The Community Mindset: Interview with RESET 2018 Winner Jacob Miles

The Community Mindset

By Elijah Hynson

Elijah is the Summer 2019 W+P=X Intern for MFEI through the Alameda County District Attorney Justice Academy. He is a rising senior at MetWest High School and alumni of the Hidden Genius Project

It takes a community to fix a community. That is one of the things in mind for MFEI’s upcoming annual summer RESET event on August 1st. With the goal of providing a space where students design solutions to complex problems such as mental health or social injustice, the event prepares students for the real world through team communication and gives a platform for those said students’ passions. Not only do students gain real world experience but they also establish networks with professionals that work with them during the process of creating a solution. With RESET Vol. 4 on the horizon, two winning teams from the previous events in 2017 and 2018 returned to share their post-RESET journey to bring their passion projects to life, the struggles they faced, and give the new 2019 class advice to give the new teams an edge on a win. 

Listen here for the full interview with Elijah Jacob Miles from Team Sense of Community (2018)

See below for a snapshot on the 2018 and 2017 winning teams and their projects:

TEAM SENSE OF COMMUNITY - 2018 Winners

Team Sense of Community, assembled in 2018, proposed to deliver “a package of weekly resources for youth in school who have faced housing insecurity to lift the weight off their chests and help them feel like they have a sense of community”. With this support, the project’s main goal is to give hope to Oakland youth impacted by the current housing crisis and gentrification and have them look forward to the future. Like Team Gr8, the group has a collective interest in connecting mental health support to young people in the community, and officially kicked off their project at Youth Uprising on June 21st. Winning the Vol. 3 event, Sense of Community will share their winning tips at Vol.4, and any upcoming plans to continue bringing the resources that they are providing to homeless youth across Oakland.

Members of Team Sense of Community from left to right: Ana Agredano, UC Berkeley; Edwin Burgos Perez, UC Berkeley; Free Brown (Coach), Chyroh Gardner, Sacramento State University; Jacob Miles, Laney College; Jabari Murray, Louisiana State University and A&M College.

Members of Team Sense of Community from left to right: Ana Agredano, UC Berkeley; Edwin Burgos Perez, UC Berkeley; Free Brown (Coach), Chyroh Gardner, Sacramento State University; Jacob Miles, Laney College; Jabari Murray, Louisiana State University and A&M College.

TEAM GR8 - 2017

Team Gr8 (pronounced as “Great”), designed and planned a 9th grade workshop series called Project Uncover to endow students with deeper knowledge of mental health, reducing stigmas about mental health among teens and their teachers. Assembled in 2017 at RESET Vol. 2, each team member shared an interest in pursuing a career in mental health to “make an impact on the youth and other marginalized populations in Bay Area communities” (from their team statement). Winning Vol. 2 and gaining $2,500 from Kaiser Permanente, the group refined a more detailed plan for each workshop with mental health topics such as depression or anxiety.

Despite working on the project from their respective colleges across the country, the team gained access to local groups and mental health practitioners thanks to their coach, Megan Rees, a Bay Area mental health clinician and educator. MFEI also helped them connect to the Oakland Unified School District administration and its public high schools. Through this access, Team Gr8 recruited Sarwang Parikh, a locally-based licensed marriage and family therapist of Heart Root Therapy to design the workshop curriculum and facilitate the series. Skyline High School and central district administrators and teachers approved the project. Although slated for implementation at Skyline twice, challenges arose from identifying the right site contact to gaining approval for data collection, to scheduling and communications, and even impacted classroom time due to the Oakland Teacher’s Strike, ultimately setting back the project. Team Gr8 plans to share what they have learned with the new cohort of 2019 scholars at RESET Vol. 4 and where they hope to go with the project from here.

Rachel Littlefield, UC Santa Cruz (bottom left); Avery Waddell, Southern University A & M (far left); Embely Juarez, Merritt College (left of center); Armani Traylor, Merritt College (center); Peter Le, UC Los Angeles (far right); Michelle Xie, Brown University (right, front).

Rachel Littlefield, UC Santa Cruz (bottom left); Avery Waddell, Southern University A & M (far left); Embely Juarez, Merritt College (left of center); Armani Traylor, Merritt College (center); Peter Le, UC Los Angeles (far right); Michelle Xie, Brown University (right, front).

A conversation between members of Team Gr8 and Team Sense of Community will kick off RESET Vol. 4 on August 1st, 2019 at 2000 Franklin Street in Oakland. The community is invited to attend the RESET Showcase from 3:00 - 4:30 PM to cheer on the 2019 Youth Design Teams as they pitch their innovations for social change. RSVP on Eventbrite today!

If you are interested in supporting the event or team project, you can contact MFEI at info@marcusfoster.org.