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The Oakland REACH Opens Summer School

Lee Romney
Lakisha Young, co-founder and executive director of The Oakland REACH, gathers up Chromebooks and other treats at East Oakland's Sydewayz Cafe on Tuesday, June 16


The Oakland REACH is a grassroots group of black and Latino parents with kids in district and charter schools. They’ve been pushing for better quality education, especially around reading.When Covid came along, they turned to a more pressing issue — survival — and raised $325,000 in private donations to give away to families struggling financially. Now, also with private funds, they’re opening their own virtual summer school. 

On Tuesday, Oakland REACH launched its virtual hub, a summer school program for Kindergartners through 8th grade. Nearly 200 students are already enrolled. They’re hiring teachers, and today they’re giving out Chromebooks.

Oakland REACH is a parent-led organization focusing on literacy for black and brown students. That was before COVID. When the pandemic hit, it spurred a huge crisis. And, Lakisha Young says, an opportunity:

“I’m co-founder executive director of The Oakland REACH and everybody on our team is mamas and grand-mamas with kids in schools right now and I think that’s important. We’re gonna be in this situation for a while, and if only 30% of kids are participating in distance learning, what do we do? No one’s coming to save us. We need to save ourselves. Like, we need to create the solutions. We’re trying to create a one-stop shop that gives our kids critical learning but also is a place to give parents access to resources and workshops. And then our families will also receive a stipend for their participation.”