Promoting Healthy Development

Building Capacity to Effect Change in Communities

Encouraging Volunteerism

BACR received recognition for their AmeriCorps VISTA and BAYAC programs from Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, City of Richmond and Mayor Jean Quan, City of Oakland.

The nation’s mayors are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address city challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact – making our cities better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve,mayors across the countryparticipated in the second-annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 1, 2014.

BAYAC AmeriCorps Members spend every day in service. Placed at schools and non-profits throughout the Bay Area, Members commit to a full time volunteer position serving youth in multiple capacities.

On Friday, March 28th, our Members came together to hold service projects in honor of Cesar Chavez. One service project had over 60 Members participate in a clean up with the city of Oakland. Two other groups partnered with Sherman Elementary and Balboa High School to do beautification and gardening projects that would directly benefit the students. 

OCASA AmeriCorps Member Elizabeth Beltran-Larios is an Oakland native and has joined BAYAC/OCASA after completing undergrad at Cal to give back as part of the Alternatives in Action community at Life Academy High School.  She attended Life Academy herself and was highly recommended for the term by current teachers and administrators of Life Academy.

Since the start of the term, Elizabeth has worked selflessly to embody a role model and be a supportive advocate and friend to the students she serves. 

The physical improvements project at Taraval and 32ND Avenue began in November 2012 with funding from former Supervisor Carmen Chu. 

With coordination provided by Supervisor, Katy Tang, Supervisor Tang’s Legislative Aide Ashley Summers, and Phillip Wong from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, two small businesses received physical improvements at a blighted intersection in San Francisco’s Sunset District.

Elliot Gann, CEO of Today's Future Sound, explains how the grooves on a vinyl record work to students at Grass Valley Elementary School in Oakland on Feb. 3, 2014. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

OAKLAND -- On a recent school day at Grass Valley Elementary, a classroom was quickly transforming into a state-of-the-art music studio.

Children smiled and laugh as they listened to Zapp & Roger's "More bounce to the ounce" music sample. Soon they moved into their groups and all that is seen are rushed hands gravitating toward the drum-pad machines and portable turntables.

It was time for Today's Future Sound, a music production and media arts program that is used to empower inner-city youth as artists and community members. Founded by Elliot Gann in 2012, the program teaches beat making, music theory, music production and DJing to youth in the Bay Area and nationally. It is being used in both the Oakland and Berkeley school districts as an after-school program.

I recently read a report by a panel of experts entitled, Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy, published by the American Psychological Association. This report includes a profile of Adam Lanza and the 2012 Sandy Hill school shootings, as well as established research data on mental illness and gun homocide. I was gratified that the report stresses the need for early and robust mental health counseling as a way of addressing anti-social behavior before it escalates to gun violence.  The report particularly recommends school-based mental health services.