Our Community Services Team arranges a variety of activities and services for the residents of Oak Park and our neighbors including: food distributions from the Food Bank, ESL (english as a second language) classes taught by Cuesta College, health classes by Dignity Health, supportive services from Pregnancy and Parenting Support, story hours led by First 5 in Spanish, a 4-H club, Active Kids summer camp, and swimming lessons at the municipal pool. All services are free to the participants. AHPR also puts on many individual events to engage our families and neighbors (pancake breakfasts, visit from Santa, arts & crafts sessions, cooking experiences, sports days, monthly dinners for families and for teens).
YouthWorks (YW) is the signature program of AHPR with the mission to teach youth leadership skills and job skills to prepare them for the world of work. YW began in 2011 with 6 high school students and now draws from all over SLO North County, serving about 500 youth from 6 to 24 years old.
YouthWorks operates year-round, and the program is free to all participants. Middle school and high school youth learn the ways of the workplace as they are scheduled for weekly paid work shifts assigned by our Community Services Team. They develop skills in farming, janitorial tasks, cooking, customer service, cash handling, tutoring, childcare, office jobs, and computers. Using cascading mentorship, the adults oversee all operations while the older students train and tutor each lower age level.
Under the supervision of adults, our youth handle all tasks of the YW farm and last year provided 1500 pounds of fresh produce free to families in our community. They clean the Oak Park community center and laundry rooms, pick up trash, and empty trashcans throughout the grounds. They track YW’s payroll, write numerous thank you notes, sort food for the Food Bank’s community food distributions at Oak Park; & supervise younger students’ homework, art projects, computer coding, and outdoor recreation. In the summer they create and deliver a camp experience to elementary age children.
YW teens generally find employment in the community the year they are 16 years old. Once they transition out of day-to-day participation, they continue to receive support from the program, including college scholarships for several years.