Youth UpRising, Oakland


Youth UpRising, opened in May 2005, has become an integral part of Oakland, serving approximately 300 people each day in areas of health and wellness, career and education, arts and expression, and civic engagement. Within East Oakland, 44% of adults over 25 don’t have a high school diploma and the high school dropout rate hovers at 40%.

Interested in Conversations For Good’s robust portfolio of career advisors, they took on the project. However, they are especially aware of the unique set of needs that this cohort faces: In many instances, being from underserved communities, developing a career may take the backburner for these participants, while they simply strive to survive with minimum wage jobs.


Conversations For Good interviewed each student one on one to assess what their individual needs are. That way, all future programming will be targeted to address their needs, not only making this the most beneficial experience but also the most time-saving and efficient. Conversations For Good is taking a 360 approach, putting the cohort’s needs first, and addressing the issues most important to them: their journeys to becoming financially stable, as well as tapping into their passions, and from there, finding themselves engaged in a meaningful and fulfilling career. The assignment involved a combination of finding mentors by posting volunteer positions on job boards and conducting impact evaluation on the project.


Youth UpRising and Conversations for Good embraced a memorandum of understanding in order to pilot a program to mentor a group of 12 youth. Conversations For Good’s first cohort takes the original idea of mentorship to the next level by integrating their streamlined processes and implementing new methodologies to find the right mentors. The cohort of 12 young adults, ages 18-25 years old, ranges across the ethnic spectrum, including several parents as well. The program had brought in guest speakers and mentors, including the delivery report of new findings during the mentorship program. To view survey results, click here.