Promoting Healthy Development

Building Capacity to Effect Change in Communities

Encouraging Volunteerism

Lissa Franklin, President of BACR’s Board of Directors and CEO, Marty Weinstein recently returned from the “Summit at Gettysburg: Our Unfinished Work”, held June 4th-6th. This event was sponsored by The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project, and supported by the National Conference on Citizenship, ServiceNation, and Voices for National Service. BACR operates one of the largest AmeriCorps programs in California and we were proud to be in attendance.

In a pilot program, Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI), high school students from Samuel L. Gompers Continuation School have been working diligently to create social change in the community. UNI’s mission is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among residents of West Contra Costa County.

Ranging from sophomores to seniors, the youth represent Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) as Youth Leaders, meet weekly to increase leadership and facilitation skills and use these skills to develop and implement a community assessment around food and nutrition.

With funding from San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth & Their Families, YFYI staff are able to “re-grant” dollars to youth-led projects in San Francisco. The criteria for selecting a project to fund include a focus on community improvement, development, and change - all from a youth's perspective. This re-granting model encourages youth leadership and civic engagement for YFYI staff and for the projects they support… like this one!

Eddie Scruggs-Smith still remembers the message her  drilled into her when she was young: “education means opportunity.”

Although Scruggs-Smith sometimes doubted her academic abilities, the self-proclaimed product of the Oakland schools says it was a favorite Oakland Technical high School teacher who pushed her to pursue her dreams.

Today, as principal of West Oakland’s Lafayette Elementary , she committed to making sure that “Every adult who’s part of this building (should) give [the children] that same message: ‘I have high expectations for you, and yes, I know it’s difficult, but I know that you can do it.’”

BACR’s after school students at 3 Alameda schools make headlines in The San Jose Mercury News: “Alameda students learn about the world of possibilities”.

John A. Perez, Speaker of the California Assembly, recently introduced Assembly Bill 2328 which would establish a new California Service Corps (CSC).    I was proud to testify in support of this bill at the State Capitol on April 9th   The bill was unanimously approved by the administrative review committee.   If funded  AB2328 would create a new State-run Service Corps modeled after AmeriCorps.  California Volunteers would manage the program in partnership with local government and non-profits.