Youth Hub Fellows: Desire & Erin

Desire - The B.I.Z. Stoop Desire - The B.I.Z. Stoop

Desire Johnson (pictured), 23, is an Oakland native and 1st generation graduate of the Mills College Class of 2013. In addition to serving the high school community at College Track (Oakland), she currently works as the TAY Program Coordinator at Downtown TAY, a transitional age youth resource center in the San Pablo corridor of Oakland. In between time: this high opportunity youth from Oakland, CA brings her dreams to fruition- simultaneously creating space for individuals and organizations to creatively identify and pursue their inner calling. Local social-impact leaders have been amazed and inspired by Desire's ability to insightfully navigate/assess Oakland's ecosystem. Her approach is like the essence of The Town: personable, intellectual, lived-experience, coachable, and worthy of investment.

Erin Clark, 19, is an Oregon-raised, California native whom has recently returned to the golden state to pursue her BA (and eventually Masters in Public Policy) at Mills College. As a third year, she serves as the Vice President of the Associated Students of Mills College - simultaneously serving as an Oakland Youth Commissioner. Recently she's graduated from the Niroga Institute Mindful Mentee program, and is now enrolled in the HATCH! Doula Training for young adults. As involved as she is in the community, her education comes first: Clark is in preparation for her senior thesis - expanding her role as a principal researcher. She has previously served as a Peer Leader for the Downtown TAY program.

If you were to ask somebody born by the mid-90's, "do you remember the stoop growing up?" and you'll probably hear childhood memories that can be traced throughout our generations. There was a time when it was common to lean-on our people for moral/communal/collateral support, with the good intent of reciprocity. In our collective struggle there was collective gain in appreciate of what we had and what was to come. Leap forward to 2015, where that there is a trillion dollars worth of spending power in US black population (not to mention time worth spending), yet our historical neighborhoods, business sectors, and life expectancy have continued to dwindle. Something has been lost, and in homage to sankofa: we intend to go back and get it for our people to continue forward. Our enterprise, The B.I.Z. Stoop, strives to disprove the narrative that the only way will "make it out" is to uproot from our people - and embodies the spirit of "making it through" with cooperative economics.

BIZ Stoop, Black Intergenerational Zeal Stoop is a premier social enterprise built for and by millennials. Our vision is to exponentially increase the life expectancy of Black youth beyond the age of 25 years - by way of access. We realign individuals with healthier visions of self using holistic approaches to wellness - shifting the boundaries that circumscribe our environment.. Our mission is to retain high opportunity youth from Oakland, and streamline them into prospective career paths. Our cohort members are sponsored to complete an 18-week professional development incubator. Upon completion they become apart of the "Culture Broker" Cooperative (coined by Douglas Stewart) - an artisan talent management initiative whose goal is to secure sustainable employment for themselves - and for their protege team. All the while, we make recommendations to the establishments that govern our financial economy: expanding their concepts of skills gap, risk-taking, and social impact.

We could overwhelm you with everything we need, but the simplest way folks can get involved is Word of Mouth. Share the good news of the work to be done. We will need as much community support as possible. Help us in the search for quality products that are made by Black business. Participate in surveys or community affairs we will be hosting. Connect us with professional or consumer networks (such as organizations/center, district representatives, etc.) whom are looking to invest in job development for youth. Refer transitional age youth (age 16 - 24) our way - by 2016 we will need team who is committed, coachable, interested in cooperatives, and ready to pound the pavement with information + goods.

Please contact us at [email protected] for more info.