What is Project YES! Project YES! (PY) is a collaboration of youth and young adults, their families, Alameda County, the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District, and over 50 community organizations to build a multi-agency, multi-service youth center that PY will open in East Oakland in October 2004. Named Youth Uprising by PY’s youth advisory board, the center is located at 2449-88th Avenue, adjacent to Castlemont High School. PY is the umbrella organization responsible for the planning and capital campaign for the center.
The vision for Youth Uprising (YU) grew out of needs articulated by East Oakland youth in 1997, after racial tension at Castlemont erupted into violence. Young people pointed to inadequate educational resources, insufficient employment, personal and community safety issues, a lack of safe and positive peer and adult relationships, and a lack of “things to do” as root causes of the problems facing local youth. In response, Alameda County authorized conversion of a vacant facility adjacent to Castlemont into a youth development center. In 1999, the County provided land and a building worth $2 million; since then, PY has raised $6,818,071 from public sources to complete capital improvements and program planning.
Once open, Youth Uprising will provide a safe and welcoming space where youth and young adults build positive peer and adult relationships; expand resiliency and personal strengths; develop skills leading to educational and professional success; engage with their community and become change agents. Youth Uprising will offer programming in the areas of Leadership Development & Community Organizing, Media & Performing Arts, Education & Career Development, Social Enterprise, Legal Services, Health & Wellness, and Recreation. All programs are grounded in a youth development framework that promotes personal transformation, consciousness raising, and community leadership/hard skills building. The center will serve youth and young adults aged 13-24, in and out of school. While our core constituency is youth of color living in East Oakland, YU will serve the full spectrum of Alameda County youth, including cultural, racial, sexual, ability, economic and gender diversity.