as open lab sessions.

I have been a participant in the EOYDC community for about 11 years now. I began attending the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program at the age of 8, and eventually when I came of age I started working at the center. I have rotated through quite a few positions at EOYDC, but the one that always remained was my job as a youth leader. And even now, as I am a fresh alumni of EOYDC I will still continue to be involved with the place that gave me such a strong foundation in leadership. My most recent involvement with EOYDC has been with the Pathway to College program; I attended the Brotherhood and Sisterhood Across America event and lead one of the various discussion circles.

Candace D. Harris

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Physics Graduate Student

 

I began my years of youth leadership at the center over 12 years ago. Joining a group of peers geared towards establishing success in areas of academia and professionalism among youth, was beneficial to me as well as the summer program participants. In my roles and experiences as a youth leader for two summers of my high school years I have gained mentoring relationships and anchored myself in enriching African-Americans to pursue a higher education. In a addition to this, my younger sister has also had the opportunity of becoming a youth leader at the center, where in her youthful days should would accompany me in the summer program as a participant.

 

During my matriculation at Spelman College, I was a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and President of the Society of Physics Students chapter. As an African-American woman attending an all black women institution, I have realized that there are many scientific fields in which African-American women are underrepresented. One of my contributions to the community as a physics graduate student at UMass Amherst is to influence and encourage underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the scientific and technical fields. My representation in physics academia will further edify the social change that can take place. No race should be expelled from fully understanding the scientific and technological advancements happening on our planet. Currently, I am mentoring incoming graduate students in the STEM fields and progressing in my doctoral research in experimental nuclear physics. I am also a fellow recipient of the Northeast Alliance Graduate Education for the Professoriate, a fellowship that seeks to increase the amount of underrepresented groups in the graduate STEM programs. My future plans are to conduct research for the National Nuclear Security Administration in nonproliferation programs such as the monitoring of nuclear reactors and the nuclear weapon stewardship.

Lanikque Howard

University of Wisconsin-Madison, MSW/PhD Student, School of Social Work

Dane County Department of Human Services

 

My name is Lanikque Howard, “Neka” for short and my EOYDC journey began almost a decade ago. As a youth leader I was stretched, molded and challenged in ways I never imagined. I had many firsts at EOYDC, starting with my first sleepover. I was so uncomfortable sleeping away from home that I wanted to quit my position as a Youth Leader and go home. I actually verbally voiced that decision, but I was told I was not allowed to quit. However, it was not until it was time to go to bed and I was surrounded by dozens of participants (who had given me their favorite barbie dolls, stuffed animals and blankets) that I realized why I could never quit anything.

 

EOYDC is home for hundreds of Oakland’s youth and its staff and participants are like family to each other. When I struggled at the sleepover, everyone stood by my side and helped me through it, because families share in both your pain and joy. Therefore, my achievements are never really my own, instead they are the successes of my family, friends and community. It is because of this, I persevered and embarked upon a journey of many first and EOYDC was there to catch (or push me through, depending on the situation) them all. I had my first public speech (introducing President Barack Obama’s sister Maya Sotero-Ng, nonetheless); I developed and taught my first computer, life skills and cooking classes; I attended my first mountain climbing trip (something I will never do again, but I did it!); and my and EOYDC’s first college tour.

 

My EOYDC firsts taught me a great deal about courage, strength, dedication, character, integrity and triumphs. At 8200 International Blvd, I was told that I could, I saw that I could and after that there was nothing that could hold me back. When I was worried about getting into a good school, I applied to 26, got into 24 and settled on the number 1 public institution in the world, the University of California, Berkeley. When I was worried about paying for college, which was a reality for me because I come from a low-income single-parent household, I applied to 107 scholarships because I could not rest until I knew I would be able to go to college. Apparently, neither could the staff at EOYDC because I was often woken up in the middle of the night and in the early morning by Ms. Regina and Ms. Anana, informing me about another scholarship or making sure I had completed a different one. After earning 17 scholarships, including two of Berkeley’s most prestige awards, I was able to enter my freshman year without a financial burden hovering over me.

While I was very proud of my achievements, my greatest satisfaction came from sharing my accomplishments and experiences with others. I cannot begin to express how happy I was when the EOYDC college tour came to NYC while I was there completing a domestic exchange program at the New York University. The “kids” who slept next to me during my first sleepover and who were students in my cooking classes during summer program, were all grown up and looking at colleges. And like any older sister, I spent my time showing them around the NYU campus, sharing my college stories and looking over their personal statements. The opportunity to share my lessons learned and be a part of the “cheerleading” team for those who came behind wasn’t just nice, it was MY responsibility.

 

At EOYDC, I was always encouraged and challenged to think outside the box, to dream as big as I could. And the only way to pay back a program that invested their all in me, was to do just that. I created the first ever NYC-UC Berkeley exchange program, I traveled abroad and studied at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. That same little girl who cried during her first sleepover, spent 8 months traveling to 12 countries and 23 cities. Today, I am a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison studying social welfare in hopes of creating strategies to help cure many of the societal ills that have afflicted my friends, family and continue to adversely impact my Oakland community.

 

I am certain, that my goal to be the most excellent person I can be is in part due to the tremendous expectation and support EOYDC has given since the day I walked through their doors. In fact, US Treasurer, Rosie Rios, helped me select my PhD program during a woman’s reception that I attended as a guest of EOYDC. That’s right, the exposure that EOYDC provides is no joke! EOYDC is part of my past, it lives with me in my present and it informs my future. The staff, participants and youth leaders I have met along the way are my family. My success is their success, and I intend to continue to pay it forward.

Ke’Nyia Richardson

University of California Los Angeles, Sociology

 

I am a graduate of UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology, and on my way to becoming a Registered Nurse and finally a Nurse Practitioner. While I haven’t taken the easiest path to my goals, I owe a lot of my career choices and decisions for advancement to Curtis Taylor and Ms. Regina. They have helped guide me every step of the way. Through Track & Field, and EOYDC, I have been able to travel the world, get into excellent universities, and to represent our community to the best of my ability. Curtis has helped me become a State Champion multiple years, a National Record Holder in the Triple Jump, and a driven individual in any and every aspect of my life.

 

I have embraced the role of leadership on my teams both in athletics as well as academics and Ms. Regina has never let me forget to do the same in our community. When back in Oakland I have worked with the Pathway to College scholarship program as well as the GED Program at EOYDC. I could not be happier with the overall experience I have gotten out of EOYDC and I continue to be excited about the impact I continue to have on our youth.

Adrienne Seibert

St. Edwards University, Forensic Science

 

I joined EOYDC in the summer of 2010 as a youth leader. Towards the end of my freshman year, I was looking for a summer job and mom had done some research and through connections she heard that EOYDC was looking for summer youth leaders. Since then, every following summer and school year, I have came back to EOYDC to work and volunteer. In my senior year of high school I became the youth computer instructor. This position really taught me how to be accountable, work well with others and most of all – exercise patience. EOYDC has been a milestone in my life because it has equipped me with a working experience, strengthened my character, and shown me support in all that I do. I learned how to be a strong leader, and that my actions matter.

 

The reason why I love to come back to EOYDC is because of what the organization is trying to do to the community. It wants to see others succeed and give back to their communities. I hope one day, I am able to give back to my community like others have done for me. I have recently graduated from Bishop O Dowd High School currently live in Austin, Texas where I study forensic science at St. Edwards University. My goal is to one day run a criminal lab and learn what it truly means to be a forensic scientist.

Aja Seldon

Clark Atlanta University, Mass Communications

 

I attend Clark Atlanta University where I am a Mass Communications major with a concentration in TV/Film.I’ve been working tirelessly on my campus serving as morning Anchor for CAU TV’s News Break. I also serve as a production assistant for a student run sports production “For the Pressbox.”

 

This past November I was honored with the chance to serve as a production assistant for an independent film titled “First Impressions.” The film stars Laman Rucker (Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married) and Lisa Arrindell Anderson (Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family reunion). I spent this past December and January abroad with a Semester at Sea program where I got to visit 10 countries in South America.

 

As of now I’m currently in the process of producing my own show “Tea Time with Aja,” which I serve as talent for as well.The promo video will be unveiled soon. It is with great pleasure to announce that I was selected by veteran journalist Jacque Reid to participate in her summer internship program, which takes place in New York. I am overjoyed to write I will have attained my Bachelors of Arts degree by December 2013. A semester early. It doesn’t stop there though, in January I will be studying film and theater arts in India!!!

 

My role as a mentor for Brotherhood Across America is critical to me. I see so many EOYDC students coming to HBCU’s in Atlanta and I try to help them with homesickness, student life balance and just being that “big sister” they never had. When when we come together at EOYDC it’s a homecoming where I can reconnect with all my friends, my expanding family and we celebrate and challenge ourselves in a safe, success focused place.

 

Thanks so much Ms. Regina & the EOYDC family! You all were a major contribution to my success and sowing a seed in my future! Now we get to watch the seed grow… together. I will forever be grateful and I include EOYDC in everything I do. It’s all about “leaving a legacy” I learned that in SCEP orientation from Ms. Jackie and it’s never left me!

Amber Simmons

University of California, Davis, Psychology and Sociology

 

Hello! My name is Amber Simmons. I am a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis. I majored in Psychology and Sociology with a emphasis in Law and Society. Upon graduation, I decided to take a year off where I will be involved in many internships to build up my experience. I will then apply to graduate schools to obtain a Masters in Social Work.

 

At UC Davis, I worked at Unitrans which is a student-run transportation service. At Unitrans I was a bus driver (yes, I drove city transit buses) who drove students to and from campus. In addition, I interned with the ACT program. This program works with foster care children. We used theater therapy as a way for the children to express their emotions.

 

My last visit to EOYDC was very eventful. I was one of the youth leaders in the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Across America event. During this event, I along with other group leaders, gave advice to young women in middle school and high school. In particular, I gave advice in academic preparation which involved deadlines, time management, developing a personal network and money management. This event was very fulfilling since I enjoy sharing the knowledge I have obtained through my college experience with others. It was always a treat to share my campus with PTC students when they visited during the Bay Area College Tours. Even though Davis in geographically not that far away, it feels great to have a piece of home visit when the students arrived. In addition, the environment at UC Davis is very different from Oakland and I do my best to make sure that EOYDC students can see themselves on campus. There were four of us on campus during my senior year, and we were – and still are – a great support to each other!

Jasmine Williams

California State University East Bay, Theater Arts/ Communication Major

 

I am currently at CSUEB where I am chasing my dreams of being on the stage. I have always loved acting and college is where I have been able to flourish in my craft. I hope to continue my education after undergrad by going to the East Coast in hope of continuing to make my dream into my career.

 

When I first came to EOYDC I was a teenager with no job experience. After one summer I was trained and taught job skills I use today like: making a resume’, always giving a firm handshake with eye contact, and most importantly how to be a leader.

 

I have been with the center for 6 years now, I always say once you’re a part of the center you never get out, and that is so important to me because I know I always have a place to call home. I have participated in many of EOYDC’s programs from the summer cultural enrichment program where I was able to be promoted from a youth leader to assistant director of the program, to Big City Mountaineers where we were challenged as leaders on a hike where we went 10 thousand feet and beyond. Amongst the programs I also had the privilege of going on numerous of excursions such as college tours, leading college tours, attending Brotherhood Across America where we alumni youth leaders are able to come back and talk to the students about our college experience, and more.

 

The center is like the 3 r’s of recycling, they reduce the number of kids on the street by training them with skills to have job stability, then re-use them to help encourage our future leaders, and then recycle them by keeping us involved and informed about the new things happening with the center so we will give back to a place that never threw us away.

Acacia Woods-Chan

University of San Francisco, International and Multicultural Education, Human Rights Education Concentration

 

Through my experiences locally and internationally, I am coming to a space in my personal, educational and career endeavors where all of my interests are beginning to align… finally! As a 2nd year graduate student at the University of San Francisco, I have the opportunity to realize the many ambitions I dreamt of as a child. Currently I am studying International and Multicultural Education with a Concentration in Human Rights Education, a program that allows me to engage in my personal passion for language and culture education, which incorporates my own search for personal and cultural understanding. Through my program, I will be traveling to the Ecuadorian Amazon this summer to commune with an indigenous group whose traditional culture is severely being threatened by the prospect of natural resource extraction for commercial gain. I will be staying in the tribe’s village and helping to create a culturally-relevant English curriculum to help empower the community to have their own voice heard, locally and internationally, with the goal of land and culture preservation.

 

With local experiences in Santa Cruz, Oakland and Northern California, I have gained a working understanding of what community development looks like. Having worked nationally as an intern for the United Nations Development Program in Washington DC, I have witnessed the legal and political processes that support entire communities. Having traveled to international locations spanning Latin America, southeast Asia and hoping to continue discovering my own roots in Africa, I am beginning to understand the complex realities, but more importantly, the interconnectedness of all peoples.

 

In the upcoming years I look forward to continuing my pursuit of language and culture education in all areas of my life. Professionally I plan to support similar journeys abroad for urban youth through travel scholarships and pre-departure education in the basics of language skills and cultural awareness of their international destination. EOYDC has been instrumental in my understanding of connectedness and community development. I am continuing to remain engaged in the capacity I am able and would like to extend the possibilities together in the near future.

EMERGING LEADERS

Jicara Collins

Contra Costa County Health Services, Health Education Specialist

 

On this journey called “life” I have been blessed with many experiences that have helped shape the woman I am continually becoming. I have had the opportunity to establish various life long relationships, many of which stemmed from East Oakland Youth Development Center. I began going to EOYDC when I was a freshmen in high school. Shortly after graduating high school I became employed as a Youth Leader with the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program and over the next several years I would go on to hold more than a few positions with EOYDC including Creative Writing Instructor and Homework Center Coordinator. I have been told that I was a natural born leader; EOYDC gave me a platform to further cultivate that quality.

 

For the past 8 years I have worked for Contra Costa County Health Services as a Health Education Specialist. I began as an Admin Intern presenting different health and social justice topics in the classroom to at risk youth. I also to this day, teach in Juvenile Hall during the summer. My work has since shifted in a clinical direction and I now work in several high schools providing clinic services (we have 6 Mobile Health Vans that travel to different schools throughout Contra Costa County). I have found that my passion is in helping at risk youth beat the odds in whatever capacity that might be.

 

Although, I love what I do I have not found my dream career. I plan to return back to school to obtain a Nursing Degree and my Masters in either Public Health or Social Work. I have not had a chance to do any recent work with EOYDC. Nonetheless, EOYDC will always be my home.

Darneisha Johnson

San Leandro Unified School District, Campus Supervisor

 

EOYDC has definitely helped mold me into the woman I am today. I recently received my BA in Sociology from California State University East Bay, in December 2012. Although my educational career has had a few twists and turns I am happy to say I am not done yet. I recently applied to Cal State East Bay’s Master’s of Social Work program. It is my goal to complete my final steps of my educational journey. It is because of the special training I received at EOYDC, and its intense meaning of youth development, that I developed my love for helping at-risk youth recognize their potential – no matter their current situation.

 

I work as a Campus Supervisor with the San Leandro Unified School District. I work with teenagers on a day to day basis helping to improve their outlook and help them envision their life beyond High school. My goal is to become a Social Worker, focusing on our African American and Latino youth’s future success.

 

In my personal life I am married to a wonderful loving man who has helped push me to achieve my goals. I have also been blessed to be the mother of two beautiful children. What drives me to work so hard in life is to be able to give my children a platform on they will feel their dreams are possible with dedication and hard work.

Andrea Kincaid

Insurance Industry Professional

 

I started running track for EOYDC, under Curtis Taylor when I was only 15 years old. EOYDC opened many doors for us young track stars. I remember EOYDC would have SAT prep classes for us every week, to prepare us to take the test. It wasn’t all about just track, because EOYDC drilled it into us that our education was just as important, if not more important than being a successful athlete. Ms. Regina would always be at the center whenever our track team was there and she always made sure to come and give us all hugs and show that she supported us all and really cared about our success. It really helps to become a successful person, when you have so many positive people in your corner, who really show that they genuinely care about you and want you to go far and succeed in life and actually help you along the way.

 

I earned a track scholarship to California State University, Northridge, where I graduated with a B.A. degree in communication studies. I am now currently working in a great career in the insurance industry, where I’ve been working for the past 8 years. In my free time, I still love working out and staying in shape. I’ve competed in some fitness competitions since after graduating from college as well. Fitness and healthy living is now a huge part of my life. I think I owe that to the fact that I was an athlete and know the definition of hard work! All of my life experiences and great journeys along the way, I think I owe some of that to EOYDC for helping to pave a way for us young kids and teaching us that yes, athletics is important and fun, but your education is far more important! So, with that being said, thank you so much, EOYDC!

Kehinde Kujichagulia-Seitu

Grace and Mercy Ministries, Minister

Stopping Our Silence, Founder

 

From 1986 to 1996 I attended the EOYDC every Tuesday, Thursday, and some Saturday’s taking dance from Sister Linda Johnson. Later on, during the summers of 2000, 2001, and 2002, I worked as a program coordinator and assistant director for the EOYDC’s Summer Cultural Enrichment Program or SCEP. The 10 years I spent dancing at the EOYDC was my foundation for a big part of who I am today. I am a dance instructor. I teach Ballet, Tap, West African, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Mommy and Me, Musical Theater, Lyrical, Stepping, Tumbling, and Liturgical/Praise Dance. I teach in studios throughout the Bay Area, and all of my students have parents who can afford to pay for them to take several dance classes a week, in addition to other activities. That was not true for my family when I was growing up. I was extremely blessed to be able to take 2-3 dance classes a week completely free of charge, for 10 years straight, only because I took them at the EOYDC. Thus, when people ask where I studied, I proudly say that I began at the East Oakland Youth Development Center.

 

In college I went on to study theatre and dance, receiving my B.A. in theatre arts from CSU East Bay. During my college years however, I was raped several times, in many abusive relationships, and lost 3 babies. Due to this I struggled with depression, suicide attempts, numerous major illnesses requiring hospitalization, and was told I was pre cancerous at the age of 25. I had to get my life together. I began to go to therapy, church, kick all the abusers to the curb, and take charge of my life. In 2010 my daughter Xion and I were baptized together, and I began an organization named Stopping Our Silence.

 

This past February, I became an ordained minister and began a ministry called Grace and Mercy Ministries. Both SOS and GMM are geared towards healing survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Because I am a survivor, I am a peer and support group counselor, as well as a motivational speaker for fellow survivors.

Rosa Magaña

Marian College, Office Assistant

Emerson Middle School, After-School Counselor

 

At Emerson Middle School in Los Angeles, I help students increase their confidence in their athletic and academic abilities. It is rewarding to see the positive impact I can have on a student and I have enjoyed the relationships I have built with them. In the mornings, I work at a nursing school. The hard-working, tenacious students there have inspired me to go back to school.

 

I graduated from UCLA in 2011 with a BA in Art and a BA in International Development Studies. Since then, I have been thinking long and hard about which career path I want to pursue. I’ve always liked doing many things and struggle to focus all my efforts on one thing. These last two years have helped me choose a career path. This fall I will be taking prerequisite courses for Vet School.

 

The impact EOYDC, Coach Curtis, and Ms. Regina made on me in high school will be everlasting. I am grateful that I was able to interact with such wonderful people almost every single day for three years as a part of the EOYDC Track Club. I have stayed in touch with them and will continue to do so for the rest of my life because not only have I gained valuable experiences and lessons from EOYDC, but I have gained valuable mentors and friends as well. In the future my plan is to give back to EOYDC ten-fold what they have provided me. I don’t know exactly in which way, shape or form, but it is imperative that I do so. My most recent experience with EOYDC was donating artwork to their Something For Everyone event. I look forward to other opportunities to help EOYDC, their staff, and their students.

Talita Oseguera

Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay, Program Director

 

I was introduced to EOYDC when I was a junior in high school. I participated in the track club program. My experience was more than training and racing. I was exposed to several people who had genuine hearts! I can not thank Curtis Taylor and Miss Regina enough.  To this day, I am continually encouraged by each of them. They have never stopped leading by example. They have determination, dreams, discipline, commitment, and so much more. They have high expectations for themselves and the people around them. And for that, I am thankful.

 

For nearly the last six years since college, I have been program director for Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay in Berkeley, a non-profit adult day healthcare program for persons  living with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia. I  am married, have a three year old daughter, and this summer, I completed the prerequisites to apply for a masters entry program in nursing. My dream is to become a registered nurse and nurse practitioner.

 

Honestly I need to step up my involvement with EOYDC. I think too often it’s easy to not make time. So, I would love to do a presentation to our EOYDC youth (and their families) about Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. I would also be interested in leading a monthly support group for youth who have a family-member with cognitive impairment.

Lake Raymond

Oakland Unified School District, VISTA, After School and Summer Learning Programs

Family, School & Community Partnerships

 

I was first introduced to the engaging EOYDC community through a cooking class my mother persuaded me to attend. Because I had recently turned vegetarian and she thought it was time for me to learn how to cook my own food. I remember the first day of class we learned how to prepare vegetables so that they would not only cook properly, but also look presentable on a plate. I distinctly remember I was taught to julienne a carrot, and since that class my passion and appreciation for cooking has grown into one of my most prominent hobbies. Although I am no longer vegetarian every time I julienne a carrot I remember my days at EOYDC.

 

I am a graduate from University of California, Davis with two degrees; one in American History, and the other in Psychology. I currently work for Oakland Unified School District in the After School Programs office. Through my work I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with the EOYDC family and leverage the expertise of their after school programming as they partner with the district to bring high quality programming into the schools.

 

While I enjoy the work that I do, I aspire to be a middle school social science teacher. Similar to EOYDC’s Theory of Change, I believe that all young people have something positive to offer but it is the responsibility of teachers to help students identify it within themselves. I want to become a teacher so that I may inspire Oakland’s youth to recognize the unbelievable influence they can have in their communities once they begin to value their education. I am currently waiting to hear back from two credential programs that I applied for to start teaching this autumn. Wish me luck!

Jessica Reed

Chili’s, Inc., Management Professional

 

Who would have ever known that a Raider’s halftime practice performance would have impacted my life the way it did. My childhood best friend, Janiece Clark, was a Youth Leader at the EOYDC and wanted to introduce me to the organization by having me attend a their annual half time performance practice.

 

Prior to the practice, I had never heard of the EOYDC, and quickly realized that I had been living under a rock. The next year I applied to be a Youth Leader and was honored with the opportunity to lead today’s youth.

 

There was never a day that I took the center for granted. The work both challenged and empowered me. I was later promoted to Assistant Director and then Director the next year. The East Oakland Youth Development Center made me into the woman I have become today.

 

I participated in Pathway to College’s very first College Tour to DC and New York. It started out as attendance at Martin Luther King III’s National Conference on Poverty in America. While there I met Senator Kemp, Comedian Dick Gregory among others and learned that my voice had power. EOYDC had a partnership with Rainbow Push PUSH Excel’s Historically Black College and University Tour. I volunteered as a blogger for the tour ended up finding the college of my dreams.

 

During EOYDC’s Brotherhood /Sisterhood Across America, I found myself sharing my lessons learned preparing for and persisting through college. I confidently shared my own failings around college campus engagement because I knew it would help inform those coming up behind me. That’s what we do at EOYDC, look out for each other! I also received feedback from college graduates to assist me in my next steps.

 

I am a recent graduate of Hampton University with a BS in Business Management. If it wasn’t for the Center, and their dedication in making all their youth succeed, there is no telling where I would currently be. Currently I am living in the Washington DC/Maryland area working in Management for the Chili’s franchise. There is no way that I can pay back Regina Jackson and the East Oakland Development Center for every opportunity they have given to me. I am forever grateful.

Jestynn Tatum

Head Royce, Sous Chef

 

I am 26 now and currently in the midst of living my culinary dream. I finished culinary school in 2008. Currently I work at Head Royce School in Oakland, CA, recently was promoted to Sous Chef. I am learning so much daily in this field and my passion for it grows daily. Along with cooking for students and staff at Head Royce I am also trying to build my catering business. It brings me great joy to know that I can bring such happiness to people through the food I cook. Though I was never directly involved in EOYDC, Ms. Regina always presented me with opportunities to give back to those younger than me usually by speaking about my journey of getting into high school, throughout high school. I appreciate the opportunity to help and inform others as well as to help better my public speaking. Even with the smallest participation in EOYDC it still had a major impact on me.

Patrice Wakeley

EOYDC, Pathway to College Coordinator

 

My passion for working with young people began at EOYDC. Since my time there, I have worked in positions that have allowed me to support young people in reaching their goals. I’ve held positions for youth focused organizations in capacities ranging from managing programs to building playgrounds and providing counseling services.

 

Every child deserves a shot and I strive to do my part to make that happen. In many ways, EOYDC gave me my shot. It provided me with numerous professional firsts; my first interview, my first job, my first time managing staff, my first time developing and running programs, and my first experience writing grants. Without these experiences at EOYDC, I would not be the professional I am today.

 

In December of 2012, I graduated with an MA in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University and recently, I returned to EOYDC as the Pathway to College Coordinator. Every day I draw upon the lessons and knowledge I have – and continue to – gain from my experience at EOYDC. Thank you for providing a place that allowed me to grow personally and professionally in a supportive, learning environment.

Jenee Williams

Genenech, Inc., Planning Lead, Quality and Compliance

 

I have recently graduated from Golden Gate University, earning M.B.A. with an emphasis in management. Post graduation, I intend to utilize the skills acquired throughout this program to enhance my career path at Genentech, Inc. Additionally, I am striving to enhance the L.Y.F.E (Living Your Full Expectation –  Young Adult) Ministry, through my leadership at The Allen Temple Baptist Church, as the Chair Person.

 

As a seven year member of the Genentech, Inc. family, I am currently working to address the general compliance and quality concerns of the integrated customer service center, and the affiliated vendors. While my undergraduate studies were completed at Hampton University, as a Scripps Howard Journalism and Communications major, with an emphasis in advertising, my life journey has blessed me to this awesome opportunity.

 

While I was not enrolled in EOYDC as a continuous participant, I still attribute a portion of my growth and development to EOYDC. During my childhood I spent many hours on EOYDC campus with my mother, who was a member of the board. I 110% admire this incredible organization and the dynamic leadership of Ms. Regina, and other dedicated team members. This amazing group of individuals have committed themselves to a life of service, and influential leadership and are doing so with grace and perseverance.

 

I look forward to engaging with EOYDC as a volunteer and co-laborer in serving our future leaders.

Tory Wilson

Marietta RYDC | Georgia Preparatory Academy, Professional Education Worker

 

East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) is very much a second home to me and has definitely been the foundation of me being an empowered woman with purpose. At a very young age I knew that the Center was a place to be able to show your skills of leadership, team building, involvement and more. The warmth of those helping you succeed and providing the tools to develop your personal goals  throughout the stages of your life is such a joy. Growing up in the program and then becoming a Youth Leader was a rewarding experience, because I got to give back and impact others along the way. Still to this day it is humbling to say that EOYDC was one of my first jobs. I am so proud to see the Center’s accomplishments and growth in every way.

 

I received my Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, spring of 2010.  I now reside in Atlanta Georgia working as a Professional Education Worker at Marietta RYDC, Georgia Preparatory Academy. This career gives me a chance to work with youth who are incarcerated and help them through their next stage in life whether it is to college or obtaining their GED, which I love.

Deidre Wright

State Farm Insurance, Underwriting Service Assistant

I have been involved with EOYDC since the age of four. I participated in a range of programs including, the Home Alone Cooking Class, the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program (SCEP), West African Dance, Computer Class and many more. As I matured, I was given the opportunity to acquire leadership skills through EOYDC as a Homework Center Tutor, Front Office Volunteer and SCEP Youth Leader.

In December 2010, I received my B.A. from Spelman College in Sociology & Anthropology. While in college, I interned for Kaiser Permanente for three consecutive summers and upon graduation was offered a Research Assistant position on a NIH funded breast cancer study that investigated factors that contribute to early puberty amongst girls. Additionally, I gained professional marketing communications experience at Piedmont Avenue Consulting and McKesson Technology. Most recently, I started a promising career in insurance, serving as an Underwriting Service Assistant at State Farm.

Recently as an alumna, I facilitated discussions at Brotherhood Across America events. I also served as the alumnae voice at EOYDC’s first funder forum, which unveiled the strategic and master plans for 2012-2015. Currently, I mentor EOYDC students who have relocated to the Atlanta area for college. In January 2012, I married my college sweetheart and on our first wedding anniversary we celebrated the birth of our son. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling.

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSIONALS

 

Folasade Scott

Redeeming the Time and FuegoFola, Founder and Director

 

The East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) has been to me a model and experience of a solid, family-centered community and support system. It is not only a place of development, but of restoration, as it is in the heart of East Oakland, an area where the homicide and crime rate has been high and so many people are broken and feel hopeless. So many children, youth, and adults have never had a secure home environment filled with love, encouragement and discipline. That is what EOYDC is… from the security workers to the teachers, to the volunteers, to the executive director-who models good parental servant-leadership. It is a model of a family-centered support system. Family is where human foundation begins and identities are formed. Healthy families enable the birthing, development, and maintenance of healthy communities. This all begins with healthy individuals. This is what EOYDC fosters and advocates -the restoration, development, and maintaining of healthy individuals, families, and communities.

 

I had not been a part of EOYDC as a youth, though I knew of the center from that time. I was a student at Laney College, about 23 years old, when I had my first up-close-and-personal experience. Referred by my mother who is an employee there, I had come do community service to work off a ticket and soon became a temporary employee. During my time there I experienced my next level of professional and character development. I was stretched and challenged in various ways, which I do not regret, though sometimes those challenges were intimidating. I had the opportunity to meet and work alongside of professionals in fields such as television, sports, arts and entertainment, business, education, and more. I also began learning the behind-the-scenes operations of a successful non-profit business. Beyond this, the environment encouraged to pursue my career and life purpose as a holistic educator and counselor; the very classes and programs that are offered, such as GED, healthy cooking, art, job skills, and fitness all spell “holistic development” to me!

 

For approximately ten years I have been connected with EOYDC. While a student at Laney College and then the University of California, Berkeley I was given the opportunity to participate in the Pathway to College Scholarship Program and received awards twice. I have traveled several times to Jamaica (lived there for a year), Haiti, and about the United States speaking and facilitating workshops on various topics. My written works and radio features have reached outside of the US such as Jamaica, parts of Africa, Canada, and the Middle East. Since my focus is healing and development of the whole person, my topics are endless; they span from addressing heart and relationship issues (i.e. Anger, Fear, Forgiveness, etc.), to expressing authentic identity, to healthy food preparation, to stress relief through the arts and massage therapy. My words and service provoke critical and higher thinking, always teaching through my own life experience and demonstrating my dedication to walk with others through their process.

 

As the founder and director of two businesses (Redeeming the Time and FuegoFola), including a nonprofit organization (Violent Faith Ministries International Inc.), I am so grateful to have EOYDC a community support system. I am happy to be called part of the family and available to serve with EOYDC in their necessary mission to restore and develop lives. It is my prayer that God blesses this organization expand exponentially and to be a greatly sought after model of a “family-centered community center” world-wide. Amen (so be it).

 

I have been continuing to work in healing and life development support, currently in Winston-Salem, NC for some apprentice work and then back to Atlanta where I will be going to Georgia State University for grad school. There is a concurrent MS/PhD degree in Educational Psychology. I have been desiring to obtain this opportunity and these degrees for a long time. I can taste the experience and look forward to the expansion and ability to serve more by way of what I will gain from the experience

Kathy Wood

State of California, Assistant Human Resources Manager

 

My East Oakland Youth Development experience began during the Summer of 1981.  I participated in the Project Joy Program, a job preparatory summer course led by a gentleman named Richard Lundy.  Project Joy focused on youth participants  being responsible, dedicated and loyal to employers.  We wrote resumes, performed mock interviews and sharpened job skills.  Additionally, we wrote business plans for those that were considering starting their own businesses.

 

At the conclusion of the training several local employers provided opportunities to interview for job vacancies.  I interviewed with Grand Avenue Van & Storage and agent for the parent company United Van Lines, Inc..  After one interview with the General Manager, Mr. T.C. Jefferson I was hired.  At the time, I did not realize that I would start a job with this company as a secretary and remain with this employer part-time through my Senior Year of High School as well as through college.  By the time I completed my degree, I was promoted to Office Manager.  I owe this fortunate experience to the knowledge, skills and abilities that I received at East Oakland Youth Development Center.

 

My career has advanced on many levels due to the work ethic that was instilled in me through Project Joy, Mr. Lundy and Mr. Jefferson.  For the past twenty years I have been employed by the State of California and I am currently an Assistant Human Resources Manager.  EOYDC has provided my daughter Ashlee the same opportunities bestowed upon me at East Oakland Youth Development Center.  Ashlee worked as an Office Assistant and a Youth Counselor for two consecutive summers at EOYDC.  Ashlee also participated in the Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) tour with EOYDC and is now a Junior majoring in Kinesiology at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.

 

Thank you for allowing me to share our success stories with you.  We are truly grateful to God as well as the mission and focus of EOYDC on the East Oakland Community.

 

*****

 

These powerful women of EOYDC inspire me, among many others. They are committed to excellence in their studies, careers, and communities. It is through these amazing individuals, that EOYDC’s servant leadership principles are realized. I thank each and every one of you ladies for all that you do!

 

Regina Jackson,

 

President & CEO

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