By Post Staff
Mayor Ron Dellums and the Oakland Police Department are working with the national O.K. (Our Kids) Mentorship Program to create a local partnership between police, schools, students, community members and the faith community to provide positive guidance for youth who are at high risk for incarceration and homicide.
The focus of the program will be young African-American men between the ages of 12-18 years old. Utilizing one-on-one mentoring, the program is designed to reduce the high incarceration rate of African American males, reduce gang affiliation and gun violence and promote healthy life styles and academic performance.
“This program is one of the ways we can step up” to meet the needs of young African American men,” said Mayor Dellums, speaking at the program’s kick-off press conference last Saturday at Acts Full Gospel Church.
“One reason I’m here today is because someone stepped up and gave me an opportunity,” he said. “Life is a marathon; it is my generation’s job to pass the baton to the generation of our youth, and it is their job to pass the baton to the next generation.”
The program is starting with from 200 to 250 volunteers, more than other cities where the O.K. Mentorship is located, which is largely due to the efforts of Acts Full Gospel and Allen Temple Baptist Church in recruiting mentors, Dellums said.
Dellums has a long history of working on behalf of young people, including serving as the chair of the national Dellums Commission, which made a comprehensive study of the conditions facing young men of color, including an examination of federal, state and local policies in the areas of health and mental health services, education, juvenile justice, criminal justice, family support and child welfare.
The City of Oakland was selected as an O.K. program affiliate, joining Little Rock, AR, Indianapolis IN, and Monroe, LA. Currently, the Oakland O.K. Program affiliate is recruiting and training men of good standing in the Oakland community to act as mentors for students attending public middle and high schools in Oakland.
Oakland Police Officer Nathan Brooks is the coordinator of the program. For more information and to volunteer, call (510) 750-4541 or email firstname.lastname@example.org