OAKLAND (BCN/KCBS) – Kaiser Permanente announced Monday that it was contributing $10.5 million to support youth and violence prevention programs throughout Oakland.
Speaking at a news conference in front of Oakland Technical High School, Kaiser Foundation President Gregory Adams said Kaiser would give $7.5 million to the Oakland Unified School District to support school-based health centers, strategic planning efforts in schools and an African-American male achievement program.
KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:
The Oakland-based foundation also planned to contribute $1 million to an Oakland Police Department program supporting a violence prevention and youth mentoring program for at-risk kids and $2 million to Remember Them, a social justice monument and park, Adams said.
He said Kaiser was providing the funds, in the form of grants, because “We have a responsibility to play a leading role in improving the well-being of youths.”
School district Superintendent Tony Smith said the grant was “incredible” and was “truly a transformative moment” for Oakland’s public schools.
Smith said the funds for the African-American male achievement program were important because “we have a community in crisis and this give us more resources to help those who are most in distress.”
Police Chief Anthony Batts said the violence prevention and youth mentoring program involved having police officers interact with at-risk youths and teach them how to be successful.
Melvin Hines, a junior at Castlemont High School, said the program improved his attitude toward police and helped him do better in school.
“I was doing bad in school and I never liked the police, but the program changed my mind and helped me get my grades up,” Hines said.
Speaking for himself and other program participants, Hines said, “Our perspective has changed on every police officer.”
Adams said the Remember Them monument and park would be accompanied by an educational program that would teach schoolchildren about 25 humanitarians who made a difference through education and perseverance to make life better for everyone.
In another effort to help Oakland youths, Batts said he and Smith would travel to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to seek funding for programs to help middle school students, saying that the middle school years are “a shaky point” for many students.
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