Success Stories From 2013
Building on positive assets and resilience in individuals, families and communities drives the work of direct services that are at the core of all Oakland Unite violence prevention programs. These efforts are best illustrated by grantee organization success stories that are reported back to the Human Service Department each spring:
EBAYC– JJC Wraparound Services
RW’s father was incarcerated for murdering his wife when RW was one year old. Since then, RW has lived with his maternal grandparents. In 2012, RW was charged with possession of a stun gun at his school. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Community Probation unit and sent to EBAYC for services. During this time, RW followed all his terms and condition by participating in all program activities such as counseling, employment training, and field trips. Currently, he attends school every day and passes all his class with A’s and B’s. He also participates in the debate team and the political activism committee with the Junior State of America as well as plays in the orchestra with The Young Musician Program. RW shows a strong potential for a good future. He will successfully achieve his life goal of going to college by continuing his relationship with the positive adults and peers around him. RW’s self determination to change his life around led him to be dismissed from probation in March 2014. RW’s grandparents said, “Thank you for helping us going through this process because we don’t know the court system well enough to be able to help our grandson. Without your help it would be very challenging.”
MISSSEY – JJC Wraparound Services
MM came to MISSSEY as a referral from Ms. Hattie Tate. MaMc comes from a big family and was raised by a single mother. MM is faced with many risk factors; she was often unsupervised due to her mother working, she has a big family, so money is low and she’s a young girl living in Oakland. MM was first introduced into the life by being thrown into the trunk of a car and held for days until eventually being forced out onto the track. MM first came to us at the age of 13, she was placed on probation for a violation of PC 245(A)(1)-M force/assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury. She had a four-way search clause (police may conduct search of person, home, car, or possessions) and drug conditions. MM was placed on Family Preservation Unit. When MM started coming to our Safe Place Alternative, she was often the source of many arguments and fights. Now she is seen as a leader amongst her peers and is often the source of conflict mediation. MM has learned to express herself in a healthy manner and she is able to advocate for herself. She is now a much more determined, ambitious and dedicated young woman. MM completed her terms and conditions of probation in September of 2013 and was released from probation. Since being released from probation MM has continued to actively participate in her programs, she will be graduating with her high school diploma this June and she has maintained her employment for more than six months. MM is employed as an Office Administration Intern. MM provides administrative support to all programs at her job. She plans on becoming a young leader in helping and supporting her community. MM will be attending college in the fall and will possibly seek a career in criminal justice work. Her goal is to have a great future and to be able to support young women like herself.
OUSD Alternative Education– JJC Wraparound Services
Carvell, a young man who was a raised in the house with a single mother and younger sister, was referred to us in the fall of 2013. Before Carvell got involved with us, he was involved in several incidents which resulted in him being expelled by the OUSD Board of Education in his sophomore year. Additionally, that summer he became a father to a beautiful baby girl. After several bouts with Juvenile Hall, and his subsequent enrollment in the Community Day School, he was introduced to his case manager, Leonard. When first working with Carvell, Carvell and his case manager Leonard (with the help of the Juvenile Hall “Youth Level of Service Inventory” assessment process) were able to identify 3 main areas of wraparound support needed: 1) Leisure / Recreation 2) Education / Employment 3) Family / Parenting and work toward finding good solutions to these challenges. Last month, Carvell was readmitted back into the Oakland Unified School District and is back on the right path. His case manager, Leonard, was an integral part of turning Carvell’s around.” Carvell has followed all the terms of his probation. He has stopped hanging out with “the wrong crowd.” He is learning the construction trade as a back up to his NBA dream and has, with support, remained employed. Carvell successfully finished the terms of his expulsion and is now attending a continuation high school where he has joined the basketball team. He is about to complete his time at the group home and finally return to living with his mother and sister again. Each of these decisions, he says, he made for his daughter and his family but most importantly, for himself. When asked what words of advice he would give to other teens who are struggling, Carvell said, “I would tell them, when you feel down and out, like you don’t have nobody to talk to, talk to someone you know is there for you. Talk to your mom, your case manager, someone you trust. Once you keep everything in, you end up blowing up to release it. I want other kids to know it’s hard to change but you really just gotta want it. You gotta want the change for yourself.”
OUSD JJC Manager– JJC Wraparound Services
Our case study for this quarter is a young lady that I met prior to her detention at the age of 14. She attempted to enroll in school with her boyfriend who was already a bad influence on her, but she was too young. She became truant, started using drugs and alcohol and running away. She was suspected of being a CSEC victim as well. She was finally arrested with a handgun in her possession and driving a stolen car with the boyfriend. While I believe the gun and car had been stolen by him with other malicious criminal intent planned she took the case and he was released from Santa Rita. She comes from a loving family, mom, stepdad and grandmother but got involved with the wrong person. After terminated pregnancies, behavior assessments and case management she finally made it! She has completed terms and conditions of probation, passed the GED and relocated to another community where she has started attending community college.
The Mentoring Center– JJC Wraparound Services
Chris, a 16 year-old African American youth was referred to The Mentoring Center by the JJC in November 2013. He was assigned to Youth Service Specialist, William as a result of a grand theft auto charge, during which a gun was allegedly used. His challenges were identified as the lack of education/employment, unhealthy leisure and recreation activities, peer relations, marijuana and alcohol use and a fragile and challenged relationship with mother. Working with TMC, Chris is developing and receiving support in the following areas: employment (TMC referred him to Youth Radio, where he currently works), academics (he is working on attendance, his attitude and grades, all of which have improved), his drug and alcohol use (he has an improved attitude towards stopping). He is working consistently on his critical thinking and decision-making skills, his emotional intelligence and most specifically, the relationship with his mother and himself. As a result, his familial relationships are much better. If Chris’ good behavior continues, he is on track to complete his probation successfully and on time with the help of his dedicated case manager.
Youth ALIVE! – JJC Wraparound Services
“Jamila” is a 15-year-old African-American girl living in West Oakland and attending McClymond’s High School. Jamila was referred to the Probation Department after she was arrested for loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution. Jamila was assigned to Case Manager Tammy. Jamila was maintaining a 1.5 GPA, had poor attendance, and was struggling emotionally to deal with the loss of her mother at a young age. Tammy started working with Jamila in the beginning of the school year and noticed that Jamila was not behind on credits. Once Jamila received all of her classes, Tammy met with her and Jamila’s counselor to discuss Jamila’s current credits and need for academic progress. There had never been a concern about Jamila’s ability to complete any of her school assignments so Tammy introduced the concept of therapy to Jamila and her aunt. Tammy introduced Jamila to Adrianne, a therapist at McClymond’s and Jamila was receptive to receiving therapy from Adrianne. Jamila continued to meet with Adrianne on a weekly basis. Over the course of three months, Jamila’s attendance improved greatly. Since Tammy started working with Jamila her grades, attendance and overall academic performance has progressed. Jamila continues therapy and her grades are still rising. Although Tammy has closed her case, Tammy still checks in on Jamila and communicates with Adrianne to make sure that everything is still going smoothly.
Youth UpRising – JJC Wraparound Services
“Jared” was charged with violating his probation in June 2010 and was sent to Camp Sweeney where he served out his term. Following his release from Camp Sweeney, Jared was placed on electronic monitoring and released into placement with his mother. Jared came to Youth UpRising in June 2013 and shortly after he successfully completed his terms and probation in August 2013. Jared participated in the 2013 Mayor Summer Job Program and successfully completed his employment term at the Knowland Park Oakland Zoo. Jared has currently been accepted into Job Corps in March 2014 where he plans to take up a trade in finance/office administration. He has also re-enrolled in the GED program and is on track to receive his GED by the end of 2014. Jared currently resides at the Job Corps facility. He has sustained positive behavior and continues to take on growth opportunities. He says, “Youth Uprising has been a life changing opportunity for me.”
The Unity Council — Youth Employment Services
Upon meeting JR I noticed that he tended to be well mannered and soft spoken. His mentor talked a lot for him, which made me wonder if JR was actually interested in our OYE program or was he there to appease his mentor? JR and his mentor explained to me that, in the past, JR had too much time on his hands, which led to him hanging out in the streets with the wrong crowd. JR then explained that he ended up hanging with the wrong people and doing things he “wasn’t supposed to”, like drugs, stealing, and gang banging. Eventually, JR had to serve time in jail due to his behavior. Once he was released, he went back to school where he met his mentor. Once he started getting his grades back on track, JR tried looking for work programs to enroll in. He found out about OYE through staff at The Unity Council’s Early Head Start program. When JR and his mentor came in they worried that we would not be able to help them because of his status, but the Unity Council let him know his status would not be an issue. JR’s dedication to the programs has been truly impressive. Since JR has joined OYE, he has not missed a day of workshop. He also completed all of OYE “extra hours” requirements, and JR has taken it upon himself to acquire even more hours than were asked of him. It has been a pleasure working with JR up to this point. Our Youth Employment Coordinator told JR, “I’m really proud of all of the work that you’ve been putting in so far. Keep it up!”
Youth Employment Partnership– Youth Employment Services
One of our Oakland Unite after school jobs trainees is a 17 year-old youth who was referred to the YEP program by a Street Outreach Worker. He enrolled in the YEP program with failing grades and was behind in credits entering his senior year in the fall. He successfully completed the YEP program which gained him 5 recovery credits for school. He has also gained work experience through his worksite at the City of Oakland as an Administrative Assistant. He returned to school in September and unlike his previous 3 years of high school, he has been attending regularly throughout his senior year. He is scheduled to graduate in June.
Youth Radio– Youth Employment Services
Youth Radio participant, M.O. displayed vast improvement in behavior and level of engagement over the course of 6 months and as a result, has earned himself an internship. Prior to YR, he had a history of anger issues, both in school and at home, identified by his case manager outside of YR. MATCH coordinator, Allen worked closely with his case manager to identify the best methods to support M.O. Along with his training, M.O. also received individual support services as well as one-on-one instruction with Allen. This built confidence and slowly M.O. started to “come out of his shell”. M.O started showing he understood the importance of professionalism and self-awareness. Additionally, staff throughout the building will testify that M.O. is a joy to have not only in programming but throughout the building.
Youth UpRising — Youth Employment Services
“Eduardo” is a senior at the Sustainable Urban Design Academy (SUDA) at Castlemont High School, who has grown from both one-on-one academic and case-management services. Eduardo came to Castlemont in the beginning of his junior year, where he struggled with his attendance and grades. Even though Eduardo has had a number of hardships, he worked hard this year to overcome them. He started in SUDA Works in September 2012. Through the weekly training Eduardo has grown to take a leadership role at his work site Guns to Gardens. This year, not only has Eduardo shown growth in his leadership, he improved in his grades and attendance. Last year his Spring 2013 GPA was 1.83, and his Fall 2014 GPA was 2.6, an increase of 0.77. His attendance has also increased this school year. Although he entered Castlemont being deficient in credits and will not be able to graduate this year, he remains motivated to graduate. His teachers have expressed they have also observed an overall change in his attitude and determination to succeed. YU staff is working with Castlemont staff to develop a plan for him to graduate and to ensure that he keeps on track and explore his future aspirations to attend culinary school at Laney College this summer.
Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) – Restorative Justice
Throughout the current school year, a steady stream of students had been complaining to Eric Butler, the school’s Restorative Justice Coordinator, and Kamilah Mitchell, the Student Leadership Coordinator, about cyber bullying. Eric and Kamilah decided that they would play out a fictionalized personal conflict between the two of them near the cafeteria just as all students were gathering in that area during the lunch hour. They planned on making the drama as believable as possible. The conflict originated in intentional postings by Eric on facebook of very unbecoming pictures of Kamilah. On the appointed day of the role play, Kamilah confronted Eric about the posting near the cafeteria. He responded by yelling at her. They both started to use abusive language at the top of their lungs. Going on and on, the ruckus quickly attracted a crowd of students. The first to speak up was a student well known for fomenting conflict on social media. She encouraged Kamilah to “stop arguing because you guys are looking like us”. Another student literally grabbed Kamilah’s arms to de-escalate. She pulled her away and urged: “You all need to sit down in a circle and talk about this with respect, just like you’ve taught us to do.” To make it as believable as possible, Eric had earlier clued in support staff and site administrators. When the principal arrived on the scene, she told students, “Alright, say goodbye to Mr. Butler because this is his last day at work.” Students gasped. Eric responded “Gotcha!” You could hear a collective sigh of relief. Creating quite a buzz, during the next weeks, the scenario led to campus-wide Talking Circles about violence prevention and cyber bullying facilitated by Eric and Kamilah. It is precisely these kinds of creative ways of engaging students in addition to the standard restorative justice interventions that have transformed the school climate.
OUSD Alternative Education – Gang Prevention
An extraordinary case this quarter involves a mother daughter pair. The mother, whom we will call “Anna” came to the group on the first night with her children. The oldest, “Rebecca” who is 13 years old, came that night in order to help watch her younger siblings. It was that first night that Rebecca shared with the parent group that she recently had become estranged from her friends. Slowly, Rebecca’s story unfolded and she shared that her friends had become interested in gangs. Rebecca shared that her friends had been going to “kick backs” or social gatherings of older and more experienced youth who are often gang involved or gang impacted, and where alcohol and other substances are almost always available. Since Anna had sent such clear and consistent messages to all her children about the negative impact of alcohol, she was a bit dumbfounded to hear her 13 year old child being actively offered alcohol by her “friends”. Due to the safe environment created by the facilitators and upheld by the other parents, Anna was able to learn from her own daughter’s words that Rebecca chose on her own to stop hanging out with that group. We work hard to provide informational sessions but also to create safe spaces where stories of success like this can be shared and celebrated.
Alameda County Health Care Services Agency — OUR KIDS Middle School Model
One example of the importance of the Clinical Case Management Model’s (CCM) crisis response work can be seen in the events following the tragic murder of a popular 8th grade student at Alliance Academy. On New Year’s Day of this year, this student was gunned down on the corner of 104th and Walnut after spending the evening at a New Year’s eve event at the Boys and Girls Club- a place he had spent much of free his time since he was 6 years-old. Jasmine, an Our Kids Our Families CCM at Elmhurst Community Prep/Alliance Academy, who had been part of the OKOF program for only two months, immediately worked to mobilize the resources on site and provided support to grieving students and staff. For several weeks after the tragedy, Jasmine worked with the on-site EPSDT provider to provide crisis support and grief circles to over 150 students on campus. Jasmine and her colleague also created handouts for staff that included general information on the stages of grief and crisis support. As a result of the mobilized response, Jasmine reports that the school community is more connected and there is more of a sense of unity. In February, students and staff organized a peace march to commemorate the student that was murdered and to advocate for less violence in their community. They wore t-shirts that said “love, not guns” with the student’s picture. In the hallways of Alliance Academy, students have hung posters with messages of community and peace such as “Let’s love each other more.”
BAWAR — Outreach to CSEC
A 17 year old victim of trafficking returned home in late December after being away 13 months at a group home. She was met at the airport by her BAWAR advocates and has remained in weekly contact with her BAWAR counselor. She receives weekly tutoring from volunteer staff, is thriving in school and has her first job. In addition, she has been receiving all of the services MISSSEY, one of BAWAR’s partner agencies, has provided. To go from the back of a police car as the result of a Human Task Force special operation, to juvenile hall, to a group home and then to return to society, all while utilizing the very advocacy and services that were there for her during her initial contact with law enforcement is a HUGE accomplishment. She is stable and is a true example as to how wraparound CSEC services provide immediate stabilization, advocacy, court accompaniment, in-custody visits, weekly phone calls and case management to clients who are affected by child trafficking and in contact with the Juvenile Justice System.
MISSSEY — Outreach to CSEC
At the age of 14, ArGr began to exploit herself on International Boulevard because she was in dire need of food, which was not being provided to her by her mother. She had grown up around prostitution and saw no other way to feed herself. She had one pimp who drugged her and had her recruit another young girl to work for him. She eventually left the life and came to MISSSEY through a referral from a school counselor. Since coming to MISSSEY, ArGr has gotten back on track with school, her relationships and her self-worth. She got pregnant last year and chose to keep the baby because she was confident she could not only be an amazing mother, but provide for her child in the long term. Indeed, she is an exemplary mother and has, over the past year, made positive changes to improve the life of her and her child. While she was pregnant she was living with her mother who was smoking cigarettes in the house. ArGr advocated for herself and got placed somewhere so that her child would not be at risk. The SPA recently took a field trip to visit UC Berkeley where she talked openly to other students about her determination to make it to college, despite being a young mom. Her dream is to one day have her own organization for disenfranchised youth.
Safe Passages – Mental Health Services for Ages 0-5
During this quarter at the Eastmont Head Start, the intervention processes and services in place were fully utilized to provide crisis support to a young boy and his mother after the boy’s father was shot and killed. This child’s parents were separated but he spent alternating weeks with his mother and father and was very close to his father, who played an active and consistent role in his life. The mental health consultant was present when the child’s mother came to school with this news and was able to help provide support to his mother in delivering the news to her child. Information was given to his mother about the grieving of young children and the mother was connected with groups that addressed grieving in families with young children. Finally, the child was referred for consultant services and in-home intensive parent-child psychotherapy. The child is going through a normal grieving process but appears to feel supported at school. He is able to engage with his peers and his school activities again.
The Link to Children — Mental Health Services for Ages 0-5
Now almost 5 years old, X and his grandmother V have been seen together at one of the TLC satellite clinics since the child was almost 3 years old. The child lost his mother to violence just before treatment started, yet even before losing his mother the child was having difficulty in his preschool. Following his mother’s murder the child’s already difficult behaviors worsened. X’s primary caregiver since his mother’s death has been the maternal grandmother who was struggling with the loss of her daughter, health problems, and the stress of being a caregiver to the toddler as well as an adult family member with a serious illness. X’s father had made intermittent efforts to participate in therapy but had struggled with a chronic relapsing substance abuse disorder. The first several months of the treatment relationship were quite difficult for the family. In recent months, the grandmother has been able to come to terms with the fact that should something happen to her, X’s father would not be able to provide a consistent safe home environment for X. The grandmother has recently begun to explore more active ways of planning for the child’s future and is exploring becoming the child’s sole legal guardian.
Family Violence Law Center — Family Violence Intervention
Alice and the father of her children, Damon, had been together for more than eight years and Damon had been abusing Alice and their children for their entire relationship. Alice had called the Oakland Police Department for help many times and had contacted FVLC once in the past but had not been ready to leave Damon. In January, Alice contacted FVLC’s Mobile Response Team after Damon physically abused her and said she was ready to leave. FVLC helped Alice find space at a domestic violence shelter for her and her children. FVLC prepared her restraining order paperwork and helped her file the request with the court. The restraining order paperwork included a request that Alice be granted custody of the children. A temporary order was granted which included stay away and no contact orders gave custody to Alice and denied visitation to Damon. FVLC then began working with Alice to find housing. FVLC advocated for Alice with the Alameda Point Collaborative to help her complete her application for transitional housing. FVLC also provided her with a Victims of Crime application so she could apply for funds to help her pay back rent that is due on her former lease. At the time of this report, Alice’s housing application is complete, and is accepted and she is now waiting for a unit to open up.
Center for Employment Opportunities – Young Adult Reentry Services
Mr. G is a 24 year old African American male with very limited work skills and a past history of incarceration. He was referred to CEO by his Parole Agent to assist with finding regular employment and stabilizing his life. Mr. G arrived at CEO in the fall of 2013 and he appeared withdrawn and just going through the motions to satisfy his legal obligations. His girlfriend was expecting a baby and he didn’t have a job. Mr. G enrolled in the Success Skills life skills class that is a prerequisite to enrolling in the Paid Transitional Jobs program in which you are paid daily. While employed in the transitional job, Mr. G worked with CEO’s Job Coach to develop his interviewing techniques and complete his resume. Once he was ready for the competitive labor market he began meeting with a CEO Employment Specialist, Ms. Maxwell, to secure full-time employment. Mr. G had indicated an interest in Grocery Store work and warehousing. Ms. Maxwell received a job announcement at Revolution Foods through Inner City Advisors (ICA), CEO’s partner, and it seemed like a good fit for Mr. G. His interview went so well that he was offered the job on the spot working full-time as a Porter for $9 per hour with benefits. Today, he has successfully been employed for 180 days and is on track to receive a pay increase soon. Mr. G has since added a new addition to his family, a beautiful baby boy who he reports has made him appreciate his life more, giving him new meaning and direction. Mr. G is enjoying fatherhood and is proud to be able to help support his family.
Civicorps Schools – Young Adult Reentry Services
DR is formerly incarcerated and on probation for a violent offense. DR was referred to Civicorps by his Probation Officer and since joining he has made excellent progress. He is aware of the obstacles he needs to overcome to be successful. He takes advantage of every opportunity to experience new things with Civicorps, including: community service trip to Yosemite National Park, participating in the Shakespeare production, a ski trip and a trip to the Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. DR is also on our Student Action Team that worked in coordination with Koreatown-Northgate Business District and Casey Farmer, Policy Analyst and Community Liaison for City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney to set the parameters for a designated “Youth Zone” at First Fridays. Prior to kick off, SAT members discussed effective ways to engage and mentor youth. SAT will be hosting a booth at First Fridays to engage youth. DR attended a recent Ceasefire follow up dinner out of personal interest- he was a participant 2-3 years ago and says he was not ready to hear it at the time. He is currently pursuing the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Hazwoper) certification. He says, “I’m going to take advantage of everything you guys have to offer.”
Men of Valor Academy – Young Adult Reentry Services
We have had major success with a particular client we’ll call “John”. John has a very traumatic background that makes his case very unique. His mom died in his arms when he was 8 yrs old. John was moved throughout several foster homes which left him feeling abandoned throughout his life. He never received any counseling (grief or psychological) after his mother’s death and growing up he continually sought the love and attention he desperately needed through wrong associations with street gangs. Although having a responsible foster home to grow up in, guidance and attention were lacking, giving him the opportunity to create unhealthy relationships. John came to Men of Valor on his own accord and was subsequently contacted by Ceasefire and engaged in services through Ceasefire case management. John has since gone become a public spokesperson for the value of this work, by speaking at numerous events and conferences. He is currently working with Men of Valor as a monitor and seeking employment with Horizon beverages as a warehouse worker. If successful in acquiring the new job he will have benefits as well as a raise. He has also has received a forklift training certification which will increase his chances for employment.
Oakland Private Industry Council – Young Adult Reentry Services
J.J. was recruited into the program from Alameda County Probation. He was on probation for serious felony offenses and had a history of involvement with the juvenile and adult justice systems. J.J. performed very well during the orientation and pre-employment phases of the program and was offered his choice of career pathways. He chose the Bread Project’s culinary training. Early in the training, J.J. expressed frustration at the pace of his training and about continuing in it, feeling that it would not lead him to his career goal of having his own bakery business. However, before making any decision in this regard, J.J. contacted his case manager Glenn, who visited him onsite and reminded him of the soft skills training that he had received in the program and how to use it to his advantage. J.J. decided to apply himself harder to the training and to stay with it. The result was that during the training, his work was so exemplary that he was hired by the Bread Project as a driver for their business enterprise, while he completed baking training. Once his baking training was completed, J.J. was promoted to a baking production supervisor at a higher rate of pay and which has now put him on a path to his own baking business. J.J. also is establishing his own business in addition to his work as a baking production supervisor. To quote J.J. “I had doubts about staying but because you convinced me not to quit, everything worked out very well for me. Thank you.” His case manager said, “He had everything he needed from the start. Our program helped him to see what was already evident to us.”
Volunteers of America – Young Adult Reentry Services
“Mr. K” came to the Crew Base from the East House, one of our VOA Parolee Service Centers after he was paroled. Prior to entering the program, Mr. K had a few run-ins with the law and eventually got arrested. While incarcerated Mr. K made a conscious decision to change and he expressed a desire to become a better citizen; Mr. K knew this would also make him a better parent. He started by becoming employed with Crew Based. A month before graduating, Mr. K stepped up his job search. He updated his resume and requested a letter showing he worked for Volunteers of America. The morning of January 4th, 2013 Mr. K came into the office saying he had an interview with Goodwill Industries and a few days later he received an offer for employment. He negotiated his hours with Goodwill to eliminate any conflict with Crew Based hours, which allowed him to work both jobs. Mr. K successfully obtained his driver’s license and in November 2013 he began working for the City of Oakland as a Park Attendant. He has been working for the City of Oakland ever since and is doing very well.
Youth Employment Partnership – Young Adult Reentry Services
YEP’s re-entry client is an 18 year-old Young Adult participant that entered the YEP program after being sexually exploited and on Probation. She started in February 2014 and is currently still enrolled in the Young Adult Program. She has created a resume and has gained professional job skills. This YEP trainee has become a role model for other sexually exploited youth that are trying to changes their lives in a positive way. She has referred other young women that have a history of being sexually exploited. She credits the YEP program in supporting her development of professional and customer service skills that made her employable and helped her as an individual. She is a Customer Service Representative at a Boutique.
Youth UpRising – Young Adult Reentry Services
D.T. is a 21 year old male who was raised by his grandmother in East Oakland. D.T .completed high school in 2010, despite learning challenges related to being hearing impaired since age 2 ½. D.T. made some poor decisions which landed him on probation since 2010 following a robbery charge. He is approaching completion of probation terms. YU Excel staff assisted D.T. with managing SSI rules around employment and he has support in identifying housing options as he is ready to move out on his own from his grandmother’s home. D.T.’s case manager has also scheduled him an appointment with the Department of Rehabilitation to access additional employment resources beyond the YU Excel program. With staff support and encouragement, he enrolled in the Intro to Manufacturing Certificate Program at Laney College. Instructional staff reports D.T to be engaged and a good student despite a history of disability and learning challenges. After requesting a transition in work placement from Boys and Girls Club, D.T .is newly assigned to Roberta’s Day Care, awaiting fingerprint clearance. He shared: “If I didn’t get this help I probably would be in the hospital or jail… My grandmother can see the change I’ve made and that makes her proud. She thought I wasn’t going to make it. I’m going to make it!”
The Mentoring Center – Project Choice
Our case study focuses on a program participant who came to The Mentoring Center’s Project Choice as a walk-in. He was on community probation and was frustrated by the fact that he had no permanent living situation plus several warrants in Oakland and in Southern California. The participant expressed that he felt that he could benefit from The Mentoring Center’s Anger Management sessions and The Mentoring Center’s Project Choice. Working in collaboration with Oakland Private Industry Council and the Probation Department, The Mentoring Center’s Project Choice was able to assist the participant in managing his emotions and getting him to court in Southern California where he was able to get community service in San Francisco. He has nearly finished his community service and has been able to obtain a car. He continues to attend and fully participate in The Mentoring Center’s Transformative Manhood Group. At the last meeting he was quoted as saying to the group facilitator “pretty soon I will be ready to take your job”.
Volunteers of America — Project Choice
A young African American male that has a history of alcohol or drug abuse is one of our successful participants this quarter because he has demonstrated a high degree of resiliency and has overcome many socioeconomic barriers including incarceration, homelessness, unemployment and criminal behavior. While Mr. B was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison he was informed about Project Choice and Mr. B decided that he was done with criminal behavior because the 7 years that he spent incarcerated was not worth what he had lost. Since Mr. B has reentered the community he has achieved many goals. He was present for his son’s baptism, he received his driver’s license, he obtained permanent part time employment, and has also improved his relationship with his former wife. Mr. B is an active participant in the Project Choice Wednesday night group meetings. These types of results make Project Choice a highly sought after program by inmates at San Quentin and recently paroled men returning to Oakland. Most of the young men find Project Choice through parole, law enforcement; friends, family and other community based organizations because Project Choice provides a strong support structure. The resources and referrals this intensive case management model has been fully adopted by Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada management and has led to many successful outcomes.
Oakland California Youth Outreach – Oakland Street Outreach Services
EB was a former Dewey student and former gang-involved youth, who self referred himself to our services in August 2013. Initially EB called looking to connect with services to get employment and enroll in school. After meeting with EB and discussing his case plan, our Case Manager identified several other risk factors, beyond employment and housing barriers. In addition many services had been limited to EB due to his undocumented status. Over the past 8 months, with the support of Oakland Unite services and other community partners, EB has become a success story. Case Manager, Victor says, “EB has come a long ways from high school to working and establishing a household for his new born”. EB’s Case Manager supported him with applying for the Dream Act by connecting him to free, local legal aid provider. EB is now successfully receiving the benefits of the Dream Act and was able to obtain his California Driver’s License and is now employed. This has not been an easy transition to success, but EB did not let the challenges and obstacles he experienced get in his way.
Healthy Oakland– Oakland Street Outreach Services
A client X was in sporadic contact with our case manager in 2011 & 2012. He received some referrals for employment but continued to experience on-going issues with family, domestic violence charges, and criminal case involvement. Early in 2013, he became much more focused and began to consistently participate in the mandated domestic violence/anger management classes and secured & maintained two part time jobs. He now attends college part-time and our agency, Healthy Communities, signed him up for health care for himself and his children. His enrollment in psychotherapy has helped him to confront issues and accept the role he plays in his problems with law enforcement, family and almost everyone else. He has completed 32 Domestic Violence/Anger Management sessions and he still maintains his two jobs, as well as being enrolled at community college. He says that he is managing his life much better and his participation in Healthy Oakland has given him the support he needs to confront his issues positively.
Catholic Charities of the East Bay – Crisis Response and Support Network
The Justice Toliver tragedy was a city loss; the Oakland Unite Crisis Response Team worked tirelessly to ensure as much peace for the city and the family as possible. All members of the City’s crisis team were actively involved. KWP immediately began supporting Justice’s immediate family, and soon provided first response services to her extended family as well. Throughout this delicate situation YA!, CCEB and Street Outreach handled their roles appropriately and in close coordination. CCEB was asked to provide additional crisis support during the wake and funeral services, and so a Lead Clinical Case Manager and 2 support staff attended both the wake and funeral. There were a number of OUSD students in attendance and some needed additional grief support; however mainly the presence provided additional visible support for family & friends. Street Outreach was also present offering support. CCEB continues to provide on-going intensive clinical case management services when appropriate to those affected by this tragedy.
Youth ALIVE! – Highland Hospital Intervention
“Anthony” is a 17-year-old African-American male referred to Youth ALIVE’s Caught in the Crossfire program in January 2014 after being admitted into Highland Hospital. Anthony was attacked and struck in the head with a metal pipe. Anthony had been living with his mother, for less than six months as he had been in the Foster Care system for the previous five years. Rafael, a Youth ALIVE Case Manager, met with Anthony at Highland while another case manager Kyndra made the connection with his mother over the telephone. Anthony expressed interest in wanting services but did not have consistent access to a phone. After two weeks of inconsistent contact Anthony called and stated that he wanted to go to a shelter. Kyndra contacted Dream Catchers to see if there was a bed available for him, and once he was there he enrolled himself into Next Step Learning Center so he could prepare to take his GED. While Anthony was at Dream Catchers, Youth ALIVE agreed to purchase him a cell phone so that he could remain in constant contact with both Rafael and Kyndra. Kyndra also contacted First Place for Youth so that Anthony could enroll in a program that offered services for former and current Foster Care youth. Kyndra and Rafael remain in contact with Anthony and are continuing to support him and help him navigate the Foster Care system where he is eligible for transitional housing and other support services.
ALL NAMES ARE PSEUDONYMS TO PROTECT THE IDENTITY OF INDIVIDUALS