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“It was the right thing to do.”
There’s a leader inside every young person. Sometimes they just need a little help realizing it.
Take Michael, a petite and quiet, first generation Salvadoran-American attending middle school at Life Academy in East Oakland. At first glance, Michael doesn’t project “Leader.” His Alternatives in Action coach, Middle School Extended Day Program Coordinator, Cesy Martinez, describes his transformation this way:
“When I first met Michael, he didn’t seem to care about anything. One day a fight took place right in front of him and when I asked him why he didn’t try to stop it he said, ‘It’s not my problem.’ Michael was scared, and he didn’t have the tools to intervene. Over the course of the next year, I slowly drew Michael in to help plan activities in our extended day program. Gradually, I saw his self- confidence and leadership skill develop. This year there was another fight, and he immediately took action. When I asked him why he responded he said, ‘It was the right thing to do.’ What a difference in just one year! Michael now sees himself as a school leader and acts as a role model for his younger peers.”
At Alternatives in Action, we help young people like Michael realize their leadership potential and prepare them for success in college, career and community life. Our school-based programs improve the lives of more than 1,200 urban youth and their families in East Bay communities each year (held on-site at Life Academy, Fremont and McClymonds High Schools in Oakland, and our own Alternatives in Action High School and Home Sweet Home Preschool in Alameda).
Some of the young people our coaches mentor demonstrate their leadership audaciously, by organizing multi-city peace movements for their communities; leading a youth film festival for the region; or hosting local election forums. Others, like Michael, take action on a smaller, though equally transformative, scale. What is constant is that they each make a choice to lead.
Just like our young leaders, we cannot succeed alone. We rely on your partnership and support, so that we can help them manifest their leadership potential. With your help, we can continue to create the web of caring individuals necessary to their success.
I hope you’ll join me today by making a donation in any amount meaningful to you.
Help us raise the $25,000 we need to fill our programing gap this year, so that coaches like Cesy can continue to support young leaders like Michael to shine.
Executive Director, Alternatives in Action