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Mentorship, peer-to-peer youth programs, REACH Ashland Youth Center, and career pathways.

Programs and initiatives can have the greatest impact on youth and families when the perspectives and voices of young people guide their design.

We promote policies and programs that create opportunities for youth to develop their capacity as leaders, voice their opinions, and guide community change.

We incorporate the ideas and experiences of youth in shaping those programs and services to meet their needs. This enhances youth’s capacity to advocate for their own health and the health of their schools and communities through programs such as youth leadership and advocacy programs, Youth Advisory Boards, peer health education, mentorships, and internships.



              REACH SUMMER CAMP 2020

             REACH Re-imagined

How it works

Create opportunities for youth leadership by:

1) Supporting the immediate needs of young people in schools and communities, including supporting their need to heal, when necessary, from trauma.

2) Building the capacity of young people by giving them opportunities to nurture their strengths and talents, explore career possibilities, and build the skills required for civic engagement.

3) Building opportunities for young people to be decision-makers regarding critical issues that impact their lives.


African American Oral History Project

Oakland's young African American men have stories to tell.

In 2012, CHSC began to capture their stories. The African American Oral History Project was born from CHSC's acknowledgment that personal and community health are enriched through storytelling. Health professionals and educators agree that sharing stories is a way for people to connect and bridge the gap between age, race, and culture.

The Griots of Oakland book and exhibitions were presented in 2014 in partnership with Story For All, Oakland Unified School District’s Office of African American Male Achievement, and the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

The Griots exhibit is available for display at schools and special events. For information about scheduling the exhibit at your location, please contact Kimi Sakashita.

"The Griots displays the pain, the power and the promise of young African American men that should make us act.”

Youth Organized Leadership Opportunities: YOLO

Young people creating their own solutions.

CHSC is among the supporters of Youth Organized Leadership Opportunities, or YOLO, a program offered through Alternatives in Action at McClymonds High School. Modeled on the West Oakland Parent Action Network, YOLO is composed of youth representatives from West Oakland schools who make recommendations for improving the quality of and access to education. Through the process, youth gain valuable experience in research, policy development, public speaking, project management, and communication skills.

REACH Ashland Youth Center

REACH, a youth center free to all Alameda County youth between the ages of 11-24, is located in the Ashland community. REACH has served over 3,500 youth members since opening its doors in 2013. CHSC operates the youth center; delivers funding to partners; and provides a variety of services in collaboration with other county departments, community-based providers, and local school districts.

REACH's 31,500-square-foot facility is in an unincorporated area co-located on the Ashland Youth Complex, which comprises over 13 acres of a recycled brownfield dedicated to healthy youth development. Besides the REACH facility, the complex includes the first community park in Ashland, a multi-use gymnasium, and a sports field. The REACH facility houses a health and dental clinic, an early Headstart program, library, dance studio, digital media arts center, computer lab, gym, and a career development and employment center. REACH provides kids with a positive, optimistic environment, a place where they can explore opportunities and launch their future paths.

Health Careers Pipeline Project

Launching the next generation of health care leaders!

As school districts adapt to the demands of preparing students for 21st century jobs and technology, they are expanding strategies that link student learning to career exposure and real-world application. Career pathways, academies, and other similar initiatives are expanding at an increasing rate among K-12 education systems. The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has set a goal of having 100% of high school students enrolled in a Career Pathway by 2020.

Over the next three years, we will be expanding our role to prepare OUSD students to enter higher education and/or careers in the health field, in partnership with OUSD, Alameda Health System, and #YesWeCode. Four Alameda County Health Care Services Agency departments are coming together to make this a successful, transformative effort; these are: Alameda County Healthcare Pipeline Partnership, Center for Healthy Schools and Communities, Human Resources, and Fund Development Office. By 2020, all OUSD students will be enrolled in a college and career pathway; our goal is also to ensure that health pathways are core to the district strategies.

School Health Centers as Stepping Stones

School health centers have the potential to play a key role in supporting the expansion of health career pathways for students at multiple levels. As permanent structures within a school and district, they are ideally positioned to add value to a health career pathway on campus and support meaningful mentorship and work-based learning opportunities for students. As a primary component of our role as a Health Career Pipeline Project partner, we are collaborating with the federally qualified health centers that run our school health centers to expand their role both within and beyond clinic walls to prepare students to enter health professions. Our strategy also aims to specifically improve education and career outcomes for young men of color: in partnership with Alameda County's EMS Corps, we plan to increase internship opportunities for young men in the health field trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and first responders.

Ignacio Ferrey, School Health Career Pipeline Coordinator