The mission of Oakland Kids First (OKF) is to increase youth voice, leadership, and power and create engaging and equitable public schools where all students learn and achieve.
We have a vision of a critical mass of young people taking responsibility for themselves, for each other, and for their education. We believe that youth have the power to immediately improve student culture and school climate, and young people can organize more effectively with their peers to win long-term systemic changes.
Founded in 1995, Oakland Kids First (OKF) has long supported Oakland youth to grow their leadership, create safe and caring school cultures, and amplify student voice to increase power and equity for low-income youth of color.
OKF was originally established as a community coalition that organized to pass Measure K or the Kids First! Initiative in 1995-96. That campaign won a 2.5%, which was later increased to 3%, set aside of the city budget to fund services and programming for children and youth now distributed by the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth (OFCY). This multi-million dollar annual fund is the cornerstone of our organization and exemplifies our commitment to economic inclusion, youth engagement, and racial equity. OKF was designated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2002, and is classified as a public charity.
Today, Oakland Kids First works with 120 core youth leaders, 3,400 additional students across four high school campuses, and 100 teachers or administrators annually through programs that cultivate belonging and build power for young people to advance racial and educational equity.
In each of our programs, OKF youth leaders participate in restorative practices, community building, and positive youth development activities. Our participants are supported to conduct youth participatory action research (YPAR) and analyze school equity issues and then develop campaigns, advocate, pilot, and institutionalize solutions to improve the experience of students in schools and to foster equity across OUSD.