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Newsletter Highlights - April 2018

Sacramento Promise Zone featured on KVIE STUDIO Sacramento with Scott Syphax

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency(SHRA) Executive Director La Shelle Dozier and Tyrone Roderick Williams, Director of Sacramento Promise Zone/ SHRA Director of Development recently were guests on KVIE’s STUDIO Sacramento program hosted by Scott Syphax. The conversation covered a variety of topics including challenges and opportunities in providing housing that meets the needs of residents at all income levels, addressing homelessness, progress on the Twin Rivers redevelopment project, and the collaboration of partners that have led to successful outcomes for the Sacramento Promise Zone which will mark its third anniversary this spring.


Sacramento Promise Zone Director Tyrone Roderick Williams Appointed to State's Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission have approved members of a new joint advisory group consisting of representatives of disadvantaged communities who will provide advice on state programs proposed to achieve clean energy and pollution reduction.

The Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group will advise both commissions on how programs can effectively reach and benefit communities burdened by pollution and socio-economic challenges, including rural and tribal communities. Program areas include renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation electrification.

To read more, access the “Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group Press Release” PDF.


Community BBQ at Twin Rivers

Service Providers Connect Families to Resources and More

On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, Urban Strategies and the Sacramento Police Department hosted a BBQ at the Twin Rivers Community that brought together residents for a day of food and fun. The purpose of the BBQ was to give the youth an opportunity for recreation during their Spring Break as well as to build partnership between the Sacramento Police Department and the Twin Rivers Community. Around fifty residents of all ages came out to enjoy the food, snow cones, and Easter egg hunt.

Through the Choice Neighborhood Initiative, Urban Strategies has been providing direct support and services for Twin River residents, such as case management and job and workforce development. In addition to the Sacramento Police Department, six other organizations and agencies were present to inform the residents of services and opportunities related to health, safety, family services, employment, and transportation. These organizations and agencies were the Health Education Council, Sacramento Regional Transit, Birth & Beyond – Family Resource Center, Volt Workforce Solutions, Samuel Merritt University – Nurse Scholars, and Overland, Pacific & Cutler.


Creating Pathways to Greener Futures

March 2018 - Green Technical Education & Employment (Green Tech) was established in 2008 to provide career technical education with an emphasis on environmental protection to youth and young adults from disadvantaged communities. Since its inception, Green Tech has reached more than 400 students in various career training and STEM activities including solar training, agri-business, pre-apprentice construction and computer programming.

Many Green Tech students experience traumatic life experiences prior to entering Green Tech programming. Here’s a real-life example of how Green Tech provides more than just training and opportunities for inclusion amid a home life filled with economic challenges, criminal and gang activity, and dysfunctional families with few supportive and positive role models.

In 2015, two friends joined the Green Tech program together. From the beginning, behavior and attitude issues surfaced from showing up late to scheduled classroom training, disruptive conversations taking place during teaching presentations and in some instances, not showing up at all for program participation. Executive Director Simeon Gant continued to talk with these two young men about being a responsible dependable program participant in showing up on-time for each training day scheduled and being respectful to trainers and other participants in the program by not talking while presentations were being given and working cooperatively in a team environment. However, after repeated violations of program policies and rules, the disruptive behavior began to negatively impact program training days and the two friends were both expelled from the Green Tech program.

A year went by and one of the friends requested admittance back into the program. He showed promise and a renewed commitment to be a productive program participant. His choice to return was not easy; and in the face of being lured into fast money through criminal activity and influenced to engage in illegal substance abuse, he remembered the long talks with Simeon Gant of personal conduct, self-respect and good judgment when faced with hard decisions. The safe space and positive reinforcement he experienced at Green Tech lead him to graduate from high school and become a responsible adult, leading his family and to this day continues to be a conscientious program participant. He now serves as a positive role model for new students entering the Green Tech program.

The other friend has not been so lucky. His journey led him down a path all too common among boys and men of color in struggling communities with few support mechanisms. His decisions led to criminal activity resulting in an eight-year prison sentence. He had the same opportunity to return to Green Tech to gain workforce skills, on-the-job experience and program employment.

Green Tech continues to provide supportive workforce development to more than 30 youth per year within its Teaching Urban Farming, Forestry and Aquaponics (TUFFA) program, computer coding program, Green Tech Tours, Solar Technology, Energy Auditing, pre-apprentice construction and general workforce training every week throughout the city of Sacramento.

For more information and to learn how to support Green Tech please visit:


High School Students Present Their “Y-Plan” for Change

On Friday, February 23, 2018, community partners including Sacramento Promise Zone, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, The California Endowment, Office of Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Health Education Council, and Center for Cities + Schools were invited to Health Professions High School to hear Y-Plan projects focused on homelessness presented by sophomores. Y-Plan (Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now) is an educational strategy that empowers young people to tackle real-world problems in their communities through project-based civic learning experiences. The 52 students who participated in the Y-Plan project spent a month researching and brainstorming ideas that could help support homelessness in their communities.

Students explained the process of their research by taking a walk in their neighborhood to observe and analyze the surroundings. They took their observation and researched it more thoroughly. Then they created an action plan for change. Next they go public by presenting their idea to the community. Lastly, community partners respond to students projects. Y-Plan has allowed students to critically identify places and or things in their community that could be changed or added to support homelessness. Students also gained self-growth through the Y-Plan project because they learned the difficulty of research and the importance of patience working in a group.

All Y-Plan projects were incredible because it showed youth community engagement and youth voice. A student expressed that before they participated in the Y-Plan project homelessness didn’t seem like a big problem but after discovering that they could develop ideas to support it they started to care more about the problem. Y-Plan supports the Sacramento Promise Zone goals because it’s engages student learning by connecting real-world problems to their education. This will increase students reading and writing skill because they’re enjoying their learning. Lastly, it provides a space for community partners to hear youth voice and take what they’ve learned back to their organizations to create change.

To learn more about Y-Plan and how you bring it to your school, please visit


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