• Posted on: May 28, 2013

Powerful Men of EOYDC

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(photo credits: JASON REED / REUTERS)

As I sat in the rain with thousands of guests, I knew that the 120th Commencement Of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA would be a decidedly more rich experience than ever before. Rich because more than 400 of the total 500+ graduates would participate in the ceremonies, more rich because a new college President, Dr. John S. Wilson, Jr., had come to town promising change and most rich because the President of the United States was to serve as commencement speaker.

To see all of these black males doing something that Only 16% Nationwide have accomplished thus far is mission critical. I reflect on the EOYDC’s 3 Morehouse grads in the class of 2012 and the several who are currently enrolled and will too persist toward a degree.

At the same time, back home in the Bay Area, College Bound Brotherhood 2.0 is officially launched by the Kapor Center For Social Impact in partnership with the College Access Foundation Of California in order to identify, support, and empower at least 500 African American males toward the goal that Morehouse College was celebrating: PERSISTENCE, DEGREES and HOPE!!!

I am reminded of the tremendous history EOYDC celebrates in its legacy of 35 years of service to the community, and the work that EOYDC’s Pathway To College is doing especially to support academic achievement for men and boys of color in the Bay Area.

As I look toward the hopeful future of our young men, I reflect on the hundreds who have persisted to a degree, who were first in their families, who stay engaged, and who reach back to help those who come behind them. The Brotherhood Across America youth-led college mentoring model lived before it was named. It lived in the basketball program that Gary Payton and Damian Lillard and countless others participated in, it lived through the track and field program, through job training, summer youth leadership, art and GED. The Brotherhood is STRONG!

It is my honor and pure delight to present the Powerful Men of EOYDC – many who have achieved success, most who are on their way, and others blazing a trail toward success in spite of today’s challenging educational climate.

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BRILLIANT SCHOLARS

Javarte Bobino

Alliant International University, Psy.D – Educational Psychology

Oakland Unified School District, School Psychologist

I am now 30 years old working for the Oakland Unified School District as a school psychologist. I just had a baby boy who is 10 months old. Me and his mother are also are taking care of my two six year old nephews. I recently just bought my first home. I am currently attending Alliant International University and am a year away from having my Psy.D. in Educational Psychology. I personally mentor 5 young adults who I see at least 8 times a year to set goals and give advice to. I managed to graduate from Xavier University during Hurricane Katrina. I called EOYDC home because I moved around a lot, and stayed with friends and relatives. I received training and my first job at EOYDC, and since then I’ve come back to mentor, conduct service projects with my fraternity brothers, and stay connected to so many of the young males who share my story.

DeJuan Brooks

Wilberforce University, Computer Engineering

I have just finished my junior year at Wilberforce University, and within the three years of my educational journey I have been part of many amazing programs and have meet several successful people. During my sophomore year I was part of the “Young Engineers of Tomorrow Program” sponsored by NASA. It was such a great experience for me and it really showed me that engineering is definitely the career I wish to pursue. I worked beside engineers from NASA and even made a mock draft of an unmanned space shuttle. I was fortunate to do this program when I did because it is now discontinued.

My future plans and goals are: To travel to Tokyo. Japan next summer for an internship and to graduate with my BA in two years and then go to Georgia Tech to receive my masters.  I have worked very hard to get where I am but I know without any doubt in my heart that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the EOYDC.

I joined the EOYDC when I was 15 and I used to just go up there to play basketball and goof with my friends. However, Ms. Regina and Ms. Jasmine had other plans for me and enrolled me in to the Pathway to College program. Because of PTC, I was able to attend college expos, went to the Capital, went on to the Push Excel college tour and have received numerous scholarships to help fund my education. I have also worked at EOYDC as a Youth Leader and was the first ever Engineering Instructor for the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program. SCEP was not just a job but was a growing and learning experience for me and it helped mold me into the person I am today.

The EOYDC is place where you will receive all the necessary tools to become a successful person in whatever it is you plan to do with your life. I am forever grateful to the EOYDC and all it has blessed me with and my promise is to always give back to the center in anyway I can so that they can continue to produce people like me, my peers and those who will even achieve more than we have!

I had the opportunity to meet First Lady Michelle Obama. I told her she needed to know about EOYDC. She said the name sounded familiar!

Dalvin Butler

Georgetown University, Government

Teach for America, Hawaii

First and foremost, one of the most critical organizations that is responsible for enriching my growing leadership skills and serving as a source of limitless encouragement is undoubtedly, the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC). As a child, I was enrolled in several classes at the EOYDC including: culinary arts, martial arts, and ceramic arts that would serve as the building block for my passion for the Arts, and perhaps, giving me the energy to create my own talk show The Hoya Experience on GUTV at Georgetown University. Prior to being an undergraduate student at Georgetown, I attained such prestigious accolades of becoming a Gates Millennium Scholar, a CBS-KPIX Student Rising Above recipient and an EOYDC Pathway to College awardee. These achievements would compliment my adventure as a needy college student in Washington, D.C.

In a matter of a week my life will change forever, I will be officially a graduate of Georgetown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Government being thrust out into the “real world” for the first time. While I have been admitted into the Teach For America program stationed in Hawaii, it will be awfully challenging for me to begin the process of packing my residence hall room after such an amazing journey. Over the past four years at Georgetown, I have acquired a lengthy resume to say the least. Student body government occupied the bulk of my spare time, I served in the following capacities: a Student Activities Commissioner charged with allocating roughly $300,000 to over 100 organizations, Vice President of External Affairs for Inter-Residence Hall Association representing Georgetown University at regional and national conferences approving business and financial legislation, and a member of the College Academic Council where my colleagues and I worked closely with the College Dean’s Office to implement curriculum for the Business minor.

When I am not leading efforts to make change on Georgetown’s campus, I am gaining experience as an aspiring politician in many governmental offices. In the past fours I have had the distinct pleasure of working in Mayor Ronald V. Dellums’ Office, interning in Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Office, assisting the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in the Sexual Assault and Mental Health unit, acting as an aide to BART Director Carole Ward Allen and becoming a Fannie Lou Hamer fellow in 2012 advocating for Congress to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. FEC at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization founded by Ralph Nader. In the recent 2012 presidential election, I canvassed for President Barack Obama in the Washington, D.C. area and attended the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. EOYDC Executive Director Regina Jackson would later give me the opportunity of a lifetime, a ticket to attend President Obama’s second inauguration on Capitol Hill. The inaugural ceremony was truly a breathtaking.

During winter break in January 2013, I was thrilled to travel to Europe for the very first time on an European Discovery excursion with Contiki, an Australian traveling agency visiting: London, UK; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Munich, Germany; and Lucerne, Switzerland. This was an extraordinary chapter in my life to able to see the Sistine Chapel, The Louvre, the Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower and London Tower Bridge. Previously in 2012, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador to assist Ecuadorian children speak English in the public schools and provided care for the many children in the street markets working to help their families stay afloat economically. I embarked on the trip as a result of reading about NGO International Volunteer HQ during my junior year of college. My life has been filled with terrific educational opportunities and life changing experiences that I will treasure for eternity.

Lionel Gowans

San Francisco State University, Biology

My name is Lionel Gowans and I’m a senior at SFSU. I currently major in Biology and I am pursuing my Bachelor of Science degree. I plan on going to dental school to become a dentist and soon after to become an oral surgeon.

I was first introduced to the EOYDC through my best friend who had been attending the center years prior to my first introduction. Immediately I felt at home and comfort within the center walls. That same day I met Ms. Regina, who welcomed me with so much sincerity and passion, that at that moment I knew I would be going back to the EOYDC a lot more often. I began my journey with the EOYDC when I was in 10th grade and since then I have actively been apart of the many programs like Pathway to College, Brotherhood Across America, and other programs at the center. Ms Regina and the staff at the center has always acted out as a second family for me and has always pushed me to do my best in everything. Although I am currently a senior at San Francisco State University and keep a busy schedule, I never hesitate to answer Ms. Regina’s or Ms. Jasmine’s phone call when asked to come and speak to the youth at the center about time management, health, and a variety of other topics. Whenever the staff at the center reaches out to me I still feel that passion and comfort that I felt the first day i walked into the center.

Since the start of my journey at the center I have participated in Brotherhood Across America, Pathway to College, college tours, health workshops, and volunteer summer programs throughout the years. Although all of these programs have made an impact on me and others, I feel that Pathway to College and Brotherhood Across America has made the biggest impact on me. Brotherhood Across America (BAA) has made me more proud to be a young African American from Oakland because within the program I see so many young African American males who have so much potential that you can feel it in a room. That feeling is a proud feeling and it shows others that we are more than statistics and what we are portrayed as in the media . When the center host this annual conference, African American youth from a wide spectrum of backgrounds meet and not only talk about school, but relationships, personal growth, community service, and several other topics that are motivating and uplifting. BAA has showed me that there is an immense amount of potential in so many youth in Oakland. Every year I attend BAA I see how the our culture as black youth  is not what is so commonly advertised in the public eye but instead that we have so much more to offer our communities and the world. This showing of support opens the minds and unlocks the dreams of youth from every background to support those under them and to better themselves individually.

Pathway to College (PTC) has been so much of a support system to me that I honestly don’t know if I would have made it this far without it. If i could describe the support I receive from Ms Jasmine and the other staff in PTC, I would describe it as never-ending. Every year PTC contributes to my dream of becoming a surgeon in some way. Rather its financial aid, workshops, or introducing me to someone that can help me reach my educational goals, PTC constantly looks out for me.

Through every program I’ve been in and all the workshops I’ve participated in, the one thing that is consistent and ever-lasting is the support and genuine care for me to excel in life. I have always felt the love the center and the shown time after time. Support and giving back are key pillars the EOYDC operates under. Ms. Regina has instilled in me the importance of giving back and supporting those younger than me. She has proven this time and time again by the actions she has shown. Her showing of support has rubbed off on those within the center and has made the youth feel important and relevant. This culture of support is contagious once you set foot into the center and become apart of our family. The consistency of the support is what shows the genuine love the center has for its youth.

Landon Hill

California State University, Long Beach, MA – Social and Cultural Analysis of Education

I first started working at EOYDC when I was 15 years old as a Youth Leader for the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program (SCEP). I didn’t realize it, but the experience I had that season would not only provide me with short-term fun and experiences, but more importantly, shape my long-term goals and ambitions.

While I was in college and trying to determine what I wanted my career path to be, I didn’t consider working with youth an option. I wanted to do work pertaining to hip-hop music/culture, so I figured the only way to do that was to work in the music industry. However, after several internships and living in Los Angeles, for a couple of years, I recognized that my greatest skill and most of my work experience actually came from working with youth and students. That was a role I felt most comfortable in and I missed it. Knowing that I wanted to get back into working with youth, but still had a passion for hip-hop, I decided I just had to merge the two.

Since determining I wanted to get back to help encourage, motivate, and support youth (especially young, black men) I created a curriculum that uses hip-hop as a means of improving critical thinking and analytical skills; I am looking to get this implemented in schools, after-school programs, etc. Creating this curriculum also caused me to want to go back to school and receive a Master’s Degree in Education. I was accepted into Cal State University, Long Beach’s Social and Cultural Analysis of Education Program! To continue my work with youth, I am also now leading the mentor group at my church, as well as assisting in the Youth Services held every Friday night.

I have made working in Education my main focus. I hope to create innovating programs that will help urban youth be more engaged in school, as well as assist in their maturation outside of the classroom. My awareness and love for this work started at EOYDC and it continues to motivate me to this day.

Lamarr Martin

Georgia State University, MS – Sports Management

I have been a part of the EOYDC family since age 14, as I always desired to be actively involved with my community at large. It has always been a place where “Dreams Become Reality” as the Center ensures every youth member achieves success in all endeavors.  EOYDC makes it possible for all of us to rise above our circumstances in becoming successful Black men and women in society. I recently participated in the EOYDC Brotherhood Across America in August 2012 that was held at Morehouse College. This gave me a great opportunity to meet new faces and inspire young collegiate men and women to stay focused on their goals. As college is a growing and learning phase for young men and woman, I stressed the importance of “do what you have to do now, so you can do what you want to do in the future.”

I’m currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Sports Management at Georgia State University. Upon graduation, I plan to go to law school at The University of Georgia to start a career as a Legal Officer working with a NBA franchise organization. Throughout my journey, I feel I have an obligation to serve as a role model for young men and women entrapped by a vicious cycle of poverty, despair, and hopelessness. Despite the odds, we can achieve anything through EOYDC! I look forward to reconnecting and developing new relationships with the EOYDC Family!

Ikem Okwudiafor

University of California, Berkeley, Interdisciplinary Studies – Business, Technology and Society

I am a third year student at UC Berkeley, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Business, Technology, and Society. I am interested in a career in product management and product development. Thus, I have conducted research on the economic and social effects of emerging technologies and privacy. In addition to my academic pursuits, I am a member of the football team and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated. I first became involved with EOYDC in 2010, when I joined the EOYDC track team. I was surrounded with people who had pride in their work and desired to be the best at everything they did. I learned to be confident in my hard work and stay motivated through adversity. Even though I graduated and moved to college, I have a strong connection to EOYDC. Most recently, I volunteered with the Pathway to College program, and I began to see the impact I could have on the community. Although my schedule as an athlete can be demanding, I believe that EOYDC is making a real impact on the community, and I hope to continue to be a part of that.

Josue Preciado

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, BS – Civil Engineering

I am a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in the field of Civil Engineering with an emphasis on either Structural or Transportation. Thus far I am about 40% complete with my journey to success. As of now I am not employed, however, I have recently distributed my resume to several companies at the Career Fair, hoping to hold an apprenticeship to gain industry experience. In my personal life I am staying in good shape by exercising on a regular basis and eating healthy, going out to the beach and hiking to relieve stress. My most recent engagement with EOYDC was during my Spring break where I submitted my application for the Pathway To College grant for continuing students.

While I was at the EOYDC, I was a participant in the Pathway to College program. When I transitioned to a senior, the helped I needed kicked in. I was helped with my personal statement, FAFSA, college applications, given resources to find scholarships and also received grant from EOYDC, which was and still is instrumental to my college career. During the summers I was involved in the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program. I was a youth leader in 2009 and the Art Instructor in 2010. During the school year I was a homework tutor for math, science, English, and reading. All in all my experience at the EOYDC helped me build my character.

Jamal Rasheed

Morehouse College, BA – Business Administration

I can literally say that I have been a part of the EOYDC my entire life; I learned how to play basketball there, type on the computer, clean up after myself and others, I even had my first girlfriend at the center. Growing up I was a very shy and timid, so I tried to shy away from being in the spotlight or moments that could develop my potential as a person, but over the years I was able to grow out of my shell. One of the ways I did this was through playing basketball. I remember playing for Coach Kwame and Floyd as one of the most thrilling experiences of my life because I made friends like Kiwi, Peewee, and Kwame. We grew up together through basketball and became brothers even to this day. Playing for Coach Kwame and later Jamir, taught me how one is supposed to treat family. You give anything for one of your brothers, you have to give show them love, support and work hard together in order to achieve a common goal, in this case it was winning, but this is something it is still very relevant in my life. Everything I have ever known is because of EOYDC. I learned respect; how to give it and how it comes back in return, and the importance of integrity was always drilled into my head down there. I was taught lessons about scams, trust and loyalty. I know about how the streets work and can still pull A’s and B’s in the classroom.  I was tested and taken out of my comfort zone over and over again, but I am a better, stronger, more meticulous, and intelligent person today because of it. I went on the Big City Mountaineers trip and was the youngest of the group. It was the first time I was away from home and my mom without being able to be in contact with her at all. I was uncertain during the trip; it was as much of a physical struggle as it was a mental struggle. At times I didn’t think that I could finish it but I did and there was nothing more fulfilling then looking down at all those mountains that I had climbed and feeling like a king. In addition to that, public speaking was another thing that I didn’t jump at the opportunity to do, but now today I’d like to say that I am fairly skilled at it and I articulate myself well. EOYDC was all about practice making perfect.

I have been a Youth Leader for four years in the SCEP program, and a two year Wellness Instructor. Now I am a Man of Morehouse, having just completed my first year of college. During that first year, I had the opportunity to return to the Bay Area to lead a roundtable discussion for the Annual Meeting Of The Public Health Association. This was EOYDC’s first opportunity to have youth present at a national conference. We worked with a Doctoral candidate on Roots to Resilience, and ultimately published a poetry anthology called, “Y U Gotta Call It Ghetto?” We have performed poetry readings across the Bay Area. Then I gave testimony on the California Select Committee On The Status Of Boys And Men Of Color. My recommendations resulted in Assembly Bill 2565, which called for a public information campaign on the consequences of juvenile misconduct. PTC also hosted its first international mixer on the Morehouse campus, giving me an opportunity to explain what the EOYDC brotherhood is about. Attendees came from the Bay Area and as far away as Zimbabwe. During spring break, fellow youth leaders from Fisk, Wilberforce, John C. Smith, and DePaul came to hang out, reconnect, and have fun. My college-going has just begun, but I feel prepared for success; having earned a 3.7 GPA in my first year. EOYDC has always been a part of me and this was the first time in my life where something so close to me was so far away; that will probably be my biggest adjustment. However, I know EOYDC will always be with me wherever I go. Honestly I could write more books than Harry Potter with all of the lessons, experiences and development that has occurred in my life because of that amazing place on 82nd and International. The center has been a part of me my entire life and will always be a part of me. If I bled right now my blood would probably be purple and orange. I am an EOYDC Hoya today and will be back to change lives and BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

Trent Robbins

Laney College, Mass Communications

I am currently a second year student attending Laney College and will be transferring to a four-year University majoring in Mass Communications/Journalism with a focus on Sports. After college I want to cover professional sports teams, and partake in sports broadcasting in forms of radio and television. I have always known that, whatever career path I choose, sports has to be at the foundation of the decision. The selection of my career came about in November of 2012, while on the Washington D.C. college tour with the EOYDC. We visited the Newseum, on Pennsylvania Ave. The facility was captivating, filled with centuries of news from around the globe as well as daily updates with the current events posted outside. Later, into the D.C. tour we visited Hampton Universities, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. After gaining a glimpse of Scripps Hall and viewing students aspiring to become journalists is when I knew Mass Communications/Journalism was the major best suited for me.

I started working at the EOYDC at age 17 and haven’t strayed away since. My first position at the EOYDC was the Assistant to the Cooking Instructor of the youth led summer program (2010). After that summer I have worked as the Cooking Instructor during the summer programs, Sr. Homework Tutor, and my current role is the Senior Recreational Aide/Cooking Instructor. Towards the conclusion of the previous summer program (2012), the proverbial “flickering light bulb” came on across my mind after observing our youth.

I wanted to construct a program evolving around nutrition and physical exercise, due to me noticing how many of our participants had poor nutrition habits with their intake consisting of primarily junk foods, sodas, and sugary drinks. With that being the case, their nutrition habits and lack of adequate exercise subsequently led to obesity in some cases, and I wanted to make a change.

In order for the program to come into realization, I needed to create a curriculum that engaged cooking and sports, two of my passions. Once the curriculum was completed I presented it to Ms. Regina and the program took off from there. Developing lifelong nutrition habits, as well as getting the participants to exercise for an hour daily, are the goals set for this program. The youth have responded well and are dedicated from my observations.  The youth have increased their intake of water and are eating more fruits and vegetables. However, I am still unsatisfied with the amount of junk foods they are encountering at home and am searching for innovative ways to correct this issue.

I genuinely appreciate all the EOYDC has done for me over the years. The EOYDC support system is like one of a family.  The EOYDC support system installs values into each member so that whoever the member is, that individual is ready to lead. The older males around EOYDC are always passing down wisdom and offering tokens of encouragement with sayings of the old adage “patience is a virtue,” and to “keep striving and one day you will arrive to where you desire to be.” With numerous motivators and positive influences at the youth’s disposal, EOYDC in my opinion is ideal place for youth to progress and succeed.

EMERGING LEADERS

Anthony Banks, Jr.

Oakland Police Department, Police Officer

My relationship with EOYDC started when I was 15 years old. I was lucky to be chosen as a Youth Leader for the summer program during the summer of 2000 as it helped shaped me to be the individual I am today. While working as a Youth Leader, I learned important skills that would help guide me in my personal and professional life such as: time management, communication, public speaking, responsibility, and accountability. EOYDC is where I first felt the honor of being a mentor and being able to help the youth in Oakland.

To this day, I carry that same honor and mentality and employ the same skills that I learned at EOYDC in my current job as a Police Officer in Oakland. I have worked at OPD for almost seven years and I have recently been given the opportunity of being a Field Training Officer. I have received various training (electronic surveillance, search warrant writing, marijuana cultivation) and have been assigned to different units within OPD (Neighborhood Enforcement Team, Foot Patrol, Schools Safety). While working the streets of Oakland, I keep the citizens and most importantly, the children of Oakland’s best interests in mind. During my off time, I enjoy spending time with my wife and 18-month-old daughter. We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our newest addition to the family who will be born in the fall.

Nate Brewer

After School Program Instructor

I recently graduated in June 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology from Seattle University. The Pathway to College program was a huge asset to my degree and the knowledge I gained in school. I am currently teaching a preschool program and running an after school care program in Seattle, Washington. I enjoy working with children and giving back to the community. I hope to continue on a path of working with children more likely in the field of School Psychology. I aim to go back to school within the next year or so and move back to the Bay Area.

I remember spending a fair amount of time at EOYDC at an early age. Whether it was participating in the basketball league, going to Raiders games, or assisting with the after school-tutoring program. I also attended a Big City Mountaineers trip, which is something I will never forget. Most recently I participated in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood across America and shared my experiences regarding college and college life. I cherish all my experiences at EOYDC and what it has provided me. I am happy that other young folks behind me can have a similar experience and use what they learn to lead to a positive future.

Damilola Ghadebo

United States Army Hazmat Team, Sergeant

Right now I am a Sergeant working on a U.S Army hazmat team as a Subject Matter Expert/Handler on hazardous materials. My time in the army has come to an end (getting out December 2013) and I will be attending Georgia State University in January majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. I plan to attend medical school in Washington, D.C. My overall goal is to be a general surgeon. The best part of my journey no student loans. I stay connected to EOYDC by referring the new young leaders to participate in the youth leadership program, and visiting EOYDC every time I come home to never forget where I got the foundation of the great man I am today.

Chris Head

Golden State Warriors, Camp Coach

My name is Christopher Head, a 5-year MBA major from Oakland, California. I am currently a graduate of Hampton University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. I hope to get my MBA at Hampton University within two years. I am also looking forward to continuing my basketball-playing career overseas.

For my career, I would like to be a coach, life teacher/motivator, and mentor for inner city youth. I want to make a difference in people’s lives be showing them ordinary people can do anything they focus and put their minds to.

I have attended the youth center for over 10 years and mentored for the EOYDC Brotherhood program for over 3 years. The program teaches young middle and high school kids to reach out to mentors that will help them reach the highest potential. A mentor is also a reliable, responsible, and resilient leader who wants to make a difference in their communities. The mentors do this at home, in college, or wherever they end up after college. The mentoring does not stop after graduation; it continues to live with you as long as you let it live for.

Langston Hill

BMO Financial Group, Commercial Banking Analyst

The first job I ever had was a Youth Leader for EOYDC’s Summer Cultural Enrichment Program (“SCEP”).  I was 14 years old.  To get the job, I had to apply, attend weekly training programs, create a resume, and be a part of an extensive interview process.  When awarded the job, I was expected to show up on time every morning and perform responsibilities to the best of my ability until it was time to leave.  I worked alongside two other Youth Leaders to supervise children ranging from ages 6-12.  Additionally, I attended weekly meetings with my supervisors and other Youth Leaders, to communicate issues or brainstorm ideas to improve the Program.  Both the children’s and the Youth Leaders’ backgrounds were diverse, with some coming from very privileged upbringings, while others came from very unstable and poverty stricken homes.

That job did so much for me.  First, it was a productive use of time during summer when school was out.  The job provided me a means of developing my own income, separate from that of my own parent’s pocketbook.  The thrill of financial independence has never left me since.  Second, the job taught basic expectations of how to conduct oneself in the “real world.”  The interview skills, the discipline from “clocking-in” every day, and the importance of doing your job as best you can, are skills and mindsets carried over into my current career.  Third, it allowed me to work and connect with people from all varied backgrounds.  Very often, East Oakland is associated with people only from lower income neighborhoods, but this is not always so. Parents of higher socio-economic classes recognize the great programs EOYDC has to offer children, and often enroll their kids in EOYDC programs. The mix of backgrounds provided time to understand, connect, and most importantly, communicate with people from all types of origins. Finally, having a job at such a young age, led to receiving more job opportunities the older I grew. Most teenagers have no job experience, so carrying a job at such a young age gave me a competitive advantage moving forward. My resume became more advanced than most in my class, and it allowed me the opportunity to reach internships and career positions it takes some people more time to obtain.

I am currently in Chicago, IL working at BMO Financial Group as a Commercial Banking Analyst.  In May 2012, I graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA with a BA in Business Administration, Concentration in Finance.  The values that I have taken from my experiences with EOYDC have lasted through the years, and traveled with me as I have moved away from East Oakland.  As younger EOYDC alumni enter into Morehouse, I’ve begun offering myself as a means of assistance to help their college experiences be all the more worthwhile.  We have all taken away different things from our times in the EOYDC, but I believe most, if not all, would agree it contributed positively to where we are today.

Christopher Oakes

Youth Uprising, Career Coach

Christopher Oakes received his Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies from San Jose State University in May of 2010. After completing his degree, he left the States to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe. After two years, he decided to switch gears and move back to the States. He started working at Youth Uprising as a career coach in August of 2012. The foundation he developed growing up involved in programs at EOYDC has influenced him in his role at Youth Uprising.  The positive male role models like Kwame Nitoto and Floyd Payne have helped shape his ideologies and leadership style he uses today. His skills with intervention, facilitation, and coaching have been influenced by the impact of his experiences at EOYDC.

As Chris continues to embrace his new career path, he looks forward to pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education as well as attaining his teaching credentials.  Only 1 out of every 50 teachers in the United States are black men. Chris feels it is his divine purpose to give back the knowledge he has gained to young men in need. He would like to impact the community of Oakland and other cities in similar dilemmas. In addition to becoming a history teacher, Chris is also creating his own curriculum for young black men who need alternative strategies for education.

Every time he comes by EOYDC he reminisces on the incredible moments and relationships he has built. The welcoming feeling he gets reminds him of home.

Kelvin Potts

Project Basketball Skills Training, Founder and CEO

My name is Kelvin Potts and everyone calls me KP. Growing up at EOYDC, I remember the lessons – not just in basketball, but becoming a team, looking out for my teammates, and genuinely caring about how they live. Now that I’ve established my own enterprise, a business called Project Basketball Skills Training, those lessons still live with me today. I professionally train many of the people I used to play with, in basketball and life skills. Often I bring back alumni to EOYDC during the winter and summer breaks, to perfect their craft and keep them connected. I even shot a Video in the gym because I want others to know the tremendous history that EOYDC contributes to the world of basketball. Helping people reach their goal has always been something that motivates me and I love my job. Other than that, I hang out with friends and take care of my family. Although I live in El Cerrito, EOYDC has still been active in my personal and business life. I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve developed growing up here. Supporting each other is something I will always cherish. We have a strong legacy, and I am proud of what EOYDC did for me, and will continue to do for others in the Bay Area.

Randall West

Alameda County Fire Department, Firefighter/Paramedic

Randall West was born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He attended Lake Charles’ McNeese State University and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Business Management. At McNeese, he pledged and served as president of the esteemed Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. It was through Phi Beta Sigma’s philosophy of Brotherhood, Service, and Scholarship that Randall was introduced to the importance of serving his community. Since then, he has strived to exemplify the fraternity’s motto: “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity.” In 2002, Randall moved to Oakland. Shortly after arriving, Randall began working in the EOYDC’s homework center where he noticed and met the need for more Black male mentors. From the EOYDC, he transitioned to the Family Violence Law Center where he served as a Community Educator for the Relationship Abuse Prevention Project (R.A.P). Through R.A.P., he taught teen domestic violence prevention to over 1,000 Oakland Unified students. Randall began his career as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Alameda County Fire Department in 2005 and quickly decided that he wanted to continue his tradition of mentorship and service to minority youth. As such, he became and remains a Lead Skills Instructor for the Bay Area Youth EMT program, which endeavors to change the cultural landscape of Bay Area first responders by instructing inner-city youth in EMT and fire fighting curriculum. The Bay Area Youth EMT Program’s goal is to “create civic minded firefighters who are willing to apply their newly learned skills to community based programs as well as in local EMS and fire agencies.” Randall West strives to actively make a difference in his community by being a positive role model and through dedicated service.

Michael White

Dress for Success, CEO

SHI, Corporate Account Executive

Michael White was born and raised in Oakland California. Upon growing up Michael frequently utilized the facilities of the East Oakland Youth Development Center, and he often played after school basketball in the EOYDC gymnasium. He attended Bishop O’Dowd High School where he was a star on both the basketball court as well as on the golf course. Michael attended Hampton University on a full golf scholarship and graduated with a degree in Banking and Finance.  Upon graduating from college Michael was hired by Grant And Smith LLP where he spent 3 years as a Junior Auditor. Michael returned to the East Oakland Youth Development Center and assisted in the financial audit of the youth center for two fiscal years.

Michael is the CEO of the Dress For Success Community outreach program. Dress For Success was established in December of 2011 in which Michael formed a committee of professionals from all different backgrounds throughout the Bay Area who come together and ran workshops and became mentors for local high school students. The workshops that are featured in Dress For Success are interviewing skills, financial literacy, social awareness, negotiation skills, and appropriate attire. Dress For Success just completed a very successful second event and is gaining a great deal of momentum and is in the process of spreading to different cities across the nation.

Michael is currently a corporate account executive at an innovative technology firm called SHI. Michael’s responsibilities include managing corporate accounts, selling and marketing innovative solutions throughout California. Michael served as treasurer on the Board of Directors of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc., and the National Association of Black Accountants. Michael currently serves on the board of the Town Political Action Committee. Michael is well known throughout the Bay Area community due to his social events and philanthropic efforts. Michael currently resides in Oakland, CA.

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSIONALS

Mark Curry

Actor, Comedian

Since my early days at the Center, I have called it “home”. The Center was that safe place where you could have fun, play and plan for your future. As an adult, I have returned to support everyway I could. I’ve been on field trips to Marine World, the zoo, mentoring and supporting thousands of kids since I reconnected in 1994. I remember hosting the 18th Anniversary Open House, which aired on BET, and the 25th Anniversary concert featuring Regina Belle at the Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. Walking the halls and sponsoring the Mark Curry Invitational Tournament, it gave me an opportunity to connect to the kids, motivate them through their struggles and give them hope, since we were from the same place. EOYDC means a lot to me. Many of my nieces and nephews who came up through the programs as youth leaders are graduating from college and entering careers. The center has played a central role in their development too. I try to lift the Center whenever I can. EOYDC was featured on my “Life After” television segment. I’ve attended fundraisers hosted by Brian Shaw, and even brought Judge Mathis to visit my hood; his visit to EOYDC was such a surprise. The kids were so juiced!

These days I travel a lot doing my comedy and acting roles. I live in LA but whenever I come home to Oakland EOYDC is on my “must stop by” list.

Bill Duffy

Bill Duffy Sports Management, Sports Agent

I have fond memories of playing in the EOYDC gym. I was in a professional league there. The experience was inspiring, it was so much more than just basketball. There was a coming together of families and mentoring while we played. These kind of support systems are so important to human development.

I intend to stay connected to EOYDC youth by creating opportunities with some of the players I represent, and directly connecting with those who want to go into sports as a career. EOYDC has a legacy that should be lifted and leveraged to insure that Oakland youth can succeed!

Jasen Powell

Los Angeles Clippers, Head Athletic Trainer

Physically I have EOYDC engraved in my body.

I started attending EOYDC at age 13. EOYDC was that safe haven where we could play. We played ball all the time, there weren’t all the distractions of video and computer games that there are now. I created friendships, met all kinds of different people, I became more diverse in my groups of friends. Attending EOYDC kept me grounded as I grew up. I had a life changing experience at EOYDC that reminds me of these memories to this day. I was 17 playing ball when I dislocated my left index finger in the EOYDC gym. I graduated from high school in 1990 and went straight to San Diego State University. I played basketball there for a year but then returned to the Bay Area to mature and grow. I attended Merritt College and received my associate’s degree. Going to junior college was a good thing for me. After Merritt I went to Cal Poly Pomona where I majored in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, and played basketball.

Following my graduation from Cal Poly, internship opportunities with the Atlanta Falcons and LA Clippers ultimately led me to where I am today. I was hired by the 49ers as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and stayed for 5 years. Because of my consistent and persistent communication with my network, I was offered a Head Athletic Trainer position with the LA Clippers. After 14 years with the Clippers, I still love working with athletes and modeling an integral part of healthcare. I also appreciate sharing valuable principles with young men, fathers, and husbands.

Back in 2004, I established the Jasen Powell scholarship to support high school students who want to pursue a major in healthcare. I understand the importance of financial resources and want to help where I can. I am proud to announce that EOYDC’s Pathway to College program will manage this scholarship moving forward. I still keep in touch with friends I made at EOYDC.

Thanks EOYDC for the memories. Thanks also for helping me to reach back and help others.

Marcus Thompson

Bay Area News Group, NBA Sports Columnist

As a journalist, I often find myself privileged to write about distinct people. I get to be inspired by the stories of people and, if I do my job well enough, inspire others by telling their story. Sometimes, they are celebrities — usually star athletes. Sometimes, they are people of power. As the NBA writer for Bay Area News Group, I’ve been given the opportunity to interview and meet international stars.  But among the most inspiring people I’ve ever written about were young people from EOYDC. Perhaps is because we share a bond, have run amuck through the same halls. Perhaps it’s because we have similar stories — shackled by the ills of poverty yet determined to break free, guided by those who know the secret for shaking loose the cuffs.

Young people like Shanelle Middleton, who was injured playing soccer and turned that misfortune into a pursuit of a career in physical therapy. And Josue Preciado who took his first flight on a college tour and is now the first member of his family in college. And Aja Seldon, who as a teenager witness enough drama to fill a reality show and is now hard on the grind at Clark Atlanta University studying television and film.

I remember soothing pain with daydreams of a brighter future. I remember having to muster the will to avoid the pitfalls. I remember my first trip to a college and the hope it instilled. I remember playing hoop in that same gym, scurrying up those same stairs, mentoring younger kids who thought I was cool. That was back in the late 80s, early 90s. Now, I am a sports writer. Hundreds of thousands of readers cling to the words I write. I have relationships with accomplished people who see me as relevant in their life. I know that wasn’t supposed to be the result of my humble beginnings. And every time I talk to an EOYDC student for an article, I can’t help but wonder in what triumphant fashion will their story end. And I feel privileged to be one who can tell it.

Kevin Taylor

McClymonds High School, Principal

My first opportunity to lead young people came when I was hired by EOYDC to oversee a summer program. It was an invaluable experience. I was able to live the reality of my parents’ relentless efforts to have my brother and me understand and embrace the value of education and hard work not only for ourselves, but also for our community.

In the professional setting at EOYDC I was able to better conceptualize what the “real world” was all about. I was able to personally witness what my father had ingrained in me. Every day of the summer I watched Ms. Jackson come to work early and be the last to leave. That work ethic has stuck with me throughout my career.

I attended Cal State Northridge on a basketball scholarship. I graduated with a degree in sociology. I began teaching high school at the ripe age of 22. I taught and coached while attending grad school at night. I received my teaching credential and a Master’s degree in Multi-Cultural Education.

I returned home to teach, but continued a quest for a more significant leadership role that could impact more young people than those in my classes. I was rewarded with the opportunity to become the founding principal of Langston Hughes Academy, a charter school in Stockton California. In our second year we achieved great success and notoriety for having the highest scoring African American students and the second highest scoring Latino students in the City of Stockton. Although we made great strides at LHA, it was always my goal to return to Oakland and give back to my hometown.

When the opportunity arose for me to take the principal position at McClymonds, one of the most historic high schools in the country, I was ecstatic. At Mac we work as a team to improve our school on a daily basis, focusing on raising academic standards, serving the whole student, and embracing community involvement. I am surrounded by a supportive community. Our intent is for McClymonds to become known for academic excellence.

My most recent interaction with the center has been two fold: I was honored as a Champion for Youth given my roles in guiding young people particularly as Principal at Mcclymonds. This and other awards I have received extend beyond me to McClymonds as it reclaims its prominence in Oakland. EOYDC has also reconnected by supporting FAFSA completion services on the campus through their work with East Bay College Access Network. We are connected, over and over. I am thankful to GOD for the values instilled in me by my loving family, and the opportunity and examples set by EOYDC.

***

President Obama’s remarks focused on these points:

Value of education – how it must translate to make communities better

Care for family – give your best

Compassion – so that all may have a seat at the table

EOYDC’s rich legacy of Powerful Men reflects these values. There is HOPE!

-Regina Jackson, President & CEO

January 2014 Update:

– Nate Brewer is currently an After School Program Coordinator for Bay Area Jumpers.

– Kevin Taylor is currently the Network Executive Officer for Oakland Unified School District

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