Lukas Brekke-Miesner, Executive Director

As Executive Director, Lukas brings a collaborative approach to organizational leadership, years of experience in youth development and organizing, and a commitment to student-led transformation of public education.  A fourth-generation Oaklander, Lukas is a proud product of Oakland public schools, UCLA (2008), and a host of local youth organizations. He has spent the past eleven years with Oakland Kids First building out an evolving youth leadership pipeline, developing student and staff leaders, spearheading organizing campaigns, and centering the leadership of youth of color in fights for educational equity.

Lukas is also a writer whose work has been published in a variety of publications. He was the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the now defunct Oakland Arts & Culture blog ‘38th Notes’ (2008-2015), for which he won the “Oakland Soul” award at the 2013 Oakland Indie Awards. His forthcoming collection of poetry is entitled, Born & Razed: Oakland In Verse. You can generally find Lukas at the Coliseum with his family rooting for the A’s and dropping local history on unsuspecting gentry.

Peter Truong, Program Manager

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. Peter runs PASS-2 and REAL HARD at Fremont High School, develops school culture, and writes curriculum for Oakland Kids First programs.

In his spare time, you will find Peter learning how to cook, at restaurant, or learning another language. Originally from Portland, he is a Blazermaniac for life.

Roxana Franco, Citywide Organizer

Roxana leads the city-wide Youth Organizing Council. Roxana began her journey at Oakland Kids First as an intern supporting the Meaningful Student and Family Engagement initiative. Her role as an intern allowed her to support students and parents with interpretation needs, facilitate engagement forums, and lead the Parent Leads committee.

The MSFE initiative equipped Roxana with the skills to support and empower young people to challenge the larger systems that create inequitable learning and teaching conditions in Oakland Public schools. Roxana educates and builds young people’s capacity to break down systems of oppression and create youth-driven solutions to challenge the institutions that harm high-need student populations.

From a young age, Roxana loved building community and became aware of the inequities that impact impoverished communities. She emerged as a passionate community leader, and learned to critically analyze intersectional social structures of oppression including: homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, white supremacy, racism, adultism, inequity within the public education system, and displacement due to modern-day colonialism.

Domenichi Morris, REAL HARD Program Coordinator

Domenichi implements the REAL HARD (Representing Educated Active Leaders Having A Righteous Dream) youth leadership development program at Oakland High School and Oakland Technical High School. He is originally from Chicago where he worked with youth in various capacities for over a decade.

Domenichi is a former elementary school Science teacher and holds a degree in Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University.

Hadiyah Owens, REAL HARD and PASS-2 After School Program Coordinator

Hadiyah 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. She plans to pursue a Master’s in Education with a teaching credential. 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 youth, 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. She is really excited to bring up a new generation of leaders. Finally, she is an avid SpongeBob fan, and will quote it with anyone who chooses to join in.

Cara Johnson, Development Manager

Cara has been part of the Oakland Kids First team since 2009 through a range of roles including – supporting REAL HARD and PASS-2 programs as a school partner, volunteering as a Board Member, contracting with OKF, and also working directly on staff. Currently, Cara supports organizational development and communications part-time and contributes to grant writing, reporting, program assessment, and sharing our story across platforms.

Cara 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.

Kelly Nguyen, Office Manager

Kelly makes sure everything runs smoothly in the OKF office, from ordering supplies to keeping the office tidy, Kelly is the one! She also manages the OKF social media and newsletter. She was born and raised in West Oakland and is an OUSD graduate. She attended San Diego State University as a low-income, first-generation college student.

Kelly enjoys singing, dancing, painting, and crafting. She is an R&B and Jazz vocalist and you can find her online under her artist name: Kelly Mỹ. Kelly has picked up watercolor painting recently and suggest painting with watercolor brush pens for more control. She is an all-around crafter and her recent projects include Shibori tie dye, acrylic boho paintings on reused paper, and collaging with nature photos.

Sabaa ShorakaCommunity Program Manager at Castlemont High School

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sabaa joined Oakland Kids First as Community Program Manager at Castlemont High School in June of 2018. Prior to coming to Oakland Kids First, Sabaa served as the Community Program Manger 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. Sabaa has lived and worked in Oakland for the past 15 years.

She 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 social justice and equity. In her free time, Sabaa enjoys baking and cooking, photography and traveling.

Alejandra Astorga, After School Program Assistant

Alejandra Astorga was born and raised in East Oakland, California. She graduated from Alternatives in Action High School in 2015 and attended Chabot College where she received her AA-t in Psychology. She is now attending Holy Names University in Oakland and is working on 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 the After School Program Assistant. In her free time she enjoys dancing, spending time with family, traveling, and trying new foods.

Beverly Velasco, Academic Tutor

Beverly Velasco was born and raised in East Oakland, California. After graduating from Alternatives in Action High School in 2014, Beverly wanted to give back to her community, so she decided to work with youth in East Oakland. Beverly got her certificate in Early Childhood Education and is currently working towards getting her B.S. in Construction Management.

In the past Beverly has served as the Restorative Justice Coach at Alternatives in Action High School. Currently she joined Castlemont as a tutor. She hopes that her work with the youth will inspire the youth to continue onward to get a higher education. In her free time, she enjoys listening to live music, spending time with family & friends, and traveling & shopping.

Taylor Smith, Learning Hub Facilitator

Ms. Tayy was raised in Oakland, and has been here most of my life. She graduated from Oakland School for the Arts in 2016, and ventured off to LA for her Degree in Child Development. She has been working with youth since 2016 in many different aspects. Ms. Tayy has always worked in After School. She started out as a tutor in elementary school, and has worked her way to high school. Ms. Tayy has served youth all over the Bay Area.

Her goal is to inspire youth to set high goals for themselves, and reach for the best in life. Her passion is the youth, and how she can help in anyway. She feels that if she can ignite the spark in a couple of young souls, she has been successful.