REAL HARD, which stands for Representing Educated Active Leaders Having A Righteous Dream, is OKF’s longest running youth leadership program. REAL HARD is a stipended after school leadership development and youth organizing program that engages 100 student leaders, grades 9-12, at Castlemont, Fremont, Skyline, Oakland High, at Oakland Technical high schools.

REAL HARD’s vision is to center youth voice, agency, and decision-making power through organizing around students’ own educational experiences. The goals of the program are to build power for young people and to create more equitable and inclusive school cultures for low-income, youth of color in Oakland public high schools.

Youth participate after school twice weekly and engage thousands of their peers and teachers in youth-led organizing and campaign efforts that increase educational equity and improve the culture and climate on Oakland campuses. Recently, REAL HARD youth organizers conducted research and focus groups that included over 1,400 high school students about their priorities, needs, challenges and concerns at school. This research led to the creation of a Student Justice Platform that will continue to inform organizing campaigns and district level demands.

To learn more about the program or inquire about how to get involved with REAL HARD, contact the Program Manager: Peter Truong at