Building leaders in Oakland
Summer program is building self-esteem.
By Tommy Qiu
The Salvation Army Oakland Chinatown Corps, led by Major Grace Tse, is preparing for its annual summer day camp. Each year, more than 250 students participate in the camp, which is now led by volunteers, tutors and teachers who graduated from the corps’ leadership program. It targets Asian teens that are from low-income families, helping them build self-esteem as well as teaching them how to lead others in a three-year summer course taught during the summer day camp sessions. Each year the program only accepts 30 students—15 new students and 15 second-year returnees.
“I developed communication and social skills through this course,” said Julia Yu, a graduate of the second session. “I can better interact with the community, helping children, peers, adults and elders.”
Students spend the first two summers taking mandatory developmental classes and the last year volunteering in a class within the summer day camp. Successful completion of the program will allow the leader to apply for a teaching or a tutoring position at the after school tutoring and the summer day camp programs.
“The leadership program has helped me develop responsibility skills,” said Vincent Pang, a graduate of the third session. “I cared for the younger children and helped coordinate activities with my peers.”
Nine soldiers have been enrolled in the corps as a result of the leadership program.