Oakland Leaf’s COVID-19 Response Efforts
With the health and safety of our students and community as our top priority, Oakland Leaf transitioned all our programming online in March of 2020 to align with the local shelter-in-place order. We immediately began facilitating virtual programming, including restorative justice circles, daily one-on-one check-ins with youth, and video tutorials and webinars. We centered our program themes of socio-emotional learning, critical thinking, creative expression, and leadership development, engaging students in fun and meaningful ways, while providing them with a sense of connection, community, and stability in a time of unprecedented social disconnection and uncertainty. As of August, 2021, Oakland Leaf resumed in-person programming for all our afterschool and internship programs.
As part of our ongoing commitment to increase access to healthy food for our students and families, we make weekly home deliveries of organic produce from our gardens and additional produce and fresh bread donated by local business partners. Oakland Leaf has also provided dozens of youth interns with the materials and guidance to create and cultivate bountiful home gardens. Interns grow a range of veggies, herbs, and medicinal plants to feed and support the wellness of their families.
Basic Needs Supply Distribution
Oakland Leaf families have lost jobs, homes, and loved ones to the pandemic. When we realized many families in our community were going without the necessities of life like soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste, we launched our basic needs pantry. We received supply donations from our community and made these items available to the East Oakland families who needed them most. We distributed items with our food drop-offs and families also picked up items from our Basic Needs Center, which was temporarily housed in an empty classroom at one of our Fruitvale neighborhood schools.
Support for Families
Oakland Leaf staff compiled and disseminated a comprehensive list of resources and facilitated numerous group workshops and one-on-one meetings to help parents apply for unemployment, small business loans, and other resources. We also distributed hundreds of reusable masks in the Fruitvale and East Oakland, the neighborhoods with the highest COVID infection rates in the Bay Area.