Oakland Leaf Annual Report 22-23

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Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

A message from our Executive Director At Oakland Leaf, we believe that joy, in addition to being every child’s birthright, is a crucial youth development building block. Studies show that positive emotions contribute to improved heart health, stronger immune systems, and reduced stress. Additionally, the more we experience joy, the more readily we can trigger positive emotions just by recalling joyful moments or thinking about things that make us feel joyful. In this way, joy is an essential component of resilience. The last few years have taken a tremendous toll on our students and their families. In addition to the disproportionate impacts of COVID on low-income communities of color, critical resources for marginalized youth - culturally relevant teaching, affirmative action, and gender affirming healthcare to name a few - have been under attack. It is our hope that the joy and affirmation that students experienced on a daily basis this past year in our programs served as an antidote to this adversity. Oakland Leaf is proud of our heart-centered, joyful approach to youth development. We are building creative, playful, and loving spaces where young people can be their full selves. As you flip through the pages of this annual report, I hope that the images and descriptions infuse you with some of the joy our students experience every day. We are so grateful to the many generous community partners, donors, and funders that make it possible for us to continue to build joyful spaces for our students. Thank you for being an important part of the Oakland Leaf community. Much love, Melissa Mendez Ochoa Executive Director

Table of Contents 4

Mission and Vision


Core Values


Afterschool Programs




Love Cultivating Schoolyards


Summer Camps


Oakland Leaf Staff


Oakland Leaf Board + Use of Funds


Community Partner Spotlight


Donor Spotlight

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Oakland Leaf’s core values guide every aspect of our work. We plant seeds to grow. We root in, rise up, and branch out. We’re committed to stay.

CULTIVATION: We acknowledge, honor and nurture potential by providing space for growth. We look to the future. COMMUNITY: We create safe space filled with Much Loves, support, healthy relationships, celebration and breaking bread. VOICE: We hear, respect and develop voice and creative expression. We provide opportunities for input and accountability for ourselves and others. CRITICAL THINKING: We embrace the process of challenging the dominant narrative. We believe in the power of reflecting, questioning and digging deeper with intention. LOVE IN ACTION: We are rooted in love, transformational justice and restorative practices. We see the whole person. We practice peace, self care, and empathy.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Afterschool Programs I love afterschool because I can learn new things and I can do arts and crafts and the teachers are really nice. — Cianny, 2nd grade

Oakland Leaf provided quality, enriching, and free afterschool programming for approximately 920 East Oakland students at seven high-need elementary and middle schools this past year.

“Everyone is really nice to me at afterschool, and I love that we get to do science experiments” — Kyrie, 1st grade


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Our students 98%

of the students we served identified as students of color (59% Latinx and 18% Black)



qualified for free/reduced lunches

were English Language Learners

2023 Feedback from our families 95% said that our afterschool programs provided a safe place for their child 92% said they are pleased with the afterschool program 90% said their child looks forward to the afterschool program 100% said Oakland Leaf staff treat them well 7

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

All of our afterschool programs centered socialemotional learning, creative arts, physical activity, access to nature, social justice, and academic support.

Social-emotional Learning (SEL) Our SEL curriculum included daily interactive lessons designed to support youth to develop healthy identities, understand and manage their emotions, establish and maintain healthy relationships, advocate for their needs, feel and show empathy, achieve personal and collective goals, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Our Restorative Justice Coordinators (now called Program Culture Leaders) also facilitated student sharing circles multiple times a week that gave students a consistent emotional outlet, supported relationship-building, and helped students develop the skills and confidence to express their feelings, voice their opinions, and work collaboratively through problems. 8

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Spotlight on Restorative Justice At Oakland Leaf, we see RJ as much more than a set of conflict resolution or behavior management tools. We draw from RJ’s roots in indigenous peacemaking practices that provide a holistic framework for not only repairing harm, but also nurturing and sustaining individual relationships and community bonds.

An instructor was having consistent problems with her 6th graders using mean-spirited and inappropriate language with each other. She revisited the classroom commitments multiple times but there continued to be daily challenges. The RJ lead was called in to support. She designed a conflict resolution circle specific to the issue and the age of the students. She had the students all go around and identify why they thought the circle was taking place and she asked them to think about and speak to a time when someone else’s joking might have hurt their feelings. One by one, each member of the circle spoke to how they didn’t like some of the things their peers said about them. Examples included body shaming language, making fun of their clothes, making fun of their looks, calling them names, making homophobic or misogynistic comments, and more. Students were surprisingly vulnerable, and many took it upon themselves to apologize to each other about specific past comments. Everyone made specific individual commitments and, as a collective, they strategized and made commitments about how they can shift the culture of the group, practice healthier communication, and be generally more kind to each other.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Creative Arts An abundance of research confirms what we have seen again and again in our work with youth: creative experiences in childhood can have transformative impacts. Among other noted benefits, engagement with the arts strengthens young peoples’ academic, problem-solving, and social skills, and boosts confidence and motivation. As part of our creative arts programming this past year, we offered poetry, theater arts, dance, digital arts, DIY crafts, drawing, and STEAM experimentation and tinkering classes.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

STEAM Oakland Leaf expanded our STEAM (science, technology, arts, and math) activities this year with the Be the Change 'Innovators, Inventors, and Makers' curriculum. We provided hands-on learning and engaging activities that promote STEAM skill development. Activities included everything from making slime to envisioning and engineering complex utopian cities with recycled products.

Afterschool program students making lava lamps.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Physical activity We offered soccer, basketball, baseball, and bike club and we prioritized movement and physical play (e.g. yoga, dance parties, and freeze tag) on a daily basis because of the many health benefits of physical activity, and because we understand, and have observed first-hand, how movement helps release emotional tension and creates endorphins that improve moods. All of our sports programs are specifically designed to advance our students’ social and emotional growth.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Access to nature As part of Oakland Leaf's school garden clubs, afterschool program students planted seeds, harvested fruits and vegetables, picked flowers, studied insects, and explored the natural world, learning firsthand the connection between nature and their own food supply. Garden clubs also included nutritional education, and students sampled and took home produce.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Social Justice & Service learning Oakland Leaf partnered with American Scores to facilitate a service learning curriculum customized for each grade. Groups of students collaboratively selected an issue, conducted community research on the problem and possible solutions, and designed and carried out a service project. At the end of each semester, students presented their findings and reflections as part of our student showcases. Projects included campus beautification activities, fundraisers for school equipment, and food and clothing drives for families in need. We also offered social justice history and cultural awareness lessons and activities throughout the year, reflecting monthly themes including Black History Month, Latinx Heritage Month, Women's History Month, LGBTQ History Month, and others.

Afterschool program students working on their campus cleanup service learning project. 14

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Academic support Our academic engagement focused on literacy instruction and homework support, and included study halls, small group subject-specific support sessions, and one-on-one tutoring. For our literacy programming, we drew from three curricula - Kidzlit, Reading with Relevance, and SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words). We utilized culturally relevant books and worked with students on literacy and reading comprehension. We also facilitated an early literacy group for newcomer students.We regularly checked-in and collaborated with school day staff to design customized intervention and support strategies for our students who were struggling academically.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23


Roots interns worked as instructor aids in one of our afterschool programs. They received training and coaching, and were matched with an instructor who they shadowed, supported, and received regular feedback from. As instructor aids, interns provided one-on-one social-emotional and academic support to ASP students, facilitated creative play activities, and provided administrative support for programs. All Roots interns received support to create - and carry out - Individual Development Plans which including academic, personal, and professional goals. They also participated in a range of professional and leadership development trainings on topics such as financial literacy, applying for financial aid, resume building, interview skills, and research skills, among others.

Roots interns working on their professional resumes after participating in a resume-building workshop. 16

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

A Roots intern working with an afterschool program student on her reading skills.

Lucia, speaking at Oakland Leaf's annual gala about her experience as a Roots intern.

I’m able to give the gift of confidence to the afterschool program students I work with because Oakland Leaf has given this gift to me. I’ve learned so many leadership skills during my time as an intern. I’ve had trainings on time management, how to make a resume and interview for a job, how to facilitate meetings, public speaking skills, and so many more. Oakland Leaf staff have also helped me with my college and financial aid applications. My time as a Roots intern has made me a much better communicator and problem solver, and I’m more assertive and organized. — Lucia, Roots Intern 17

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

LOve Cultivating Schoolyards Love Cultivating Schoolyards (LCS) interns received comprehensive training on the diverse skills required to be an independent urban farmer, including hands-on experience planting, maintaining, and harvesting organic veggies, fruits, and herbs at our one-acre farm in East Oakland. LCS interns also learned about a variety of food justice, environmental justice, and racial justice issues related to urban agriculture and local food systems. Additionally, interns cooked together in our outdoor kitchen and they were provided with materials and guidance to create and maintain their own home gardens.

Interns seeding microgreens for the greenhouse and laying down compost for new garden beds. 18

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

LCS interns making bruschetta and apple juice from produce harvested in the garden.

Interns prepping for the Castlemont High Autumn Harvest Festival. 19

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

summer camps Oakland Leaf coordinated three free 4-week long summer camps - two for elementary school students and one for middle school students. All three camps emphasized arts and culture, health and wellness, and STEM. Our middle school students also designed and carried out community service projects. We also had a paid summer internship program for high school students. Interns participated in leadership development and social emotional learning workshops, and served as teachers’ aides for our middle school camp.


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Oakland Leaf StAff At Oakland Leaf, we believe that when instructors and other youth program staff reflect the culture, communities and experiences of the young people they work with, it fosters a sense of belonging, builds community ties and inspires young people to envision themselves in leadership roles. Item 2 2.6%



of Oakland Leaf program staff identify as people of color.

% .6 28

Item 1 97.4%


of our afterschool program sites have staff who were former Oakland Leaf youth program participants.

% .4 71


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Oakland Leaf Board of Directors:

Marina Ortega, Board Chair Physician Assistant, UCSF Health Monica Guzman, Board Vice-Chair Principal on Special Assignment San Leandro Unified School District Leo Kremer, Treasurer Co Founder, Founders Table Restaurant Group Kim Bronson Sourcing Manager, Genentech

Use of Funds Revenue 2022-23 Fee for service


Corporate Grants


Foundation Grants


Individual Donations




Other Income


Shaelyn Dawson Attorney, Morrison & Foerster


Elizabeth Kim Investment Banker and M&A Advisor

Expenses 2022-23

Jose Luis Rodriguez, Alumni Project Manager, Growing Together

Program Expenses


Management & General




Steven Tindall Partner at Gibbs Law Group LLP


Lindsey Williams Administrative Director, UCSF Medical Center (Joined 2023) Audrey Yang User Experience Research Consultant


Emeritus Board Members:


Management & General

Stephen Walrod, Founding Board Member Retired Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice Debra Levinsky, Founding Board Member Retired Medical Doctor, Private Practice

Total: $2,829,821 Reserve: $10,000


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

Community Partner spotlight

Swiftly is a transit reliability platform that makes public transportation more reliable and a fast, frequent, and attractive alternative to the private vehicle — which has outsized impact on the environment, community health, and economic and social equity. Swiftly has a social mission at its core. One component of this is their employee-run charitable giving group, “Connect with Communities” (CwC), that ensures that Swiftly is giving back money, time, skills, and resources to underserved community members. Last year, Swiftly organized a volunteer event where their staff compiled hundreds of Back to School supply kits for Oakland Leaf students. The kits included backpacks, school supplies, art supplies, fidget toys, and more. We are so grateful for Swiftly's contributions to Oakland Leaf programs, and we look forward to many years of creative partnership.

Swiftly employees putting together Back to School kits. 23

Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

donor spotlight In addition to serving as an Oakland Leaf Board Member, Toni Garrett has been a generous annual donor to the organization. Toni is especially passionate about Oakland Leaf's free summer camp for East Oakland youth and has organized successful house parties to raise funds for the camp. Toni's "Pupusa Parties" featured delicious home-made pupusas and introduced dozens of her neighbors to Oakland Leaf. Many of the people who attended Toni's house parties are now loyal annual donors. Toni also serves as an advisor to Oakland Leaf's Executive Director and Board. Toni has lived and worked in the Bay Area for more than 40 years, with numerous entrepreneurial ventures. In partnership with her husband, she built and developed a significant local retail operation , Whole Earth Access, with 7 large stores in Northern California. They also launched the first environmental trade show, The New Earth Exposition, which promoted sustainable living, whole foods, wind and solar energy and self sufficient lifestyles. We are so grateful that Toni is part of our Oakland Leaf family. "Oakland Leaf is dear to my heart for so many reasons: For making “Love is an Action” a reality; For the opportunities it provides kids to grow, to exercise their creative selves, to learn how to speak out and become leaders; For the kids who grew up in it and are now leading it like Isa and Jose Luis; For the loving creative support of the teachers and staff; For Nate Walrod, for Oakland Peace Camp, for the devoted young people who created this one of a kind program; For my neighborhood to share with other neighborhoods; And for the special opportunity Leaf has given me to reach out a hand to kids who can grab it and use it. Oakland Leaf is truly a blossoming tree." — Toni Garrett


Oakland Leaf Annual Report 2022-23

If you would like to support Oakland Leaf, please mail to: Oakland Leaf Foundation 520 3rd Street, Suite 109 Oakland, CA 94607

or make an annual or monthly gift that allows us to plan for and meet unexpected challenges: oaklandleaf.org/donate

Oakland Leaf is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible. Our tax ID # is: 81-0565800




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