“We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The Chinatown Youth Center Initiative (CYCI) evolved from a core group of dedicated collaborative agencies, most of which were originally a part of the API Community Response Plan (CRP). The members of the CYCI worked tirelessly to plan and lay the foundation to develop the youth center. The process of developing The Spot has truly been a team effort through the collaboration and commitment of our community members and youth. For the past three years, the CYCI has been under the direction and guidance of a Planning Committee and the Youth Advisory Council, now known as the Oakland Youth Empowering Advocates (OYEAs). Past and present members of the OYEAs can be found here. The following are core members of the Planning Committee who have represented their organizations as a part of the CYCI collaborative:
Isami Arifuku – Director of Research, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Jennifer Lee – Deputy Director of Operations, Asian Health Services
Clifford Yee – Program Coordinator (formerly), Asian Health Services
Jidan Koon – Organizational Planning & Training Consultant
Caroline Glesmann – Research Associate, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Michael Lok – Research Associate, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Kenneth Kim – Director of Behavioral Health Programs, Community Health for Asian Americans
Ryan Nicole Peters – Executive Director, Youth Movement Records
Peter Kim - Managing Director, East Bay Asian Youth Center
April Kim – Program Manager (formerly), Oakland Asian Cultural Center
Gilbert Gong – Community Member/Director, Lincoln Square Recreation Center
Sarah Wilson – Staff, Alameda County District 3 Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker (formerly)
Hieu Nguyen – Lead Youth Organizer, Youth Advisory Council
Sherilyn Tran, Director
Sherilyn is driven by the belief that supporting the healthy development of young people is essential in creating positive social and economic change for the community. Sherilyn has spent the last 12 years involved in youth and community engagement work. Sherilyn was a School Site Organizer for Youth Together, a multi-racial youth organization focused on educational justice and violence prevention and she was the Coordinator of the Oakland Asian Pacific Islander Community Response Plan group, which was first convened in 2001 by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to address issues related to API youth violence. Sherilyn attended UC Berkeley for her undergraduate studies, where she was heavily involved with REACH! the API recruitment & retention center, focusing on outreach to under-served and marginalized API youth. She also attended New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service for her Master of Urban Planning, where she co-founded the Asian Pacific American Student Alliance. Sherilyn grew up in east Oakland and is proud of her hometown. During her off time can be seen painting her own nails and pining for a chocolate Labradoodle to come into the Oakland Animal Shelter. You can reach Sherilyn at email@example.com.
Michael Tran, Program Coordinator
Michael (Mike T) grew up in both west Oakland and Richmond and is a proud graduate of Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. During his time at UC Berkeley, Mike T was a core member of REACH! the API recruitment and retention center and the Southeast Asian Student Coalition (SASC). Mike T is also the co-founding coordinator of Serve the People, a grassroots social justice organization committed to addressing the inequalities and needs of the Asian Pacific Islanders community through political and cultural education, self healing, and building unity amongst all people. He values love and self-determination for the people above all else. Mike T has dedicated the last 10 years to Project S.O.A.R. as a tutor and academic counselor at the Oakland High Wildcat Wellness Center. He can often be spotted walking his dog, riding his bike, eating tacos and playing street fighter around the streets of Oakland. You can reach Mike T at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Lok, Fundraising Committee Chair
Michael (Mike L) has been active in the Oakland Chinatown community since he was in high school. He was a former Peer Leader in Asian Health Services Youth Program. Mike L currently works as a Research Associate for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), a juvenile justice research nonprofit, which was the original convener of the CYCI/The Spot. During the start-up phase of the CYCI, Mike L supported the implementation of the programs and worked with the CYCI’s youth advisory council (OYEAs). Mike L has now transitioned into the Chair for the CYCI’s Grassroots Fundraising Committee and hopes to help sustain The Spot’s operations through a combination of individual and business donations. Mike L holds a Bachelors of Arts in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Mike L is a huge foodie and is constantly on the hunt for the best eats in the Bay Area, as well as throughout the country. He’s also a huge fan of the Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors. You can reach Mike L at email@example.com.
After receiving her bachelors from UCSD and her then her graduate degree from SDSU, Calix Vu-Bui has been engaged in social justice-minded healing work with immigrant communities in both California and internationally. She is passionate about serving youth affected by poverty, violence, immigration, and human trafficking. Calix is excited about the opportunity to help youth realize how amazing they truly are by getting them in touch with their own resiliency and strengths. Though quick to become involved at The Spot, she is a fan of three-toed sloths, manatees, and the Golden State Warriors! Calix can be reached at calix firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wing has been working with youth and their families at CHAA for many years since getting her Masters degree in Counseling and Counselor Education in Indian University. She has provided therapy services in a few schools in Oakland, from elementary to high school. Wing is familiar with the struggles of the young people and the cultural issues that they experience. Wing very much admires young people’s passion, their energy and their creativity. She believes in their potentials and that they have the answers within themselves. Wing is looking forward to working with the youth at The Spot! Wing also enjoys swimming and eating Chicken Wings! Wing can be reached at email@example.com.