we focus on underrepresented youth because they are rarely asked to serve in their communities.

We know that when they do serve, young people improve academically, grow personally and become active citizens. 

Upward Roots provides participants with the opportunity to be the solution to problems they see, problems they experience directly. They engage socially, emotionally, and civically, thinking critically about their communities and determine their own positive community action. We hope to inspire a culture of youth service from within, empowering these young people as changemakers in their communities.

Despite the value of service learning for under-resourced youth, in Oakland, only 40% of youth report having the opportunity to meaningfully engage with their community. We see this as an opportunity.

Benefits of Service-Learning for under-resourced Youth

Service learning leads to increased academic engagement and success.


People who volunteer when they are young are more likely to volunteer and vote as adults.

Service learning leads to increased positive youth development outcomes

In the 2015-16 Academic Year:

  • 94% of participants believe they are collaborators
  • 98% of participants believe they can solve problems
  • 94% of participants report a sense of self-awareness