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November 2014    


Summer Time Learning Leads to Tremendous Academic Achievement


Research demonstrates that the summer can be a time of academic loss for many students; with varied schedules, less adult supervision and other distractions, children are less likely to engage in learning activities.  The intent of Safe Passages' summer programs is to allow children to learn while having fun in a safe nurturing environment.   


This past summer, Safe Passages was honored to work with over 250 students and family members in summer programs at four schools in Oakland. In just six weeks, students made tremendous academic strides.

At one school in particular, Coliseum College Preparatory, rising 6th graders focused on improving reading academic skills.
Their results were significant: participating youth boosted their reading scores by 84 points in the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) as compared to a loss of 4 points for non-participating youth. This is equivalent to a whole grade level improvement in reading scores. 


The SRI is a "computer adaptive" reading comprehension test that assesses student reading levels, tracks students' growth over time, matches readers to text, and helps guide instruction.


Amy Boyle, CCPA Assistant Principal explains,"
Having engaging and academically challenging curriculum over the summer is crucial for all students, but particularly in bridging the gap between elementary and middle school accomplishments."





"Oakland Never Expires" - A Youth Lead Social Enterprise 



O.N.E. stands for "Oakland Never Expires" - is the name Oakland youth have given their exciting urban arts apparel company. In partnership with the Mayor's Summer Jobs Program, Safe Passages joined forces with Oakland youth to create an Urban Arts Initiative dedicated to uplifting our consciousness.



The youth in this social enterprise seek to shift the perception of Oakland by portraying images of peace, hope and strength through their art. Youth learn to design and print their own unique art designs and graphics on products that include apparel back packs and even iPhone covers. 


In the words of the youth in the program:


"We are a collective of Oakland youth artists that bring a transformative vision to the world of apparel. Our collective provides the four elements of hip hop through custom fashion, web designing, music, and movement. We can personalize anything from the hat on your head to the case in your hand. Our company's major goal is to enhance the lives of our local communities while having a positive global impact. We are O.N.E. (Oakland Never Expires)."


Last summer, aside from the creation of products for sale, youth also developed a business plan, created a logo and developed a website 








Law and Social Justice - the Role of Life Coaches




Living in a low income housing development in West Oakland, James, age 17, has already experienced a number of life challenges. James was raised in a single parent household, without his father who is in prison.   After an arrest for a minor offense, the court urged James to enroll in the Safe Passages Law and Social Justice Program where he would be paired with a Life Coach as mentor.


After just one year in the program, James has already received tremendous support from his Life Coach. James  completed his first resume, attended job fairs, applied for employment, and gained a new perspective on his future. James received his high school diploma, is now enrolled in college and is gainfully employed.



Through the Law and Social Justice Program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Safe Passages has implemented a innovative Life  Coach model. Life Coaches provide case management, job training, diversion programming, education plans and support, legal services, mentoring, and service learning opportunities. Life  Coaches come from a diversity of professional backgrounds from teachers, to artists, to Restorative Justice facilitators; often, they grew up in the same neighborhoods and share similar experiences as the youth served.


"I know what these young men and women are experiencing. I grew up in a rough neighborhood myself and fell prey to negative influences. I want young people to know that there are adults who care about them and show them how to fulfil their dreams," says Francisco Zepeda, Life Coach.


We invite you to meet our stellar Law and Social Justice Team:

From Left to Right: Francisco Zepeda (Life Coach), James Madison (Life Coach), Lauren Chambers (Life Coach), Josefina Alvarado Mena (CEO Safe Passages), Quinta Seward (Deputy Director), Jonathan Brumfield (Life Coach), Isabelle Mussard (Law and Social Justice Program Director)  

Governor Brown Celebrates AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary 


   AmeriCorps Logo


On September 12th, Safe Passages' AmeriCorps members participated in the 20th Anniversary of the nation's oldest state conservation corps at the Presidio Institute in San Francisco. Governor Brown welcomed over 1,000 AmeriCorps volunteers, congratulating them for their service and reminding them of the importance of their efforts.



Brown told the volunteers that in an era when "things don't work in Washington, Europe is having its problems with stagnation ... there's a lot of things you can be worried about." But "the point is not to worry about stuff, but to do things and to get engaged as you are," Brown said - "in a neighborhood, on a block, in a service center, in a community."


Safe Passages Elev8 AmeriCorps members are doing just that during their one year commitment as mentors in some of Oakland's and San Lorenzo neediest schools. To date over 200 Volunteers have worked with students to improve their self- confidence and academic skills, and organize neighborhoods to participate in community improvement efforts.


"It was an honor celebrating the 20th anniversary of Americorps with fellow service leaders from around the state of California," recalls Laura Schrenk, an Elev8 Youth AmeriCorps. "The Presidio was full of positive energy and great appreciation for all the wonderful work that comes from AmeriCorps organizations."



The Safe Passages Elev8 Youth AmeriCorps Program is in its fifth year of operation. The program has grown from 28 to 45 members and serves 15 schools in Oakland and San Lorenzo. To date, AmeriCorps Members have provided mentorship and academic tutoring to over 1,500 middle school students. The program has proven to effectively increase academic skills: evaluations show that 89% of the students improved at least one whole functional grade level after the intervention.


Recruiting of new members for the 2015-16 school year begins in January. If you know a young college graduate who is exploring the fields of education, psychology or any helping profession, this is a great opportunity to gain valuable professional skills while earning college scholarships. Please log onto: for more information about applying. 


In This Issue
Summer Time, Individualized Learning
We are O.N.E. - A Youth Led Social Enterprise
Law and Social Justice Life Coaches
Governor Brown Celebrates AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary



Safe Passages disrupts the cycle of poverty by engaging youth and families to build and drive a continuum of services that supports student success and community development.     


We envision a community where all young people have the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Our work is based on the premises that access to educational opportunity, health services, and family support should not be dictated by race or socio-economic status, and that healthy and supported young people are better prepared to learn and succeed.

Safe Passages' strategies span the age continuum of birth through young adulthood and include: Early Childhood, School Linked Services, Juvenile Justice and Career Pathways. 


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