By Post Staff
“Effective programs for urban young people need to address five needs – a sense of belonging and security; financial resources; meaningful education; success at a significant endeavor; and real paths to future careers and education,” says Kitty Kelly Epstein, one of those leading the High School Pathways Project in East Oakland.
Participants in the project celebrated successful completion of the summer program with speeches and plaques at the Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation this month. Students spoke to the sense of belonging, which they had developed through trips and discussions.
Many of the students received awards for perfect attendance at their Laney College classes, even though some had not attended school so regularly during the school year. And they talked with excitement about their hopes for part-time jobs and future careers in teaching and community work.
The program takes a holistic approach, offering college classes in the summer, part-time education-related jobs during the school year, and outstanding youth engagement specialists from Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation (Libre) and Leadership Excellence who bring the youth together to support each other and enhance awareness of history and culture.
The project is a joint initiative of the Oakland Unified School District and the Office of Mayor Ron Dellums and receives financial resources from the California Emergency Management Agency .