“I stand for positivity, respect and equality for myself and for others.”
My EBAYC Story
Learn more about the staff, youth and community members that make EBAYC what it is.
Sampson Luu was known for his warmth, love for his family, and his big and warm smile. He had a wonderful ability to connect with anyone he met with his welcoming personality, and was passionate about supporting our students to be the best version of themselves. Like so many of our staff and youth, Sampson had a deep connection with EBAYC and our community. He was an EBAYC youth participant and a Roosevelt Middle School alumni, and a valued member of the EBAYC at Roosevelt team as an After-School Teacher.
“I saw that staying out of the streets was actually making me stronger emotionally and mentally.”
EBAYC has long been a part of Anayeli Vega’s life. Street Team Case Manager Angelica Reyes-Sosa first got to know Anayeli’s family when she was a Program Director at Garfield Elementary School and Anayeli was a participant in the EBAYC after-school program. Anayeli then attended a middle school and high school that didn’t receive EBAYC services, but their paths crossed again years later when Angelica was in her new role with Street Team. The two ran into each other by chance at court when Anayeli was on probation for truancy. Angelica was able to get Anayeli added to her case load and the two built on their foundation of trust to set goals and help Anayeli reach her potential.
“The more I worked with Angelica and EBAYC, I saw that staying out of the streets was keeping me out of trouble and actually making me stronger emotionally and mentally,” reflected Anayeli. “Throughout everything, EBAYC is a place of safety for me.”
Anayeli started attending school again regularly, and is now the first in her family to graduate high school, was recognized as a member of the OUSD Latino Honor Roll. Attending college and a career as a detective are in her future plans. In addition to her personal victories, Anayeli is using her voice to advocate for change in her community, and was honored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee for speaking out against gun violence. “Anayeli is a warrior,” said Angelica. “She has overcome so many obstacles in her life and it’s a joy to see the talent and leadership skills she has always had bloom.”
“I can see the dedication and energy that my children are putting into their work.”
An Oakland resident for over 10 years, Jing Wen Tan’s two children, Natalie and Liana, both became involved with EBAYC when they were in 1st grade and kindergarten at Bella Vista Elementary. Jing values EBAYC for the learning opportunities it provides her children. “It allows them to open up their minds and expose them to new things.” Jing feels more connected with the school through EBAYC, and her kids do too. “I can see the dedication and energy that my children are putting into their work. It is a reflection of how much the EBAYC staff invests in helping the children. Every person here truly cares about the kids.”
“I see the relationships I am building with the kids and it’s so rewarding.”
In her first year with EBAYC at Manzanita SEED Elementary, Ms. Ani supports our kindergarten and first grade students during the school day and creating lesson plans for after-school programming that complement school-day learning, incorporating poetry, art and movement. She works closely with the 3 kindergarten teachers to ensure that students are fully supported and engaged. “I see the relationships I am building with the kids and it’s so rewarding.” Ms. Ani loves to do photography in her spare time and is a huge Disney fan.
“We can have incredible power when we work together.”
Evangelina first got involved with EBAYC in 2001, when her two children enrolled in EBAYC’s after school programs at Roosevelt Middle School and Oakland High School. She was deeply moved by the impact EBAYC had on her children as she watched them grow and develop. She began attending parent meetings organized by EBAYC, and eventually became a parent volunteer. After volunteering for 5 years, Evangelina joined the EBAYC staff as a Community Organizer.
She provides support services for families, organizing events and encouraging parents to be involved with their children’s education. One of Evangelina’s children returned to Garfield Elementary to be an EBAYC Academic Mentor. In her decade of working and organizing, she has seen the impact that parents, families and the community can have when they work together to advocate for our young people. Evangelina is also a key member of the East Oakland Congress of Neighborhoods, a collective of East Oakland nonprofit organizations, community members and families advocating for improvements in the community.
“I care more about my education and how it is going to affect my future.”
In the midst of family and academic struggles in her sophomore year of high school, Daisy found herself disconnected from school, classmates and family. After learning about a new summer program for young Southeast Asian women from EBAYC Youth Counselor Linda Vongthongkham, Daisy was eager to join a group that could understand what she was going through. “We bonded with one another. It felt like I was part of something.” Through self-reflection, communication and community, the Young Women’s Empowerment Circle helped Daisy realize the value of investing in herself. “Now I care more about my education and how it is going to affect my future.” When the next school year started, Daisy went from having a 0.8 GPA to getting straight B’s. She now sees college as a key part of her future and aspires to go into politics.
“I believe that by embracing our EBAYC community we can uplift each other and help each other grow.”
Rany’s journey with EBAYC began in her 6th grade year at Franklin Elementary School. She was invited to join EBAYC’s after-school program by an EBAYC academic mentor. Much to Rany and her family’s pleasure, her mentor could speak Cambodian and was able to build trust with Rany’s family. She was then joined EBAYC’s Franklin Elementary School after school program.
EBAYC programs had a tremendous impact on Rany, exposing her to new experiences like horseback riding, camping, seeing snow, and she even got the chance to try her hand at some video production. Rany credits EBAYC with empowering her younger self and helping develop her into a leader.
As current EBAYC Managing Director of Shop 55 Wellness Center at Oakland High School, Rany works with the EBAYC team and partner organizations to serve the Oakland High School community. In her role, Rany further continues EBAYC’s commitment to building young leaders and empowering youth, as she once was. “I believe that by embracing our EBAYC community, we can uplift each other and help each other grow.”
“Giving back to my community is why I do this work.”
Yiksai Wong’s relationship with EBAYC started in the second grade. As an OASES program participant, interacting with mentors showed her that college was within reach. When Yiksai was accepted to UC Berkeley, she returned to Lincoln Elementary- this time as a mentor. “I want to serve as a role model to my students and inspire them to believe they too can go to college.” We are proud of our over 150 OASES mentors who participate in youth and peer mentorship, community engagement, and academic tutoring. Yiksai’s journey from youth participant to Lead Mentor Coordinator to EBAYC Board Member is grounded in our commitment to support leaders from within our community to shine their brightest.
“Whatever obstacles you go through, stay focused on what you need to do.”
Tyree Washington joined the EBAYC family when he was 13 as a volunteer with our neighborhood clean up crew. “It was a way to keep me off the streets.” EBAYC was there to support Tyree in charting a new course for his future after an incident at his high school got him placed on probation. Tyree secured a job as an Academic Mentor at one of EBAYC’s elementary after-school programs while also completing his high school coursework, and aspired to continue working with young people. “That experience inspired me a lot. Being around the love and the spirit of the kids gives me hope.” In reflecting on his experience with EBAYC, Tyree shared, “Whatever obstacles you go through, stay focused on what you need to do. And know that EBAYC is here to help you get through it.”
Calvin Fong, one of the core founders of EBAYC, leaves behind an immeasurable impact on our community. His activism started in high school, when the lack of support available for Asian youth spurred him to be involved in the creation of the Berkeley Asian Youth Center. He continued to support the organization through its evolution to EBAYC. After two decades of service, Calvin had recently retired from working for the City of Berkeley. We are thankful for his influence on our work and for his boundless dedication to our community.
A lifelong youth advocate and educator and third-generation Berkeley native, Bob Kaneko was deeply committed to investing in the community he called home and its young people. During his time as a counselor and teacher with Berkeley Unified School District, Bob helped co-found the Berkeley Asian Youth Center, the original organization from which EBAYC evolved. Bob served on the Board of EBAYC from 1980 until 2001, and continued to be a guiding force in our mission and vision to provide a safe, supportive space for youth. We are grateful for Bob’s leadership, and we are proud to build upon his legacy through our work today.