What Do Teenagers Say About OYE?

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OYE participants

“I like this program because it gives teens a chance to do something rather than just sitting around at home all day.”

– De’Ojanae Phillips, OYE Participant

I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of this year’s OYE (Oakland Youth Engaged) program participants. OYE is a program that helps youth develop leadership skills by providing opportunities to gain employment through workshops, hands on experience, and civic engagement. While developing these skills, they also learn about issues in their community through community service projects in the Fruitvale neighborhood. As an incentive they are awarded a $500 stipend at the end of the program (based on attendance and participation).

Le’Ahuna Wiley is a 15 year old at Skyline High; she is a returning participant that encouraged her cousin De’Ojanae to join. Le’Ahuna decided to return because, “OYE has given [her] the tools to better communicate in a school and job environment.”

Veronica Cañas, 15, and Tiffany Lay, 15, are upcoming juniors at Envision Academy High. Both Veronica and Tiffany are first generation students that benefit from programs like OYE, because they learn skills that they wouldn’t otherwise at home. “We want to learn how to build a resume, how to apply for a job and at the same time gain the confidence to go out and look for a job,” they said.

“I want to learn skills that will better prepare me for the outside world, which are things that I wouldn’t learn at school” – Veronica Cañas

These young ladies as well as others are currently attending our workshops at the Community Resource Center at 1900 Fruitvale Ave and will soon be matched up with a job that closely resembles the field of their choice. If it weren’t for programs like OYE, students would be out in the streets looking for trouble. However, our program offers them the tools and resources they need to succeed!

OYE will be accepting application for the fall on August 8th, 2016. During this time students have 6 weeks of workshops and 8 weeks of internship. If you are interested in participating feel free to drop by, call or email:

Douglas Phenix, 510-535-6943 dphenix@unitycouncil.org,

Ashley Nelson, 510-535-7179, anelson@unitycouncil.org