Our Mission

MISSION STATEMENT United Roots engages and empowers marginalized youth in socially innovative ways.We accomplish this by providing:

  • Arts and media training, instilling confidence and developing talents
  • Career and workforce development, cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Community engagement, building bridges to local organizations and employers
  • Wellness services, creating a safe, sustainable environment for youth to heal and grow

Here are real stories of how “socially innovative ways” are a part of our everyday here at United Roots.

A young person from the streets of Oakland makes it to one of our classes and six months later is more self-sufficient

  • Homeless Youth Joins Youth Program at United Roots and Becomes More Self Sufficient: A young adult staying in a homeless shelter joined the United Roots music program and while participating in the program got a job and found a place to live.

A youth crew launches a sustainable business that gives back to the community they are from.

  • In-House Graphic Design Company: A youth staff at United Roots launched a modest business venture to provide affordable graphic design especially to projects benefiting his community. The company refers people to other local youth-run companies and contracts youth when possible.

A successful coalition of youth artists and community organizations work toward giving low-income communities access to resources.

  • Coalition of Youth Organizations Founded United Roots: United Roots, a shared space for collaboration on youth programming for low-income communities in the Bay Area, came together as a coalition project involving four community-based groups in Oakland.

New, better and different alliances with schools and businesses.

  • Collaboration with Local High Schools: United Roots partnered with an intermediary organization to build strategic partnerships with local high schools to offer engaging, accredited, off-campus training in media arts to participating students.
  • Meeting youth on their own terms
  • Unconditional Love
  • Checking Assumptions
  • Hopeful Pragmatism
  • Directly connecting with the street
  • The healing impact of everything we do
  • Living and working sustainably
  • Building coalitions for the greater cause

United Roots has been chosen by Impact HUB Oakland to be the location of Youth Impact HUB, which will be the nation’s first youth social impact co-working space, and be managed by United Roots, Youth SEED and Impact HUB Oakland.

At United Roots we work with marginalized youth in socially innovative ways. We offer leadership, arts, and media programs that engage issues of social change aligned with “green” environmental justice movements and movements addressing the digital divide.

‘Socially innovative’ for us is about providing alternative education platforms that encourage self-sufficiency while also inspiring a ‘giving back’ to ourselves and local communities. This work is about building successful partnerships as individuals, as organizations, and as diverse communities in order to even out the playing field by changing how we relate to each other and the world. It’s about forming better and different alliances with schools and businesses. It’s about using arts and media to address root issues (education equality, economic empowerment, health and sustainability) in powerful ways that also promote flourishing local economies.

At the moment, we are cultivating through our arts for social change model a “can do” attitude for youth. Our primary purpose is to:

1. Get young people off the streets

Our aspirations for the coming years are to build partnerships and alliances to:

2. Create fundamentally new economic opportunities
3. Change cultural dialogue around major root issues

We are looking for investing visionaries that recognize real change as a mutual process of exchange between those of us on the ground with those of us who have the privilege to think bigger in order to create together a hands on approach for cross fertilization that is the only choice of action if we want to see a future for all communities to thrive.

Our ten-year track record working in the streets through community engagement using arts and media, along with our social innovation inspired philosophy, positions us uniquely to effectively enlist and impact communities traditionally left out.