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RYSE workshop RYSE workshop

In April, Youth SEED partnered with the RYSE center to bring social enterprise training to youth in Richmond. In a 6-week program, youth were led through the process of creating a Business Model Canvass, SWOT analysis and work plans for implementing their own ideas for community benefitting enterprises. Congratulations to the youth of Richmond for developing their visions for a more equitable community! Click here for more photos.


Youth HUB Fellows: Quayshawn & Malik

UR Media UR Media

UR Media will provide opportunities for youth to create and change the perceptions of people of color in media.


Oakland Makers 2015

Oakland Makers Oakland Makers

On May 6, 2015 the City of Oakland along with Oakland Makers hosted “Oakland Makers Day: A day of community building, resource-sharing, strategizing, training and inspiration!” Youth Impact Hub Fellows, Linda Sanchez of Fureza Indigena and Daisy Ozim of Resilient Wellness & 13th Goddess, where among the young makers that spoke on a panel called, “Youth Makers Showcase & Discussion.” The panel was moderated by Youth SEED’s aManda Greene and was joined by Kristi Holohan from Rock Paper Collective and a few of her young artisans. Aside from bringing a younger demographic to the Maker conversation, the panel also represented a larger diversity typically seen in the emerging maker space. Our makers made sure to bring up the important point that while the Maker Space is a growing movement, we must remember that is it a lifestyle rooted in traditional knowledge and ways of being. We are very grateful to the organizers for including youth makers on this special day!


Youth HUB Fellows: Dasha & Jessica

Jessica & Dasha Jessica & Dasha

One of my earliest memories is of a fuzzy, orange, hemispherical glob, lying in the dirt and dust at the foot of my great-aunt’s back porch. It seemed to be a peach: it had fallen from a tree, and appeared to be eaten by whatever wild animals my 4-year-old imagination could conjure up. What was strange to me, though, was that this peach was outside. My great-aunt told me it and all of the other peaches in her kitchen grew on the trees that started at her porch and continued down to the horizon. I didn’t want to be disrespectful and tell her she was wrong, but obviously someone was misleading her: food came from supermarkets, not from trees. When she finally took me outside to collect peaches with her, I was blown away by the orange orbs that hung plump from the branches of her trees.

I was born and raised in the city, and it surprises me when I look at a plant, and can recognize something edible buried between its leaves. In my opinion, the disconnect modern American’s have with their food is one of the wrenching side effects of consumerism. Instead of being a plant that we cultivate, or an animal that we raise, food has become a thing we consume. We are very familiar with our things: our iPads, our FroYo, our social media accounts. Yet we lack connectivity with our communities, and a deep understanding of the things we treasure so dearly.

My business partner, Jessica, and I, were lucky to have found a community of mentors and driven young people that have a similar drive to fix what some may deem the unfixable, but what we believe is essential for building a better world. After each session at Youth Impact Hub, I leave inspired by our dreams and initiative. The guidance and mentorship we’ve received has allowed an “it would be cool if...” idea I randomly cooked up to become a social enterprise that we will be pitching to investors on May 23rd.

Jessica and I have been working hard on MerryStem, a community garden planted in the households of the community. The basis of our idea is to educate and enable community members to grow a fruit or vegetable in their own homes, and to establish a bartering system between our participants. Not only will they have a chance to know their food better, but they will also know (or get to know!) the neighbors that grew their food, too.

I can’t express how excited I am that we’re getting this project off of the ground. As the seedlings for our beta test sprout, my heart does little skips, still in awe at how much can come from a teeny weeny seed. It’s just as exciting to see our enterprise grow, so get ready to hear more from us in the upcoming weeks!


Youth HUB Fellows: Roy & Shayne

Roy & Shayne (Center & Left) Roy & Shayne (Center & Left)

MERCER consists of four core people (2 are involved in the fellowship):

  1. Roy Terry (LEO), 23 - from Oakland Ca, attends school at Chabot College for business, entrepreneurship, music, and fire technology. Works with many organizations, highlighting the REACH Ashland Youth Center, and Soulciety.
  2. Shayne Johnson (Dymnd Jxhnny), 21 - from Ashland Ca, a small area outside of San Leandro Ca, is not currently in school right now, but is currently a semi-pro football athlete with the California Developmental Football League (CDFL).
  3. Lamont Thompson (Cap Fitted), 23
  4. Zollie Fears (Fearoah), 21

MERCER envisions a generation of youth with social understanding, critical thinking, and self-expression. We will make that happen by providing art and resources to youth who don’t have access.

Inspiration: In high school, me and a group of my friends formed this group after watching a very inspiring movie called “Four Brothers”. In the movie, there are four brothers (2 black and 2 white) who went around Detroit to look for the murderer of their mother (who is white). During interrogation, they introduced themselves as brothers, regardless of how people opposed. We took that idea and grabbed their last name, too! (i.e. the MERCER Brothers) We carried the idea into the vision of our business, which is inclusivity and self-expression.

Our passion behind MERCER is the observation that youth are not receiving enough information through media from Hip Hop. Hip Hop can be argued as a great cause for a lot of the problems in at-risk communities. The music we listen to heavily influences us, and the majority of hip hop music is negative. While we can’t completely turn around the way people think about positive or conscious music, we are going to provoke the minds of many to not just look at Hip Hop as a Lucrative movement, but a culture of community for ALL

We will host some of the biggest, quarterly, positive shows in the bay area! We will have youth between the ages of 18-24 listening, consuming, and BRANDING the MERCER idea. We want to create civil citizens, AND creative citizens. Hip Hop elders, and persons outside of the Hip Hop genre will look differently toward the typical Hip Hopper not as a negative degenerate, but a soul who has a clean start and infinite potential to be successful.

The best way for MERCER to be able to flourish is if:

  1. We can be connected to youth who share the same vision and are looking for a team to grind with
  2. Our current Youth HUB fellows and mentors connect us to their venue opportunities, equipment purchase opportunities, and opportunities to turn our material into a curriculum.
  3. Connect us with people who do not wish to be artists (for administration purposes)
  4. Connect us with people who do wish to be an artist (for promotional purposes)
  5. Help brand the MERCER name!


Youth HUB Fellows: TJ & Jose

Jose & TJ Jose & TJ

The two of us are the creators of UPbeat Games, and our mission is to educate, support, and heal the minds of diverse communities through video games.


Youth HUB Fellows: Ajman

Ajman (far right) Ajman (far right)

8FT. Tall is a gorilla marketing, street and social media promotion company based in Oakland, Ca.


Youth HUB Fellows: Linda Sanchez

Linda - Fuerza Indigena Linda - Fuerza Indigena

Fuerza Indigena is an indigenous woman-run social enterprise based in Oakland, CA.


Youth Hub Fellows: Isaiah

Youth HUB Fellows: Isaiah Youth HUB Fellows: Isaiah

My name is Isaiah Teague and I am 22 years old. I am originally from Fresno, but I was raised in Oakland where I graduated from Castlemont High School. I do volunteer work with two non-profits in the East Oakland community, which are Youth UpRising and East Oakland Youth Development Center.

gODDli is a worker-owned cooperative selling eco-friendly apparel designed with positive and inspirational messages. My mission is to spiritually awaken people in oppressed communities. My vision is that people globally will have a new way of thinking in which they would understand the importance of consciousness and a green sustainable world. I plan to use gODDli as a vehicle to train and educate youth on spiritual knowledge, digital art literacy, and the tools it takes to start and run a business like gODDli. This non-profit arm of the company will fund a "Reprogramming Boot Camp" so that youth can learn new habits and skills, and break the cycles of addiction and violence.

The idea of gODDli emerged when I was yearning for a positive change in myself and started reading the bible looking for inspiration. I was intrigued when I came across a scripture that talked about being a “godly person.” I felt astonished and captivated by the word “Godly.” The word stirred something in me, and it was at that time I decided to create fashion designs that were in Godly essence.

I had already been making my own rebel fashion designs, but now I started dreaming of a clothing line that would inspire people to become better individuals. So many of us are judged by how we look, and that includes what we wear. So many of us are treated as outcasts because of societal stereotypes. I have rediscovered hidden spiritual knowledge that brings meaning to my life. I hope for others to have the same kind of awakenings. I hope to open people’s minds to a new truth and nudge them to think positively different.

I know gODDli will be successful when I see people in my communities transforming their lives in a positive way as a result of gODDli’s efforts.

My work is going to be in need of support. You can support me by providing resources to graphic designers, fashion designers, event coordinators, eco-friendly apparel manufacturers, spiritual leaders, and general feedback.
Ig: gODDliapparel
LinkedIn: gODDliapparel


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.