Mission: What Now America (WNA) is a free drop-in youth resource center open every Saturday, 12-5pm in Oakland. We are dedicated to working with inner city youth to provide support in the areas of academics, health education and social development.
Target demographics: Low-income youth and children, ages 5-18.
Geographic areas served: West Oakland
Programs: The organization leads K-12 grade appropriate, hands-on activities in the areas of science, language, art and math. These academic areas constitute the program SLAM. It is a 100% volunteer organization and is always looking for help to develop and implement the program, as well as have fun with the youth.
WNA believes that success in academics must be balanced by attention to comprehensive wellbeing. Therefore, they teach and model the importance of healthy lifestyles by providing nourishing lunches, structured physical activities and nutritionally balanced take-home grocery bags for youth and their families each and every week.
In addition to the weekly drop-in program, they provide information and resources in the areas of mental and physical health support and career and educational advancement opportunities. They also host various community engagement events each year.
You can help give youth the personal interaction and support they need to become well-rounded adults. On a typical day, volunteers work one-on-one with youth or in small groups of participants reading together, facilitating the academic program SLAM and playing outdoors. There are numerous volunteer opportunities to fit your schedule and interests.
In just a few short months What Now America has shed new light on the lives of West Oakland youth. The rich academic and social programs are augmented by nutritional meals and one-on-one mentoring many of the program participants rarely encounter. As an all-volunteer run organization I know my participation makes a difference not only for What Now America but for the youth who need it most.
I just want to let everyone out there know what great success we have had so far. We started off in the area with minimal exposure and now, after just 3 months, the number of our participants has grown exponentially. Kids and their families love the program as I do myself. They are enthusiastic about activities that are planned out every week and some really strong bonds are being created through this. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this and invite everyone to check us out, on-line, on-site, over the phone, by email, and however else you can...
I really liked the organization, for it really hits home to the people of Oakland by providing them after school activities. A study comparing the scores of children on reading and math shows that students from upper class families scored better than students gradually as more summers pass by, indicating that they spend more of their free time reading, which is where WNA comes into play.
What Now America has been a life changing experience for me. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the students makes all the hard work well worth it. Working with a very talented board and student volunteers makes the program what it is. I would strongly encourage anyone who is looking to give back to the community to join this organization either as a board member or volunteer to work with the youth Saturdays from 12-5.