Wealthy, prominent cities in the Bay tend to be booming with culture, people, and the latest innovative technology. Unfortunately, cities such as San Francisco steal the spotlight from neighboring cities that are offering their own brand of innovative solutions to the shared challenges of poverty, violence and low civic engagement. Less than an hour drive away from San Francisco lies Richmond; a city that struggles with sustaining safe environments for its local youth.
10 years ago, with the support of County Supervisor John Gioia, Executive Director Kimberly Aceves-Iñiguez and Co-Director Kanwarpal Dhaliwal founded a safe community space known as the RYSE Center. Supervisor John Gioia describes the RYSE Center as a space for young people to learn, heal, and transform their lives and communities. The Center responds to the community’s ever-changing needs and priorities, creating a cohesive and powerful youth voice demanding change.
Currently, the Center is building a new campus, RYSE Commons, which will provide updated spaces for learning and exploration, music and art making, and hanging out. Emphasizing the need for young people to heal their minds, bodies, and spirits, RYSE Commons will offer places for meditation, yoga, and cooking, as well as on-site mental health and wellness resources. This project stands as one of the winners of the Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards. With support and funding from The California Endowment, the RYSE Commons will cost nearly $10 million to build and holds the clear intention of improving health and justice in Richmond. As a passion project stemming from the City’s youth, the expansion of RYSE Commons will increase programming space by 250% and widen the age range to 11-24.
What does this mean for the future of Richmond?
RYSE Commons will offer a dynamic, permanent space that reflects the beauty, talent and commitment of Richmond’s youth to create a child-friendly city for future generations. And young people are not the only ones excited for the opening of the new space in late 2020. Guardians and adult allies eagerly await the opportunity to use the shared community rooms to come together to launch campaigns pushing for positive social change that will bring about greater health equity and a brighter future for all.