In 1997, racial tensions erupt in violence in East Oakland – a problem compounded by decades of disinvestment and intergenerational poverty. Local youth make a plea for help.
The county of Alameda and city of Oakland make an unprecedented investment in East Oakland youth by providing support for the planning of a one-stop health and human services center designed by and for youth.
Youth, residents, public officials, and other stakeholders review national best practices, design the space, plan initial programming, and raise capital support from public and private sources.
YU breaks ground on the building in 2003, and the doors to our 25,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art facility open in May 2005.
Programming begins with a unique public/private partnership between YU and government, foundation and other local youth service agencies.
YU continues to evolve and expand comprehensive services for high-risk youth seeking a pathway to safety, college and career, attracting 1,600 members in the first year. Programming becomes more integrated and unified, and YU becomes the primary provider of onsite services.
YU establishes the region’s first street-based conflict mediation program, and moves beyond direct service work by building out public policy and system change efforts focusing on public safety, health, housing, education, economic development, and civic engagement.
Today, YU is a vibrant, neighborhood hub that holds a world of hope and possibility for local youth. Our staff of 50 serves about 300 youth each day who, together, continue to transform the community and influence local policies that impact youth.