Lights On After School
Bay Area Community Resources has been serving Oakland youth for almost 20 years, providing opportunities for them to gain knowledge, participate in impactful events and initiatives, and give youth an opportunity to find and use their voices in a meaningful and powerful way. Last Fall they were awarded a grant from the Oakland Thrives’ Youth Joy and Wellness Fund to host a “Lights On After School” health and wellness fair.
This fund, a project of Oakland Thrives and administered by PVF, supports innovative and creative approaches to youth mental health and wellness in Oakland. “Lights On” aimed to do just that by providing information on different health and wellness tips and strategies, cooking healthy recipes (as well as tasting different recipes) and participate in interactive activities and games, while celebrating the importance of after school programming for our youth.
“A lot of our communities do not have the access to different health and wellness opportunities, let alone having the basic knowledge of the importance of health and wellness. This project will allow us to really partner with different companies to have a more hands-on experience with different meals, activities, information and more. Our youth love doing projects, but they love being able to experience actually trying out different foods, playing with different materials and supplies, and actually running through new and exciting activities.
We want to bring the sense of family and togetherness back into the community. After these past few years of dealing with the pandemic and all of the uncertainties of so much, we need this healing for us all. When we returned back to school, on the ground fully, the kids were so excited to be around their friends, teachers and loved ones that care about them. Every activity we do now appears to be brand new because its been so long since we have felt that in-person love from within our community. This event is to kick off the year and get our youth and families excited about learning, sharing, health and wellness strategies, skills and tips, but also about the importance of a strong community.”
“These pictures tells our decision-makers that the students need community members who care about their health and well-being as well as encouragement from their peers to try and meet someone new. They also need various opportunities for student choice field days with activities that are open to everyone. Students need to know that they can be themselves and have fun doing active things outside. A lot of things have been taken away from our youth, which has forced them to turn to technology (phones, tablets, etc.) Our youth need to experience tapping into their energy in all sorts of different levels.”