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LIBRE's Blog

At LIBRE, our afternoons are filled with a variety of activities designed to engage and empower our youth. From cooking to outdoor workouts and having fun, there's something for everyone. Here’s a look at a typical afternoon at LIBRE. On this afternoon, our young chefs prepared pancakes. Some even got creative and shaped their pancakes into different designs! In the parking lot, participants were jumping rope and cheering each other on. We had a jump rope challenge where each jump earned a dollar, and some students jumped over 130 times in one attempt while others played soccer or tennis. Our afternoons also include programming classes where students learn computer science fundamentals and build small apps. These sessions help our participants develop foundational skills and explore potential career pathways. In addition to these activities, we offer music and art classes where students can express themselves creatively. Whether they’re learning an instrument or painting, these classes provide a fun way to explore their talents. Some days are simply meant for doing homework or playing video games together, providing a relaxed environment to unwind and connect. Other afternoons we have pizza parties, making for a fun and social atmosphere. LIBRE is more than just a place for activities; it’s a community where youth feel supported and encouraged. Our dedicated staff and volunteers are always there to guide, mentor, and inspire. Each activity helps our youth learn new skills, build confidence, and create lasting memories. We invite you to visit LIBRE and experience the activities for yourself. Whether you’re looking to donate, volunteer, participate in activities, or simply see what we’re all about, there’s always something happening here. Together, we’re building a brighter future, one afternoon at a time.

La Posada, a cherished tradition, was celebrated with great enthusiasm by our community. This event brought together people from all over, including students from our citizenship and English classes, youth from the LIBRE program, and their families. The aim was to enjoy a special time together and celebrate the students' achievements during the year, as well as their hard work. The atmosphere was festive, filled with laughter, conversation, and the warm spirit of togetherness. One of the highlights of the event was the piñata session. The children, and even some enthusiastic adults, took turns trying to break the piñatas filled with candies and small toys. Another highlight of the event was the raffle draw, where attendees had the chance to win beautifully crafted gift baskets. The event also featured a special recognition ceremony for the students. They were acknowledged for their dedication and hard work in their respective classes. It was a proud moment for both the students and their families, as their efforts and achievements were celebrated by the entire community. The celebration of La Posada was more than just a festive gathering; it was a reflection of the community's spirit and the collective efforts to support and uplift one another. We look forward to continuing this beautiful tradition and creating more cherished memories in the years to come.

This semester revolved around outdoor activities, one of which involved exploring our neighborhood, Fruitvale, renowned for its vibrant murals. Students explored the stories behind these artworks, such as the mural of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale. Each of the murals showcases cultural expression, social activism, and community identity. Building up from the previous semester, we engaged in discussions on essential topics like mental health, self-care, and personal finances. We were fortunate to host multiple guest speakers who shared their time, expertise, and personal stories with our youth. Their contributions enriched our learning environment, for which we are immensely grateful. Students expressed their creativity through hands-on activities like sculpting pumpkins and building structures with sticks. These experiences not only provided opportunities for self-expression and creativity, but also brought us closer together, strengthening our sense of community. To celebrate students' hard work this semester, we took a field trip to San Francisco's Embarcadero by ferry. We had a great time exploring Fisherman's Wharf, riding the High Roller, visiting Salesforce Park, enjoying delicious hamburgers, and taking in the sights. As we wrap up this semester, we're left filled with gratitude and excitement for the future. The experiences and lessons we've shared have brought us closer and enriched our community. A very special thank you to all the guest speakers who took the time to inspire and share their knowledge with us.

Halloween is a time for fun and community, and on this occasion we came together for a fantastic celebration. Our event was packed with activities, delicious food, and a sense of community. We started the evening by handing out candies to the kids that passed by. Dressed in all sorts of creative costumes, we also walked around with buckets full of treats. One of the best moments was seeing a little boy dressed as a dragon, his face lighting up as he got his candy. Our event wasn't just for the kids, parents were also invited and joined us in our event. We had plenty of food to offer, treats for everyone, from candies and chocolates to snacks and drinks. As the night went on, we gathered for scary stories. Both kids and parents sat in a circle, eagerly waiting for the stories to begin. Each storyteller took turns sharing their spooky tales, from local legends to pure imagination. Our Halloween event was more than just a celebration; it was about the strength and spirit of our community. We came together to create a night full of fun, laughter, and shared experiences. From giving out candies to telling scary stories, every moment was filled with joy and a sense of belonging. As we look back on the night, we’re reminded of the importance of community and the joy of coming together to celebrate. Halloween is more than just costumes and candy; it’s about creating memories and strengthening our bonds. We’re already excited for next year’s celebration and hope to make it even better. Thanks to everyone who participated and made the event a success!

Our visit to EHDD Architecture was nothing short of fascinating, leaving us with a profound sense of amazement and opening our minds to numerous new career possibilities. The enthusiasm and excitement from both the youth and the staff members made our visit to EHDD Architecture a truly remarkable experience. The welcoming environment set the tone for an eventful day of exploration and learning. One of the most captivating aspects of our visit was the discovery of the rich diversity within the EHDD team. Their varied backgrounds, experiences, and expertise served as a profound source of inspiration for all of us. We gained insights into various departments and career paths available within their firm, including finance, design, and software development. The staff's warm hospitality made us feel genuinely valued and encouraged throughout our visit. We extend a special thanks to Michelle Peckham for facilitating this experience for us, Evelyn Garate for her translation and for sharing her personal journey, and Harcoover Singh Bhatti for his insightful account of his own experiences. Furthermore, we express our gratitude to the firm for treating us to a delightful lunch. Our visit to EHDD Architecture proved to be a day filled with inspiration, learning, and fascination. The diverse team and exposure to new career paths highlighted the vast potential within the field of architecture. We sincerely appreciate this enriching experience and extend our heartfelt gratitude to EHDD Architecture for granting us this exceptional opportunity.

Throughout this semester, we discussed a diverse amount of topics, each offering enriching insights and new knowledge. We started the semester by learning about Cesar Chavez, exploring his legacy and the impact of his activism. One standout experience was a jury duty activity, where students were presented with a scenario involving a labor strike and a shooting on private property. Students assumed roles as plaintiffs, defendants, or members of the jury, engaging in intense collaboration to come up with compelling arguments. As the semester progressed, we explored taxes and public policies, giving students a chance to share their views on where tax money should go. This provided students with an overview on how the government works and our role as citizens. We also discussed important topics like mental health, self-care, and managing personal finances. We had guest speakers who shared their experience on multiple topics, opening up new perspectives and enriching our discussions. Alongside our academic endeavors, students got creative with hands-on activities like sculpting with play-dough and painting. These activities not only let students express themselves but also brought us closer, building a strong sense of community and friendship. As the semester ended, we paused to look back on our favorite memories and the knowledge we gained. This semester was highlighted by the presence of the interns from Arise High School, who collaborated, and in some cases, led classes and activities. We look forward to building on these experiences and continuing to learn and grow together.

Recently, we had an Academic Enrichment Day focused on software engineering. Our guest speaker for the day was an aspiring software engineer currently studying in college. He had been working closely with our foundation to provide insight and guidance to our youth interested in this field. He talked about the different paths one could take in software engineering and how to get started in this exciting industry. During the talk, our youth participated in a fun and engaging game that helped them understand how computers follow instructions. The game involved giving instructions to a person to make a sandwich, but with the twist that the person following the instructions was representing a computer. The students quickly realized that computers are very literal and that they needed to be extremely specific with their instructions. Despite the initial struggles, the students had a lot of fun with the game and learned some valuable lessons about software engineering in the process.

We had the opportunity to visit the newly opened Tunnel Tops near the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a day filled with excitement and wonder, as we explored the various features and attractions of the park. The park offers breathtaking views of the city, with multiple vantage points to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. The winding paths and gardens are perfect for a leisurely stroll, and the picnic areas are great for a relaxing lunch. One of the highlights of the day was the park's interactive exhibits, which provided a unique learning experience for everyone. From learning about the history of the Presidio to understanding the park's sustainability efforts, we were able to gain a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty of the area. The day wouldn't have been complete without the delicious food provided by the park, which added to the overall experience. We left feeling full, content, and grateful for the opportunity to visit such a beautiful and educational park.

The LIBRE Program youth had the amazing opportunity to go water rafting at American River and camping. It was an adventure-filled weekend with lots of laughter, new experiences, and memories made. The youth arrived at the river early in the morning, and after a brief safety orientation, they hopped on their rafts and paddled down the river. The rapids were exhilarating, and the youth worked together as a team to navigate through them. There were moments of excitement and moments of nervousness, but with the guidance of experienced guides, everyone made it through safely. At the LIBRE Program, we believe in empowering youth to reach their full potential, and experiences like this one are just one of the many ways we do that. We are committed to providing opportunities for our youth to develop their leadership, teamwork, and outdoor skills, while also having fun and creating lasting memories.

The youth at our organization recently had an exciting opportunity to visit one of San Francisco's top attractions, the Mirror Maze! It was an opportunity for the youth to have a fun day out while also engaging in a unique and challenging activity. Upon arriving at the Mirror Maze, the youth were amazed by the bright lights and the intricate design of the maze. The youth were divided into small groups and given a set of rules to follow. The rules were simple: find your way to the center of the maze, and then find your way back out again. As the youth made their way through the maze, they laughed and cheered each other on. They worked together to find their way out, communicating and strategizing along the way. It was a great team-building exercise that also helped to improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Visiting San Francisco's Mirror Maze was a great opportunity for our youth to have some fun while also improving their problem-solving and teamwork skills. We look forward to providing more unique and exciting experiences like this in the future.

Fall is in the air, and Halloween is just around the corner! At our organization, we recently had a Halloween-themed event where our youth clients had the opportunity to showcase their creativity and get into the spooky spirit by carving and decorating pumpkins. The event was held in our outdoor space, with tables set up for the students to work on their pumpkins. As they worked on their creations, they chatted and laughed, enjoying the chance to spend time with their friends and express themselves through art. We provided a variety of materials, such as carving tools, paint, glitter, and stickers, to help them bring their pumpkin designs to life. Some decided to carve intricate designs into their pumpkins, while others chose to paint or decorate them with stickers and glitter. It was heartwarming to see our youth come together and enjoy themselves while celebrating the Halloween season. We can't wait to host similar events in the future and continue to provide our students with opportunities to express themselves creatively.

We had an academic enrichment day focused on law enforcement, where we invited a police officer to speak to our youth. It was an insightful and informative day that gave our youth a chance to learn more about the role of law enforcement in our community. The police officer who visited our organization spoke about his experiences and answered questions from our youth. He explained how law enforcement works to keep our communities safe and how they are trained to handle different situations. Following the speaker, the youth participated in a series of activities designed to help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills related to law enforcement. They learned about different aspects of law enforcement, such as community policing and investigation techniques, through interactive games and team-building exercises. This academic enrichment day was just one of the many ways we empower our youth to learn about different career paths and industries. By exposing them to different fields, we hope to inspire them to pursue their passions and reach their full potential.

We had an amazing opportunity to learn how to fish and spend a day on the lake at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. It was an exciting and educational experience for everyone involved. The day started with a brief training session where the youth learned about fishing techniques, equipment, and safety tips. They were taught how to cast a line, tie a hook, and reel in a catch. The youth were eager to learn and asked lots of questions, showing their enthusiasm for the activity. Throughout the day, the youth caught a variety of fish, including trout, bass, and catfish. They were proud of their accomplishments and took many pictures to capture the memories. They also learned about the importance of catch-and-release, as they returned the fish to the lake to maintain its ecosystem. The day ended with a feeling of success and accomplishment. The youth had not only learned how to fish but also gained new skills, friendships, and experiences. Many of them expressed a newfound appreciation for the outdoors and a desire to continue fishing in the future.

The LIBRE Program youth had an unforgettable summer adventure at Lake Tahoe. They spent their days hiking through scenic trails, swimming in crystal clear waters. One of the highlights of the trip was camping under the starry night sky. The youth gathered around the campfire, sharing stories and roasting marshmallows. The peacefulness of the surroundings allowed them to disconnect from technology and connect with each other. Overall, the trip to Lake Tahoe was an amazing experience for the LIBRE Program youth. It allowed them to challenge themselves, bond with each other, and create lasting memories. The LIBRE Program is committed to providing opportunities like this to help our youth develop leadership skills, teamwork, and a love for the outdoors.

During her time in college, she faced many challenges, including balancing work, school, and personal responsibilities. But she persevered and stayed focused on her goals. She took advantage of resources available to her, including tutoring and mentorship programs, and built a strong support system of friends and family. Through it all, she remained committed to her studies and her dreams for the future. Now, as a college graduate, she is well-positioned to pursue a fulfilling career and make a positive impact in her community. Her success is a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. We are proud of her accomplishments and know that she will continue to achieve great things in her life.

Aspiring college students from the LIBRE Program recently embarked on a journey to explore San Francisco State University. This trip was an opportunity for them to discover a new campus, meet college students and professors, and learn about different academic programs. They visited different buildings, classrooms, libraries, and facilities, and were introduced to the university's academic culture and student life. The aspiring college students were inspired by the variety of programs offered and the sense of community that permeated throughout the campus. The aspiring college students left the university feeling motivated and empowered to pursue their academic goals. They were inspired by the possibilities that college education could offer and felt more confident about their future plans. At the LIBRE Program, we believe in the power of education to transform lives, and experiences like this one are just one of the many ways we support our youth's academic achievement.

Recently, a group of young people from the LIBRE Program had the opportunity to visit the zoo and it was an experience they won't soon forget. The youth were able to see these incredible animals up close and learn about their unique behaviors and habitats. They even had the chance to feed the giraffes, which was a highlight for many. One of the most important aspects of the trip was the emphasis on conservation and the role of zoos in preserving endangered species. The youth learned about the various conservation programs the zoo participates in and how they can make a difference in protecting these animals. Overall, the trip to the San Francisco Zoo was a great way for the youth to connect with nature and learn about the importance of conservation. It was a fun and educational experience that left a lasting impression.