Junia Kim has spent the past nine years teaching in East Bay, and during that time several students from the foster care system have come and gone from her classrooms. Sometimes they left without warning after being placed in a new life situation.
Witnessing this instability, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim was inspired to create Project re: Fresh, a free after-school program for placed youth, students with unstable housing, and youth who immigrated to the States. – United as unaccompanied minors.
Subscribe to the re: Fresh project
Students can register by completing the registration form at see52.org/refresh. You can also register on site in the presence of a tutor.
750, boulevard International
Mondays and Thursdays
3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
28200 Ruus Road
Tuesdays and Fridays
4 p.m. – 6.15 p.m.
Its goal is to provide these students with a versatile space where they can get homework help or work on creative projects ranging from building a solar light to learning how to use a hot iron. solder or a laser cutter. The pilot program launched earlier this month in Oakland and Hayward and is open to middle and high school students in Alameda County. On Mondays and Thursdays, students can come to 750 International Blvd. in Oakland to do hands-on activities and work out their “social muscles,” Kim said. On Tuesdays and Fridays, Kim is with the students at the Hayward Space at 28200 Ruus Rd.
âI started to get interested in all of this as a teacher, bringing young people in and out for a few months, then coming back. I was like, “What would it be like if we created a program for them?” Â»Â», She declared.
Project re: Fresh is a program of Seen52, an organization Kim founded earlier this year to serve students who have been affected by the child welfare system. It is supported by the Alameda County Office of Education, as well as the Oakland Public Education Fund and Hayward Promise Neighborhoods. As a pilot program, Project re: Fresh will run until next August.
Before Kim quit her teaching job at Lazear Charter Academy in 2020, she spoke to over 50 students to find out what they liked and didn’t like about school and academic environments. She then tried to incorporate these comments into Project re: Fresh. Overall, many students wanted less discipline and more time for the arts, outdoor activities, and opportunities to learn life skills.
In addition to the twice-weekly after-school program, Kim also plans field trips. Later this month the group will be heading to Oaktown Boulders, an indoor climbing gym, and next month they will be visiting Crissy Field in San Francisco. During the after-school program, students also receive snacks and lunch each day.
Kim wants her students to feel comfortable making mistakes and learning from them.
âIt’s not just the 8th period. We take breaks, have fun, play games and eat outside, âshe said. âThe point is to try things beyond what they see every day. Often our students have not extended beyond the five mile radius of where they are.
Kim named the Project re: Fresh program as a nod to the idea of âârefreshing a web page. During the pandemic, the lives of many students have been interrupted or put on hold, and it is an opportunity for them to resume some form of normalcy. Oakland’s program can accommodate 20 to 25 students, but attracting young people has been the hardest part, Kim said, in large part because of transportation issues. That’s why, on Wednesdays, Kim brings Project re: Fresh to group homes in Alameda County to work with youth in their own environment. She is also working to secure a contract with HopSkipDrive, a car transport service for young people.
Working with young people in foster care also means recognizing that students may not be attending regularly. In the 2019-2020 school year, Alameda County welcomed 803 youth in foster care, and of those, 344, or 43%, were in the Oakland Unified School District, data shows. of State.
âWe’ve already had students who were here and their placement has changed. Knowing that we are serving a transient population has become much more real now that we are implementing this program, âsaid Kim. âIf the students were to take anything away from this program other than being seen and loved, I would want the failure to be acceptable. “
To register for Project re: Fresh, students can complete the registration form at see52.org/refresh.