2013 Grantee Celebration and Awards Ceremony highlights

On Thursday, April 25, 2013 Oakland Unite hosted a celebration for the programs and participants. At least one staff representative from each organization in the Oakland Unite community were in attendance.  The event was held at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline Street.

Slide 1-2: Sara Bedford gave an introduction, as did Jose Dorado, Chair of the Oversight Committee.

Slide 3: Oakland Unite program officer Dan Simmons and George Williams of the VOA community eulogized Melvin Neuttal, a case worker for VOA who passed away in March of this year.

Slide 4: DHS Interim Director Sara Bedford recognized Steve Eckert for a decade of service to our community as Executive Director of East Bay Agency for Children from 2004 to 2013.

Slide 5-7: Oakland updates were made by Gary Flores of VOA, Hattie Tate of OUSD and Oakland Unite Planner Dyanna Christie.

Slides 8-11: The group played an Oakland Unite Dating Game, in which all grantee representatives learned about other grantees organizations and client services face to face in three six minute sessions.

Slide 12: Out of Pocket, Youth UpRising’s house band, played throughout the event.

Slides 14-15: The group heard remarks from Mayor Quan and council member Noel Gallo and Brigette Cook, representative of Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney.

Slides 16-26: Mayor Quan, Councilmember Noel Gallo and Brigette Cook presented ‘Excellence in Partnership Awards’ to fifteen selected participants from Oakland Unite agencies and community based organizations. As they received their awards, the eight awardees in attendance were moved to share personal stories, give thanks to their counselors and case managers and one young recipient read poetry. The following is the full list of participants in Oakland Unite programs who were given the ‘Excellence in Partnership Award’ (click to read current biographical sketches):

Javier Arango, nominated by Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB)

Javier Arango of Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) left gang life over the last year and now plays an important role as a lead on the youth advisory team; he now co-facilitates restorative justice circles at schools after the impact of homicide or gun violence.  He has mentored youth with care, support and sense of humor.

Marquise Boyd, nominated by OUSD Alternative Education

Marquise Boyd has been cleared from Juvenile Probation since his involvement with OUSD Alternative Education JJC Wraparound Program.  He has maintained employment while maintaining a 95% school attendance.  While working, he is a leader and mentor to youth and he also is a leader to his peers while on campus at school.  Marquise is definitely a positive leader in all aspects of his life. 

Jose Camacho, nominated by East Bay Agency for Children (EBAC)

Jose Camacho embodies the spirit of violent prevention and is committed to positive change for the following reasons: impeccable attendance, improvement in grades from Fs to Bs or Cs in every class, an attitude that has changed from defeatist to positive;  East Bay Agency for Children (EBAC) has seen him find his leadership potential through his time with their counsel.

Anwar Fuller, nominated by Volunteers of America (VOA)

Anwar Fuller has had a huge turn around with Volunteers of America, starting with an intensive case manager after release from prison. Project Choice group classes helped him face the challenges of homelessness, unemployment and returning to a life of crime in Oakland. Through his resilience, he is now full-time Assistant Supervisor in Materials Handling at Goodwill and now rents his own 1-bedroom apartment. 

Cameron Gordon, nominated by Youth UpRising YU Excel Program

Cameron Gordon is 21 years old. He enrolled in Youth UpRising’s Re-entry Program, YU EXCEL young adult reentry program in October 2012, when he was not working and disconnected from school. Currently Cameron is working part-time at Arroyo-Viejo Recreation Center, and enrolled in a general  undergraduate curriculum in business at Laney College.  Cameron recently achieved an “A” on his College Preparedness class’ midterm.

Juma Jackson, nominated by Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC)

Juma Jackson came to Oakland Private Industry Council’s interested in employment but stated that he was open to training as well.  After considering his options, he decided that he would give training at The Bread Project a try, instead of full paid work. Juma graduated in March 2013 and has a natural aptitude for baking.  He is now a full time employee baking and driving the company vehicle and has become indispensable as a key member of The Bread Project Team.

Martha Lopez, nominated by Alameda County Health Care Services Our Kids/Our Families Program

Martha Lopez is an eighth grade student at Coliseum College Preparatory Academy. Through active participation in the Our Kids/Our Families program of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, she has been able to channel her anger and frustration into powerful art and poetry. She has also worked hard to raise her grades by several letters. She is currently participating in a student-initiated group by contributing her artwork and poetry to an upcoming assembly celebrating Polynesian culture. 

Davina Malbrough, nominated by Mentoring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY)

Davina Malbrough has been able to accomplish so much since joining MISSSEY, including: getting re-connected with her biological mother in Sacramento,  enrolling in Oakland High School, starting the Lasting Links mentorship program and getting paired with a long time MISSSEY volunteer and ally. She has also started employment with Youth Radio and continues to be an active participate at the SPA.

Nathaniel Mansfield, nominated by California Youth Outreach (CYO)

Nathaniel Mansfield, 27 years of age, has had violence surrounding his life. Over the last year receiving Oakland Outreach services from California Youth Outreach, he’s come to constantly seek a ‘way out.’ has done speaking engagements with Kevin Grant to school counselors and probation officers about the realities of today’s street violence for Oakland’s youth. He has given interviews on radio and several newspapers. He recently spoke on a panel at the SF Examiner about violence in the media and how it affects it has on youth of color.

Daryl McDaniel, nominated by Youth UpRising's JJC/OUSD Wraparound Program

Daryl McDaniel has exemplified positive change through personal transformation through his involvement in Youth UpRising’s Juvenile Justice Wraparound Case Management program. He has maintained a GPA of 2.5 or higher, he is a participant in the Step to College’s program and has applied to several colleges. He is also currently employed through the Title 4 program and has been referred to as a model employee. 

Christian Mendoza, nominated by Youth ALIVE

Christian Mendoza has shown significant dedication and strength as he continues his journey as a survivor of gun violence in Oakland. Not only did Christian make a connection with his Caught in the Crossfire Intervention Specialist, Raymond Estrada, Christian has made an impact on the entire Youth ALIVE agency. Christian remains motivated to enhance his personal growth as he is graduating from high school this June. 

Nick Ortiz, nominated by Civicorps Schools

Nick Ortiz, 24 years old, has turned his life around.  After he served nine months in jail, his probation officer introduced him to Civicorps.  During the nine months in Civicorps he has grown to be a responsible and reliable worker who needs little supervision.  He has participated in 2 seasons of Shakespeare productions while at Civicorps.  Nick passed both areas of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and completed most of the requirements for the High School Diploma.  He is a potential June 2013 graduate.

Andrew Pree, nominated by Youth UpRising's Youth Employment Program

Andrew Pree is currently a 12th grader at LPS-College Park. Earlier this year, Andrew found himself at a crossroads where he struggling with making better decisions that would impact his life. He was previously involved in the probation system. Over the course of the Youth UpRising Youth Employment SUDA program, Andrew not only increased his GPA from 1.06 to a 3.4 for the Fall semester, but now is also looking into applying for college. He has gained the tools to meet his personal goals.

Damon Smith, nominated by Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)

Damon Smith is an 18 year old twelfth grader who is a restorative justice student leader at Bunche High School nominated by Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY).   Damon moved from Oakland Tech to Bunche last fall. At Oakland Tech, he had a 0 GPA, got into fights a lot and had been in and out of juvenile hall.  Through his self-discovery in Restorative Justice Class at Bunche, he has grown to serve as a positive role model for youth who have committed criminal offenses but are changing through restorative juvenile justice. He has a straight A grade point average and is on track to be his class valedictorian! 

'JROCK' Woods, nominated by Healthy Oakland

‘JROCK’ Woods has worked with the West Oakland Street Outreach Team as an Ambassador for the last four months and has been very effective in assisting the team in engaging hard to reach, high risk clients. Healthy Oakland/Healthy Communities value his contribution and want to acknowledge him as an asset to the team’s work because he is widely known for his past and his transition from street culture lifestyle to a positive anti-violence lifestyle is well known in the target areas of street outreach, and his credibility with those still in the lifestyle there is high.

Later that day, Sara Bedford said, “The participants could not have better represented the power of the work. It took us many years to develop the service network so that the most at-risk youth and young adults can be directly served by our programs. It doesn’t happen overnight — it comes from consistent relationship building and best practices. Oakland Unite can be proud of what we witnessed today and what we are accomplishing for the community of Oakland.”

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