Self-reported rates of gang involvement are higher for Oakland youth compared to county and state averages for students in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades. Approximately, 40% of all homicides in Oakland in 2008 were directly gang-related. Child poverty in Oakland has increased more than 30% in three years, from 25% of youth in poverty in 2007 to 33% in 2010. Oakland Leaf cultivates leadership and empowerment by giving youth and their parents the tools and resources necessary to break these cycles of violence and poverty.
We provide a continuum of services that ensure that our students achieve academically as they develop into thoughtful and creative adults, find their voice, feel their power, dream, achieve, and develop community. Our after-school and summer programs offer students the opportunity to engage their bodies in physical movement, sisterhood/brotherhood circles (Leaf Cyphers), think critically, express themselves in various art forms, and heal. We also provide healthy male and female role models from a variety of backgrounds, and allow students the chance to become role models themselves. The young men and women in our programs are taught to honor themselves, each other, their parents, and their elders. Many of our graduates become highly skilled instructors in our summer camp and our after-school programs.
We offer our students an average of 10 hours per week of leadership and empowerment programming, 10 months per year. Below is a sample of the Leadership & Empowerment classes and activities we offer:
- Building Intentional Community Leaders
- Leaders of Today
- Paid internship program
- Sports & Leadership
- Scholars in Training
- Student Leaders