November 2018


    Josefina's Letter
    Familes Bond During Fall Arts and Crafts Event
    at Esperanza Elementary School

    Encouraging Glad Tidings Through Food
    Distributions Before Thanksgiving
    Safe Passages Partners with Warriors & Hoops4Kids!
    Volunteers Needed for Annual Toy Drive
    Safe Passages Career Corner


    #GivingTuesday 2018

    Dear Safe Passages Family,

    This is the time of year that we give thanks for all of our blessings. At Safe Passages we are thankful for our families, our communities, and our supporters, including our donors. We could not work towards our mission of disrupting poverty without each of you. 


    This is also a time of year when we think about children and families in need. For the second year, Safe Passages joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate hope worldwide. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate towards improving their local communities and to get more involved with the charities and causes they support; a day to flex our collective giving muscle!

    Now, please let me tell you a little more about Safe Passages’ #GivingTuesday bold goal of raising $10,000. This year the focus of our #GivingTuesday was on our community development work. We are reaching out to both the public and to our own networks to join us in serving our families and communities this holiday season. We promise to leverage every dollar, and put your money to work, serving the children and families in our communities to disrupt the cycle of poverty. It is through these individual donations that Safe Passages can sustain family events, holiday food drives, marketing efforts, and infrastructure that keep our families engaged in our programs and help them thrive. We believe that investing in family engagement and involvement fuels community development, strengthening the effectiveness of our organization and amplifying our impact. 

    As a member of the Safe Passages community, you understand the importance of the work that we do. You are with us in this fight for our most vulnerable populations. That is why we are asking for not only your continued support, but for you to also share your passion for Safe Passages with your family, friends, and networks. Your investment helps to sustain our spirits and our mission. This season we call on you once again to renew your support for our concrete social justice work. In a time of so much injustice, we are asking you to please invest in hope. To learn more and to donate to our ongoing #GivingTuesday campaign, please visit
    gofundme.com/SafePassagesGivingTuesday2018 and give with your heart. 


    With Gratitude,


    Josefina Alvarado Mena, CEO


    Families Bond During Fall Arts and Crafts Event at Esperanza Elementary School

    Over sixty students and parents of Esperanza Elementary School, located at the Stonehurst campus in East Oakland, gathered for an exciting evening of arts and crafts. Parent volunteers, with the assistance of our Family Resource VISTA, Daniel Colin and Kathleen Arnold, the school’s principal, facilitated the arts and crafts event on November 14th. The parents and students host at least one arts and crafts event monthly; the theme for this month is “Fall”.
    These events help engage our parents in the schools in a fun and stress-free environment where they can share time with their children.  One student said, “I like being able to make art out of food. Usually we eat it, but now we’re sticking it to paper to look like other food, which is weird and funny. And I like doing this with my mom because she’s not usually at my school.” Laughter and joy filled the school’s auditorium as students crafted turkeys and corn out of construction paper and an assortment of cereal.
    Parents voiced their desire for more programs like the arts and crafts events for more opportunities to connect with their children in a school setting. “These events are a team effort, “ explains Daniel, “we could not do it without the help of parent volunteers.” At Esperanza, Daniel helps to coordinate the events  ensuring that supplies and snacks are provided, and the parents of the school facilitate the events, creating an atmosphere with more parental presence, which increases children’s success in schools.
    Parent volunteers do a bi-weekly fundraiser selling popcorn and fruit near the school, and money raised goes toward the purchase of the supplies for the arts and crafts events.

    Encouraging Glad Tidings Through Food Distributions Before Thanksgiving

    The holiday season is upon us! At OUSD schools United for Success Academy (UFSA), Esperanza and Korematsu Elementary Schools, Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA), and Ralph J Bunche Academy (Bunche) food distributions were held just days before Thanksgiving, which was timed based on requests from community members. Families received enough nutritious groceries to feed their family.
    This year, record numbers were set for bags of groceries given to families. Rita McKeon, Safe Passages’ Community Development Program Associate, reported 55 bags of groceries were received by families at the Ralph Bunche Family Resource Center in West Oakland; that is 13 more bags than last year! The demand is an indicator of a growing awareness, need and familiarity with the Family Resource Center in the West Oakland community.
    Our Family Resource VISTAs, Daniel Colin and Aisha Mohammed-Swan, played a big role in organizing the food drives at Esperanza and Korematsu Elementary Schools in East Oakland and  at United for Success  in Fruitvale communities. They were also excited at the number of parent volunteers who supported the efforts at these sites. Daniel explains, “We had 14 parents come and help with bagging the food, calling families, and distributing bags. These are the events that help us build community as we support one another.” Daniel and Aisha reported an immense joy radiating through the school communities during the food distributions and reported about 60 families at each of their schools.
    These events and groceries are made possible through our partners: Alameda County-Oakland Community Action Partnership,  Alameda County Community Food Bank, the VISTA programs, and our school communities. Schools also receive donations to purchase food for the families and students of the schools. Holding food distributions at our sponsor schools gives us the opportunity to help ease the burden some families we serve may face when attempting to buy groceries, which can put an unnecessary strain on students and parents. The food distributions are also a chance for community members to meet each other. We appreciate the community welcoming us and allowing us to serve them by providing groceries and meals around the holidays.

    Safe Passages Partners with  Warriors & Hoops4Kids!

    Safe Passages partners with the Warriors Community Foundation to bring quality afterschool and family programs to Oakland Communities this year! Throughout the entirety of the NBA’s regular season, the Golden State Warriors and PG&E are teaming up to give back to Bay Area organizations focused on children’s and student’s success through Hoops4Kids! PG&E, in addition to other sponsors, will contribute $500 dollars for every 3-pointer made by any of the Warriors players. Once the regular season ends, the donation will then be split between eight Bay Area organizations; Safe Passages is one of those organizations!

    PG&E began the Hoops4Kids donation last year, donating $450,000 at the end of the season. After learning of our mission to disrupt the cycle of poverty through early intervention strategies and assisting the communities we serve, PG&E chose Safe Passages as a receiving organization. Their contribution will help us continue to serve communities with resources, programs, and events.

    We thank the Golden State Warriors, PG&E, and all other contributing sponsoring companies for their generosity. Please enjoy the video below to find out more about Hoops4Kids and how Safe Passages serves the community!

    Volunteers Needed for Annual Toy Drive!

    Our annual Toy Drive event brings toys to an  estimated  thousand  families  in  East Oakland every year. In order to ensure the success of our event, we need your help! We have attached a volunteer sign-up link where you can choose to bag toys, enter data and/or attend the event on December 15th at the Havenscourt campus.

    Volunteer efforts are crucial to the Toy Drive, and we really appreciate your time! We look forward to seeing you there!
    Sign Up Here

    Safe Passages Career Corner

    At Safe Passages, we believe it is critical to build a staff of diverse and dedicated professionals in order to best serve the members of our communities. We are proud to provide pathways to fulfilling careers in a variety of fields: education, social work, community organizing, social justice, and the nonprofit world in general. We seek “to grow our own” professionals within our communities and celebrate the diversity of our Safe Passages family! Check out all of our current opportunities here

    AmeriCorps Academic Instructor


    Masters of Social Work Internship

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