February 2016

Greetings from the CEO
Dear Friends,
Safe Passages, now in its 21st year, remains first and foremost a community organization. We are funded and supported by many different sources, but our work is primarily meant to strengthen the community right here in Oakland. We measure our success by looking to the families and youth we serve, examining how well their needs are being met, and looking for ways to help them build up their communities. Engagement with the community, then, is a core tenet of our work.
Our success is therefore dependent on strong communication with the Oakland community. For that reason, I am starting a blog series called Just A Minute in hopes that it will allow Oakland residents to become more involved and aware of the work we do, as well as create another space to learn about the history behind these issues and boost awareness of opportunities to become involved in creating positive change.
My colleagues and I have a unique perspective into Oakland. Our work offers perspective into the daily struggles, the hard-fought victories, and the unspoken needs that exist and persist throughout the area. With my new blog, I want to share the lessons learned from this work in the hopes that they can inform the larger, structural questions that activists and social justice advocates grapple with today. Our work occurs at the ground-level, person to person. But our efforts, when done at a critical mass, are what create the necessary shifts at the larger level.
So, with this blog, I welcome any and all to become involved in this organization and involved in the march towards progress: the march towards a brighter Oakland. Please join our mailing list, like us on Facebook, leave thoughts, suggestions, and concerns in the comment section, and become a part of our mission to build a brighter future.

Warm Regards,


Josefina Alvarado Mena
CEO Safe Passages
Upcoming Opportunity
   AmeriCorps Logo
Make a difference in your community while developing the skills to mentor 
urban youth and gaining access to incredible professional development opportunities by becoming an Elev8
riCorps Member for Safe Passages. Manage a cohort of up to 10 students by providing academic support, mentoring, and conflict resolution at one of 17 schools in Oakland, San Lorenzo Unified, and Union City. Help strengthen the school site and neighboring community by participating in service and volunteer initiatives by training, recruiting and mentoring community volunteers. 
Service Commitment/Member Benefits
*  Full T ime positions with one year commitment required.
*  Living allowance stipend, post-service education awards and health benefits available.

To Apply:
Potential  can didates are encouraged to check our website for potential opportunities:    www.safepassages.org


Safe Passages OFCY Funded Programs Exceed Expectations

The Oakland Fund for Children & Youth, a funder of Safe Passages, recently released results for the fiscal year 2014-2015 that showed Safe Passages programs outperforming their stated goals by impressive margins. Enrollment numbers, quality ratings, and performance measures all demonstrated outstanding and exciting levels of success.
The Get Active Urban Arts program, designed to mobilize Havenscourt youth in the design and implementation of positive community safety strategies through urban arts, has reported
  • Enrollment of 89 youth leaders, exceeding its goal of 74.
  • And, it has fulfilled 135 percent of projected units of service.
The Baby Learning Community Collaborative Program (BLCCP), serving families with children ages birth to five years of age also has enrollment and projected units of service numbers above expectations:
  • 100 percent enrollment
  • Quality ratings in every category above 4.9 out of 5. This program served 438 community members this year, providing year-round community playgroups, parent education, and case management services. 
The Safe Passages Transition Program is designed to target 150 high need incoming 6 th graders and outgoing 8 th graders during critical periods in their academic and socio-emotional development at middle school sites. It provides year-round case management, academic goal setting and counseling, tutoring, exploratory education field trips, family workshops, and summer bridge programming. To date, the program has:
  • Served over 529 youth this year; exceeding the goal by 350 percent.
  • Received a perfect 5 in quality ratings for Safety, Interaction, and Diversity categories, and brought in high numbers in Support and Engagement categories as well.
The youth, parents, activists, community leaders, and dedicated workers that give their time to Safe Passages are truly inspirational, and have brought incredibly promising results to the Oakland community.

Thanks to all who makes these great programs possible!

School Food Drives Reflect Growing and Strengthening Communities

Over the holidays and into the new year, Safe Passages has been striving to bring the spirit of giving and the joy of bread and butter to all of those in need. Employees at Safe Passages have organized food distributions across school sites, and have recently served an estimated 1,200 families.

This holiday season, at United for Success Academy, where 96% of students participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch program, over 100 family members were served, and City Council members were in attendance at the Thanksgiving distribution. Here, and elsewhere, families could receive food that was generously provided by Trader Joes, the Alameda County Food Bank, the Alameda County Social Serv ices Agency, and the City of Oakland Community Action Partnernship Agency, and they could access educational materials about CalFresh, CalWorks, and Medi-Cal programs.

Safe Passages also held the 4th Annual community holiday toy drive in December in the Havenscourt neighborhood. Over 700 families, approximately 2100 children, received toys thanks to the contributions of Oakland residents, the Mayor of Oakland and local merchants.  Safe Passages would like to thank all who partnered in this endeavor: City of Oakland Mayor's Community Service Center; Oakland Housing Authority, Coliseum College Preparatory School; and Community United Elementary School.
Also a big thank you to the over 60 volunteers who supported the event including the Safe Passages AmeriCorps and VISTA Volunteers, families and community residents.


For more information about the Thanksgiving and other food distributions, or inquiries about future holiday food distributions, please contact Alicia Perez at aperez@safepassages.org.

       AmeriCorps VISTA Members Engage Families with New Resource Centers

The Family Resource Centers (FRCs) created by Safe Passages AmeriCorps VISTA members are up and running in Oakland Alternative Education sites! Both Ralph Bunche High School and Dewey Academy hosted their first family nights in the fall, where parents were able to meet and discuss ways to be involved in their children's education, and suggest services that would address the circumstances unique to their  locations, families, and schools.
Food, raffle prizes, and movie screenings all made for a fun night!
At Bridge Academy, the new FRC has been a welcome addition. "We had a higher turnout than the previous year, and saw a lot of optimism from parents and students," said Josue Espinosa, the Family Resource Center coordinator.
FRC coordinators, now in their 6 th month on the job, have already been successful in locating legal services for families, providing students with job opportunities, and substantially increasing parent engagement with educators and school administrators.    
Dewey Academy has also hosted a Parent University seminar, and all three of these new family resources are developing lively event calendars. To donate or get involved at any of these centers, contact Rizpah Bellard at rbellard@safepassages.org.

Help Engage Families in Education
The new Family Resource Centers being developed by our VISTA members are seeking donations! These centers will provide the space and support for parents to become active participants in their children's education and will help to create family-oriented paths towards success. As we get these new centers up and running, any amount of support would be appreciated. If you would like to help out by providing monetary or in-kind donations, please contact Rizpah Bellard at (510) 238-7060. 
Safe Passages CEO Selected as Social Entrepreneur in Residence
Our CEO, Josefina Alvarado Mena, has been selected as a Social Entrepreneur in Residence with the Stanford (SEERS) Fellows at the Haas Center for Public Service! She will serve through June, and will teach a service-learning course where she will discuss Safe Passages' model for breaking the cycle of poverty.
The SEERS Fellows lead organizations using entrepreneurial models to advance social justice and pioneer new approaches to public service delivery for marginalized communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally. For more information, read about it on the website for Stanford's Program on Social Entrepreneurship

Congratulations Josefina!
Safe Passages Selected to Support 
California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program 
Safe Passages has entered into a new partnership with the State of California and their contractor,  Richard Heath & Associates Inc. (RHA), to support the outreach efforts for the California's Low Cost Automobile Program (CLCA).  This program was established by the Legislature in 1999 to provide income eligible persons with liability insurance protection at affordable rates as a way to meet California's financial responsibility laws.
While  California Law requires that all drivers of vehicles within the State maintain evidence of financial responsibility,  too many  drivers remain uninsured because the costs of standard insurance premiums are beyond their financial reach. The CLCA allows income eligible drivers with CA Driver's Licences, regardless of immigration status, to apply for insurance for as low as $26/month in Alameda County. 
"We are very excited at the opportunity to provide outreach to our families and communities about this very important program. It is a wonderful benefit for many working families," said Josefina Alvarado Mena, CEO of Safe Passages.
For more information about the CLCA program please contact Alicia Perez at Safe Passages: aperez@safepassages.org

In This Issue
Greetings from the CEO
Safe Passages Programs Exceed Expectations
School Food and Toy Drives
Family Resource Centers
Help Engage Families
Safe Passages CEO Selected as Social Entrepreneur in Residence
CA Low Cost Auto Insurance Program



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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