United Roots (www.unitedrootsoakland.org) was born from the convergence of four youth organizations in Oakland, and was founded as a collective of Oakland-based arts activists and youth leaders from the Turf Unity movement (to watch a video about the founding of United Roots go to: https://vimeo.com/23553547). United Roots has a 4,000 square foot storefront building in Central Oakland (KONO Business District) and was the first “green” youth center in Oakland, with amenities like solar panels and a bamboo floor. United Roots believes in a holistic approach to engaging low-income youth of color in Oakland and our program methodology includes connecting young people to culturally relevant healing practices, and therapeutic activities like collaborative art making. United Roots is part of a network of youth organizations utilizing cultural healing methodologies to build alliances between young people living in some of the toughest neighborhoods in California. The DetermiNation Black Men’s Group (www.determinationBMG.org), a program in partnership with Urban Peace Movement, is engages young people in community organizing and social justice campaigns as part of the Alliance for Boys & Men of Color, in partnership with organizations like Movement Strategy Center. United Roots also provides cutting edge training in media production, pairing young people with industry professionals to create socially-impactful media. United Roots provides free access to media equipment, music studios and a performing arts space to young people in Oakland, and we are a youth-led media hub for The California Endowment. In 2015 youth leaders at United Roots launched UR Media to officially provide affordable media production services to local businesses and agencies. The Gameheads program (www.gameheadsoakland.org) at United Roots offers tech training, such as coding, app and video game development, as well as IT Training, to youth of color in Oakland; utilizing technological innovation to address social issues in Oakland.
When United Roots partnered with Impact Hub Oakland in 2014 we became the location for the first “youth” Impact Hub in the world (www.youthimpact.org), and transformed our media and tech center into a youth-coworking space for the incubation of youth-led social enterprise projects. The Youth Impact Hub Oakland initiative is currently in development, and recently the City of Oakland partnered with us o launch the Oakland Emerging 100. Youth Impact Hub Oakland at United Roots offers a year-long fellowship program to support youth ages 16-24 in launching their own social enterprise, including business training & mentorship, seed funding and access to a co-working space; and United Roots supports the incubation of up to10 youth-led businesses a year. United Roots is looking for people with a passion for supporting the next generation of youth leaders in Oakland.
United Roots engages and empowers low-income youth of color ages 13-29 in socially innovative ways, with a focus on:
Personal Development: creating a safe, sustainable environment to heal and grow through ritual, cultural healing practices, and wellness services.
Creative Arts Education: instilling confidence and developing talent through digital and performing arts.
Career and Workforce Mentorship: cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship through fellowships, mentorship, employment pipelines and business incubation.
Civic Engagement: building coalitions between communities of color, decision makers, and employers to advocate for community change.
To watch a short video about United Roots youth programs go to: https://vimeo.com/51260083
Since its founding in 2010, United Roots has:
- Built the first “green” youth center in Oakland, California
- Partnered with over 50 youth organizations, government agencies, and local businesses; partnered with 10 public schools
- Established a partnership with Impact Hub Oakland to create the first Youth Impact Hub co-working space and business incubator in the world
- Provided over 1,000 young people with educational, professional, and personal services.
- Released hundreds of media projects, including full-length albums, music videos, posters & billboards, websites and short films (to watch the UR Media promo video go to: https://vimeo.com/195107944 & to view youth-produced content go to our online platform at: https://vimeo.com/unitedroots)
- Provided the physical space, equipment, and mentorship necessary to catalyze high-level business opportunities for youth, including supporting young people in Oakland with launching their own enterprises, such as a music publishing entity, a social impact clothing company, media production services and more (to watch a video about youth that launched businesses as part of the Youth Impact Hub Oakland program at United Roots go to: https://vimeo.com/145924984)
We encourage self-care practices, offering meditation and yoga classes to youth and staff. We utilize a collective decision making model, and staff work together to create and develop organizational systems and procedures. As a small organization, United Roots provides an intimate and collaborative working environment.