Safe Passages Career Pathways: “Where Are They Now?”

At Safe Passages, we believe that it is critical to creating positive life pathways for our youth and young adults. Through the “Where Are They Now?” series, we will highlight the trajectory of some of our young people who have participated in one of our Career Pathway training programs, including AmeriCorps, VISTA, Social Work Internship, Life and Career Road Map, and Get Active Urban Arts.  We are proud of our alumni and excited to share their stories!

Lucias Potter first connected with Safe Passages in 2009 as a sophomore at Fremont High School in East Oakland, when he participated in the Get Active Urban Arts program. Get Active promotes social justice, cultural awareness, leadership development, and community engagement, all while offering students the chance to earn college credit. Lucias was a Get Active scholar and artist for three years, and received training in aerosol arts, graphic design, illustration, airbrushing, and mural production; while also partaking in classroom discussions about social equity in students’ communities and their role in it.

Lucias shares that Get Active had such an impact on him as a teenager not only because it expanded his artistic skills and gave him an opportunity to express himself, but also because he was able to have open and honest discussions about difficult topics with his peers and friends – a unique combination he could experience no where else. He adds, “I liked how many different elements the program had. I got to learn more about art, drawing, and writing, in addition to issues that faced my own community and how I could get involved.”

After graduating from Fremont High School in 2011, Lucias took a gap year and traveled to Senegal to teach English with a program called Global Citizen Year. His time in Senegal was peaceful, and gave him the opportunity to “connect with [his] roots.” After returning from Senegal in 2012, however, he describes feeling lost and unsure about his future. Lucias decided to return to his Oakland community and share his love of art and culture with a new generation of students. Now 24, Lucias is an After School Program Instructor with Safe Passages’ Get Active Program at Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA).

Lucias shares that he is still learning from Get Active, even after four years as an instructor, and that he is “currently working on mastering the screen-printing process so [he] can teach the kids how to make posters and print images on clothing.” Lucias has also learned how to plan lessons, build a program, and be a mentor from watching Safe Passages employees Jonathan Brumfield, the Get Active Program Manager, and Bobby Campbell, the CCPA Site Coordinator.

Lucias credits Safe Passages and Get Active  with helping him realize his career goals of becoming a high school teacher, saying, “mentoring these students and helping them learn new skills and expand upon them has meant so much to me.” Lucias hopes to earn his degree in African American Studies in the near future, and would eventually like to teach an interdisciplinary program similar to Get Active, so that he could combine African American and Ethnic Studies with art, writing, history, and politics. Lucias’ seven years with Safe Passages and Get Active have given him the hands-on experience he needs to someday run his own classroom as a teacher, where he can continue to give back to students of color and help them learn how to advocate for themselves and find their voice.

Watch this video to learn more about Get Active:

After School Programs – #AfterSchoolWorks

Safe Passages’ After School Programs provide safe, fun and enriching programs. Programs include academic tutoring, enrichment services, sports programs and activities for students in grades K-12 throughout Alameda County.

  • Our high quality after school programs serve an average of over 1,200 students every school day of the year.
  • Over 250 AmeriCorps Members serve over 2,500 high-need students through intensive academic tutoring and mentoring in our after school programs.
  • Our After School Programs partner with: Laurel Elementary School, Coliseum College Prep Academy, United for Success Academy, Community United Elementary School, and Piedmont Elementary School in Oakland Unified School District ; and Emanuele Elementary School, Searles Elementary School, and Cesar Chavez Middle School in New Haven Unified School District.

Special thanks to AmeriCorps Recruitment VISTA Jonathan Smith for lending his talents to the creation of this video that highlights our After School Program at Laurel Elementary School.

Testimony: Board Member Dan Siegel

Learn more about why Civil Rights Attorney & proud Safe Passages Board Member Dan Siegel supports Safe Passages and encourages you to donate.



Special thanks to AmeriCorps Recruitment VISTA Jonathan Smith for lending his talents to the creation of this video!

Family Resource Centers – Building Community

Over the course of our 20+ years working with Oakland Unified, San Lorenzo Unified, and New Haven Unified School Districts, as well as  the Alameda County Office of Education, we have seen first-hand how critical family engagement is to a child’s academic success. Therefore, Safe Passages has helped establish Family Resource Centers (FRCs) at four of our partnering schools – Bridge Academy, United for Success Academy, Coliseum College Prep Academy, and Ralph J. Bunche Academy.

These Family Resource Centers serve to foster strong connections between the students, parents, teachers, staff, and school community. In addition to planning and hosting family engagement events (such as grocery giveaways, holiday parties, and workshops with topics that parents choose), the FRCs also coordinate  support services for students and their families, including: food access, adult education, financial literacy, housing resources, employment assistance, and more.


Special thanks to AmeriCorps Recruitment VISTA Jonathan Smith for lending his talents to the creation of this video!

Josefina’s Letter- Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 25, 2018

Dear Friends, 

How do you explain to your children what the President of the United States means when he asks why he would want, “all these people from s**thole countries?” And, how do you explain why he subsequently stated that the United States should admit more people from countries like Norway? As a parent, you must painfully tell them the truth. You must explain that the President of the United States made racist, divisive and white supremacist comments in a national immigration policy discussion at the highest level of our federal government; the same federal government charged with protecting the constitution of the United States.

As a mom, I explained this to my children yesterday. I explained to my children that “these people” specifically referenced Haitians and other immigrants from African countries. To put it plainly, Black and Brown people were being dehumanized while Whites from countries like Norway were deemed worthy of becoming Americans. We also discussed the reversal of the Obama administration’s humanitarian Temporary Protection Status program, and how nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador are now at risk. My children have a Salvadoran heritage, so we feel this deeply. We also discussed that the lives of 700,000 DREAMERS, who look just like them, would hinge, in part, on these national immigration policy discussions.

It was one of those hard conversations you have as a parent of color. One in which you know your children might not be completely ready for but you also know you must have because your children of color will live the truth of racism, discrimination, and dehumanization in America. You know this because this is also your truth.

As social justice advocates we are eternal optimists. Given our history, we must carry hope for the future. And, we must raise our children to have hope for the future. As an American, I know that America was always meant to be better than this. As a mom, I believe with all my heart that we are better than this. As a student of social change, I also know that we outnumber those who would strive to dehumanize and exploit our talent and brilliance. Some of us are truly native to the Americas. Some of us are immigrants from the very cradle of human civilization. All of us contribute on a daily basis to the true greatness of America.

We will not go quietly into the night. We will resist and we will employ all of our resources to protect the most vulnerable among us, including the DREAMERS. We will teach our children that we are a nation of immigrants and to represent the true beauty, talent, brilliance, and justice embodied in the promise of our nation. As advocates, educators, and parents we must demand nothing less.

Yesterday, we commemorated the legacy of a great American — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His memory is more significant now than ever, and continues to represent the hope, optimism and love that gives social justice pioneers the strength to continue our work. In light of his legacy, we must reflect on where we are as Americans and where we wish to be. I hope that yesterday was a day of reflection and a day of action for you all. Whether helping to rebuild schools, tutor a child in need, bring a meal to a senior, or bring legal aid to an undocumented immigrant… we cannot sit idly by and let the promise of hope dwindle. We are stronger than this.


In Service,
Josefina Alvarado Mena, Esq.
Safe Passages