Oakland youth program hurt by its success

February 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
We have an amazing Oakland success story about a center offering afterschool programs that is doing so well, they've run out of busses to transport the children they serve. This is one of several stories we heard about at an ABC7 Listens meeting recently. That event took place at the East Oakland Youth Development Center. It's a group dedicated to helping children become independent and aware citizens.

Regina Jackson is the executive director of the East Oakland Youth Development Center on International Boulevard.

"We have visual, performing, and culinary arts. We have recreational programming which includes basketball, track and field, martial arts. Then we have the afterschool homework academy and we have computers," said Jackson.

On some days, Jackson is also a driver, picking up kids from Futures Elementary School. The EOYDC can only afford to shuttle the kids one day a week, kids who don't have any other way to get there.

"We've got a very busy street, parents are worried about the violence, so kids can't walk 10 or 12 blocks that they maybe used to and sometimes they're not even comfortable with the buses," said Jackson.

Right now, they transport about 60 kids from seven Oakland schools in just two vans.

"It's very fantastic. I get to do fun activities. I like to go in the gym and play, do art and cook, and do the drums," said student Carlin Pierre.

Pierre is a 5th grader from Futures. Kania Banks is from the same school.

"It's fun and you get to go to the gym after you're done with your homework and to the art center and paint," said Banks.

Because the program is such a success, Jackson said, "We have 100 percent acceptance rate into college, a 96 percent rate retention rate."

They're adding three more schools to the program. Jackson says they have the capacity to double that, but not without some help.

"We have two vans. One that's 15 years old and one that's 10 years old. Now, we maintain them, but it would just be better to have a newer set of wheels," said Jackson.

That's so more kids can continue to come to the East Oakland Youth Development Center.

If you would like to help the East Oakland Youth Development Center, you can make a donation on their website at www.eoydc.org , email at regina@eoydc.org or call 510-569-8088

This story developed from our ABC7 Listens town hall meeting at the EOYDC in Oakland. If your organization would like to partner with ABC7 to host the next meeting, go the ABC7 Listens Meetings page.

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