Staff

YOUTH LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZING PROGRAMS ​

Peter

Peter Truong, Program Manager

Peter (he/his/him) oversees the REAL HARD after school program, and facilitates the leadership class and REAL HARD chapter at Fremont High School developing youth-led transformational school culture. Peter also writes curriculum for Oakland Kids First programs and supports organization-wide youth organizing campaigns such as development of the Student Justice Platform.

A life long learner and educator, Peter earned a degree in Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon. As a child of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees from the Vietnam War, Peter’s passion for justice work developed at a young age. Peter and his sister are the first in their family to complete college. It was this journey that pushed Peter to continue his work; as an educator he seeks to help other young people access education and think critically about the world around them. 

Peter taught in Sacramento as an English teacher before transitioning into his current role as Program Manager. In his spare time, you will find Peter learning how to cook, at a restaurant, or learning another language. Originally from Portland, he is a Blazermaniac for life.

Peter@kidsfirstoakland.org 

Nichi

Domenichi Morris, Citywide Organizer

Domenichi (he/his/him) facilitates the Youth Organizing Council (YOC) and supports OKF’s student-led organizing campaigns at the city and district levels. Most recently, Domenichi has been partnering with youth leaders organizing to implement Oakland Youth Vote (OYV) and to develop a Student Justice Campaign that will help hold OUSD School Board members accountable to the needs and educational equity priorities of Oakland students. 

Domenichi is originally from Chicago and has been working with youth in various capacities for almost 2 decades. Domenichi is a former elementary school Science teacher and holds a degree in Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University. In his free time, Domenichi makes music, plays trumpet and is a DJ. 

Domenichi@kidsfirstoakland.org 

Hadiyah

Hadiyah Owens, Program Coordinator

Hadiyah (she/hers/her) is a third-generation Oaklander, and a proud product of Oakland public schools. After graduating from Oakland Tech in 2015, she went on to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Hadiyah facilitates the REAL HARD after school program chapters at Castlemont and Skyline high schools and coordinates the school store at Castlemont.

One of Hadiyah’s passions is social justice, and she has long been a participant in efforts to liberate marginalized communities, including the recent Black Lives Matter movement. She also is very passionate about working with young people and has been working with youth since she was in middle school. As a former REAL HARD student organizer, Hadiyah is really excited to implement her beliefs and social justice ideals with the young people in the program, and to bring up a new generation of leaders. 

In her free time Hadiyah enjoys spending time with friends, watching shows and movies, and frequenting her favorite Oakland eateries.

Hadiyah@kidsfirstoakland.org 

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Maya Rapier, Program Coordinator

Maya (she/hers/her) is a Program Coordinator for REAL HARD and facilitates the chapters at Oakland Tech and Oakland High School after school. 

Born and raised in Oakland by her immigrant parents, Maya is a proud product of OUSD public schools. Born on May Day, activism has been a part of her life since the beginning. She believes in the power of youth and the power of grassroots organizing. While a student at Oakland Tech, Maya was a youth leader in the REAL HARD program and organized to make academic pathways more equitable. 

She currently studies at San Francisco State University, working towards a B.S. in Ethnic Studies. In her free time you can find Maya traveling, listening to music and being outdoors.

 Maya@kidsfirstoakland.org

Janet Chavez, Program Coordinator

Janet (she/her/hers) is the newest Program Coordinator for REAL HARD, and co-facilitates the chapter at her alma mater Fremont high school.

Janet@kidsfirstoakland.org 

CASTLEMONT COMMUNITY SCHOOL INITIATIVE

Na Derris Ward, Extended Day Programs Manager at Castlemont

Na Derris (he/his/him) goes by the name Duke and is the new Extended Day Programs Manager at Castlemont High School. A native of Oakland, CA, Duke attended OUSD schools and is a proud graduate of McClymonds High School. As the Program Manager, Duke oversees all after school enrichment and after school student support programs at Castlemont that are part of the OKF’s Knight Time and Knight Success initiatives. 

A first generation college graduate, Duke attended college at the University of Oregon, earning his degree in Sociology in 2010. Duke’s educational journey began in 2014, when he returned to teach at his alma mater, McClymonds High School. Over the years, Duke has worked at numerous schools throughout the Bay Area. He is extremely passionate about youth engagement and relishes the opportunity to empower young people. 

In his free time, he enjoys relaxing with family, going to sporting events and traveling. 

Naderris@kidsfirstoakland.org

Ale

Alejandra Astorga, Care Coordinator

Alejandra Astorga (she/hers/her) was born and raised in East Oakland, CA. Ale currently works at Castlemont as a Care Coordinator to support a caseload of students as part of OKF’s Castle Cares Initiative. 

She graduated from Alternatives in Action High School in 2015 and attended Chabot College where she received her AA-T in Psychology. She attended Holy Names University in Oakland and received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Alejandra started her journey as a youth developer at Life Academy Middle School in August of 2016, as the 6th grade Fitness and Nutrition Coach. She then joined Castlemont High School in December 2019 as a Care Coordinator.

In her free time Alejandra enjoys dancing, spending time with family, and traveling.

Alejandra@kidsfirstoakland.org  

Arthur McDade

Arthur McDade, Farm and Garden Coordinator

Arthur McDade IV (he/his/him) was born and raised in East Oakland. He is an alumni of Castlemont High School, which he returned to as the CastleWorks Farm and Garden Coordinator after graduating from college at Paul Quinn. Arthur is one of the two Co-Farm Managers of the one plus acre green space that is cultivated as an active farm on campus. 

It was throughout his time as a student at Castlemont High School that Arthur obtained the love, passion, and dedication of being in the field of agriculture. As he grew up being exposed to growing organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs, he came to believe in the importance of knowing where our food has been and what has been done to it. Arthur’s favorite aspects of farming are composting, dealing with livestock, planting, and reaping what he sows.

In his spare time Arthur enjoys writing poems and fiction stories, gardening, camping/hiking, cooking lamb and making guacamole. 

Arthur@kidsfirstoakland.org 

 

Rita Avalos, Culinary Arts Facilitator and Tutor

Rita (she/hers/her) joined the Castlemont community school services team in 2022, and facilitates the CastleWorks Culinary Arts program “Food as Medicine.” Rita also provides academic support and intervention as a tutor during after school programs at Castlemont.   

Rita@kidsfirstoakland.org 

 
Rosario Diaz

Rosario Diaz, Program Assistant

Rosario (she, her, hers) was born in Mexico but has been raised in Oakland since she was 6 years old. After being part of the OUSD district for K-12, she graduated from UC Irvine in 2022 with a B.S. in Public Health Sciences. Rosario now works as a Program Assistant for OKF’s Community School Services at Castlemont High School. 

Rosario always believed it was important to come back to Oakland after college and give back to her community all the support that she was given. During high school, she was highly involved in afterschool programs and held the leadership role of Youth Coach, and now she continues her involvement giving back to the Castlemont school community. 

Rosario@kidsfirstoakland.org 

ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM

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Lukas Brekke-Miesner, Executive Director

Lukas (he/him/his) is a youth advocate, writer, and the Executive Director of Oakland Kids First, where he has spent the past fourteen years centering the leadership of youth of color in fights for educational justice. 

A fourth-generation Oaklander, Lukas is a proud product of Oakland public schools, local youth organizations, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He brings a collaborative approach to organizational leadership, a commitment to intergenerational power-building, and over 14 years of experience in youth development and organizing.

Lukas is also a published freelance writer, poet, and the founder and Editor-In-Chief of the now-defunct Oakland arts & culture blog 38th Notes. His writing about the Oakland Youth Vote campaign was recently published in the international organizing journal The Forge, and he is also featured in the documentary First Friday and season 5 of Netflix’s Last Chance U. Lukas is a winner of the Oakland Indie Awards’ Oakland Soul award and received a Pillar of Oakland award.

Lukas@kidsfirstoakland.org

Sabaa

Sabaa Shoraka, Associate Director

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sabaa (she/her/hers) works as Associate Director, serves on the senior leadership team and oversees community school services at Castlemont. Sabaa joined Oakland Kids First as the Community Program Manager at Castlemont High School in June of 2018. 

Prior to coming to Oakland Kids First, Sabaa served as the Community Program Manager with Alternatives in Action at Life Academy, Career Pathways Manager at Youth Uprising and Director of Administration and Finance at Institute for Sustainable Education Economic and Environmental Design. She has lived and worked in Oakland for the past 20 years.

Sabaa holds a Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in Equity and Social Justice from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minor in Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Sabaa is passionate about developing the skills of young people to become active agents for transformative justice and equity. In her free time, Sabaa enjoys baking and cooking, photography and traveling.

Sabaa@kidsfirstoakland.org

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Cara Holiday, Senior Development Manager

Cara (she/her/hers) oversees fund development, communications, grant writing, reporting and program evaluation. She has been part of the Oakland Kids First team since 2009 in a range of roles including working on staff and as a contractor, volunteering as a board member and partnering at  a high school site. Cara currently works for OKF remotely from her hometown of St. Louis, MO.

Throughout her career, Cara has focused on supporting students to reach their individual goals to graduate and access pathways to post-secondary education and advocating to improve educational equity in public schools. She earned a MA in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University, a teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and a BA in English from Washington University in St. Louis. Previous positions include working as an Assistant Director at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, as a Community Programs Manager for Alternatives in Action, and as an English teacher on the McClymonds high school campus in OUSD. 

In her free time, Cara likes to hike with her family and dogs, explore the local food scene, and volunteer with nonprofits supporting youth development and civic engagement. 

Cara@kidsfirstoakland.org

Mai Fawaz

Mai Fawaz, Marketing & Communication Manager

Mai (she/her/hers) is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Oakland Kids First and oversees social media, websites and digital communications. 

Mai is a traveler and an artist with 10 years of experience in Marketing and Communications across three continents and different industries. Born and raised in Cairo Egypt, her passion for social justice started at a young age. Growing up as a female in a hyper-masculine culture and surviving the 2011 Egyptian revolution has instilled in her a passion for advocacy and fixing systems. After the Arab Spring, Mai lived in Dublin, Ireland for 4 years where she worked on combating homelessness. In 2018 Mai moved to the Bay area and continued her work in advocacy for immigration and criminal justice Reform. She fell in love with the people, culture and beautiful, scenic landscapes and decided to settle in Oakland and dedicate her advocacy efforts towards youth empowerment and fixing the educational system.

Mai is also passionate about creating art that empowers women. During her spare time you will find her painting, listening to music and dancing. 

Mai@kidsfirstoakland.org