May 2019 Newsletter

Hats Off to Our Moms and Graduates

This month we dedicate our newsletter to our high school graduates and all the mothers who have supported the development of our babies through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

Safe Passages supports a continuum of programs and services beginning with Early Childhood and continuing through college and career. This month we celebrate all of the youth graduating from high school from our family of programs. We understand that this is no small accomplishment given our context of generational poverty, historical oppression, and institutionalized inequities that challenge youth of color every day of their lives. Despite the context, our graduates have demonstrated the extraordinary resiliency to navigate through a complex and sometimes unforgiving education system with the tenacity needed to beat the odds.

Read the rest of this article and the entire newsletter.

May 2018 Newsletter

April 2018 Newsletter

March 2018 Newsletter

Thanksgiving Celebrations 2017

On Thursday, November 16th, Ralph J. Bunche Academy hosted a “Bunche of Thanks” Event, in partnership with the campus Family Resource Center, proudly funded by Safe Passages. At the event, teachers got to nominate and present Appreciation Awards to their outstanding students. The awards included the “Most Cheerful Helper,” “A True Feminist,” “Most Improved,” “Exemplifies Curiosity,” and more!

Each student got a certificate from the school and a beautiful plant graciously donated by City Slicker Farms! Over 40 families also went home with bags of groceries for the holiday, made possible by our partners at the Alameda Community County Food Bank. Our friends Chef Cindy and Chef Dave from Unique Soul Catering , together with the Culinary Program at Bunche Academy, also cooked 50 delicious smoked turkeys for the students, staff, and their families! 

More information available HERE.

On Friday, November 17th, Safe Passages was proud to partner with United for Success Academy (UFSA) to host a Thanksgiving Dinner and Grocery Giveaway event for the Fruitvale community. The dinner was made possible through the campus Family Resource Center — also proudly funded by Safe Passages —  and Unique Soul Catering, who again generously donated 12 delicious smoked turkeys. The grocery giveaway was made possible by our friends at the Food Bank and Tzu Chi USA, who contributed 108 chickens and 100 bags of groceries to the food distribution, respectively.

Through our combined efforts, we were able to serve a special holiday dinner to over 200 members of the UFSA community and distribute 150 bags of food to all the families.

More information available HERE.


A huge thank you to all of our partners, friends, and members of the community who donated their services and time to make these joyful events possible for our students and families! 

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.

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