Oakland Youth Aspire (formerly known as What Now America) was founded by a group of students and working professionals in March of 2008. Our goal was to create a program that could be used as an example in the community of a well-run program with individuals who care and want to make a difference in the lives of underserved individuals. While our intentions were great, we didn’t know how we would serve this community.
We hosted our 1st annual Back To School event on August 23, 2008 in order to better understand the needs of the community. We surveyed almost 300 people from the community with varying needs. The result of the survey is the program that we run every Saturday from 12 to 5 PM. While we are a grassroots organization, we modified our program and curriculums to better align with our participants’ needs.