Youth Community Center and Garden

Growing up in East Oakland, there is very little offered to us youth, so we decided to create a space for teens to make our own decisions about what we want for our community. We wish to transform a donated space into a multi purpose community center and a garden for holding community events. It is important to create simple ways to come together, to learn about each other, to grow our relationships by bonding with each other, and to celebrate the diversity that surrounds our beloved city, Oakland than peace is achievable.
As an LGBTQ-welcoming environment, we will create a culture at our community center where everyone can be and express themselves, while having their ideas and different viewpoints shared. Jay and Narina are poets and writers, and have been holding spaces for middle schoolers to have a Gay-Straight Alliance. Katebah is a passionate writer, organizer and peace builder, and teaches skateboarding with Katherine. Katherine and Vanessa and Marwat are artists with a vision more grand than would fit on a canvass. Rocio and Vei are passionate debaters and writers. We want to foster creativity, belonging, and new friendships in our neighborhood by offering music, writing, art, dance, and skateboarding classes.

Our schools do not offer these opportunities, and while Esme is an activist for better schools and teachers, we took it upon ourselves to put our ideas into action. Making music or any form of creative expression is what we turn to to keep us going. Some of our close friends have dropped out due to the lack of support and inspiration in school. Sharing our different ideas, supporting each other, and expressing ourselves helps us overcome our struggles. We want to garden to promote healthy eating habits and educate everyone about the different types of vegetables and fruits that we can grow. Sally is a peer health educator, and Khawlah and Rattana are avid gardeners. So as you can see we are dedicated to building up our community.

Funded by San Francisco, CA (March 2013)