The Youth Empowerment Academy, wrapping up its fifth year, is offered through the City of Fremont’s Human Services Department, Youth and Family Services Division. It is designed to help “at risk” and Probation youth develop better decision making, health and life skills, while offering opportunities for summer employment, community service, and leadership development.
This year, 10 young people from the Tri-Cities participated in the program, with an opportunity to earn both elective and work experience high school credits toward graduation. The program partners with local school districts, La Familia Counseling’s Youth Employment Program, Highway to Work Program, the Alameda County Center for Healthy Schools and Communities, Probation Department Officers, and other organizations in the community.
During this year’s program the youth had an opportunity to work with Union City’s Youth & Family Services’ Art Therapist, Heather Curtis, to create an inspirational mural on a traffic signal control box located on Fremont Boulevard at Country Way in Fremont. The project was part of the City of Fremont’s boxArt! Program. The mural reflects Fremont’s olive growing history as it relates to the agricultural theme the boxArt! Program is focusing on this year. For the youth, the mission and olives evoked feelings of “finding peace” and having a greater connection with the community. The youth were extremely engaged in this project and demonstrated a high commitment to attend the Academy three days each week as well as La Familia Counseling’s Youth Employment Program. In addition to painting the mural on the traffic signal control box, the youth joined local seniors in a Tai Chi class and assisted in serving lunch at the Fremont Senior Center as community service.
Congratulations to this year’s Youth Empowerment Academy graduates!