by J’Mya Gray-Martinez
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Chip Johnson blamed problems with youth centers (two open and a third about to open) in West Oakland on lack of staff and programs.
Journalism 1 decided to pitch in, providing insight into what should be included in local youth centers and what also needs reform.
-“A youth center that has its own library, where disturbances are not allowed, would be ideal. It should have insulated walls and soundproof glass, and be open from 6am until 9pm, a place to eat and air conditioning. Its head would probably need to be armed and confident in kicking people out for violating the center’s rules.” (Anthony Beron)
“We should have more programs at school instead of at youth centers, because it’s easier for students to get their SAT prep, help on their homework or class work right here.” (Abbas Hassan)
“More music, dancing, singing, college. Students are bored after school. So they need something to do. If you have these programs then the kids won’t need to do drugs or harmful things like that.” (Jaden Nixon, who transferred out of McClymonds)
“I’m happy with the programs that Oakland has to offer me. I can go to the YMCA on weekends and the Boys & Girls Club on weekdays. They have sports for you to play and they’re very safe. The programs are kind of healthy but you can get good exercise. It keeps the violence away. (Parrish Kendricks)
“Healthy living programs. Not just with eating but when it comes to relationships, violence, and interactions. I want to see programs that will affect the youth like scared straight programs. Also, I want to see more people kids can trust and rely on. Lastly, I want to see more jobs like YEP or Youth Uprising.” (Kaya LaForte)
“I would like to see fun programs. Also educational programs that will help us in the long run. For example, a program that teaches you useful things like how to write a resume, fill out a college application and things like that. I would really like to see tutoring programs also.” (Hailey King)
“We need more fine Arts and Educational Programs because there are a lot of talented kids I know around Oakland that don’t get a chance to show their true talents, and then they get caught up in gangs, drugs, and violence.” (J’Mya Gray-Martinez)
In Oakland, I believe we need to provide more programs during school hours so students are forced to go. (Quaylin Wesley)