"My favorite SAFIRE session was this one."

Friday, December 17, 2010

By Amanda Wake

Judy Wu on The Kapor Center's
new mural
SAFIRE's Fall 2010 session came to a close this Monday. Ratema who has been part of SAFIRE for 2 years said, "My favorite SAFIRE session was this one." She wasn't the only one who felt this way. What made this session so special? This year we had the added bonus of a weekend at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. And we traveled around the Bay Area to do workshops with other youth on climate justice and strong families. But what makes every session what it is are the girls who are in SAFIRE. Every session (3 per year) a different group of girls come through SAFIRE. Some of them are new and some of them are returning but all of them are unique, bringing their own wonderful personalities to the group.

We closed out our session with a trip down the street to the Kapor Foundation's mural (created by local artist Favianna Rodriguez) outside of their new building, The Kapor Center, on 22nd and Broadway in downtown Oakland. There we found a picture of SAFIRE alumni, Judy Wu under the heading "It's time to develop our next leaders."

This image was taken from a picture of Judy while facilitating a Youth and Climate Justice workshop in 2009. As Judy starts her first year at UCLA the SAFIRE girls this Fall continued what she started in 2009 when we kicked off our climate justice and youth work. This is a true example of leadership development and what SAFIRE strives to do, continually build the leadership of Asian young women in Oakland.

This is also what leadership development is all about. Here are some quotes from SAFIRE on what this Fall session has meant to them:

"All you do is smile and laugh here at SAFIRE." – Renee

"I can speak my mind here and there’s no wrong answer. If this was school I would get an A+." – Miranda

"I didn’t think I would make a lot of friends here. I was just going to stick with the girls I came with. But I made friends with everyone!" – Soriya (first time in SAFIRE)

"Now it’s easier to talk in class. I’m a speaker now." – Vy

"This was the most FUN session. We’ve all gotten really close. I’ve learned to open up more and be more confident and independent." – Chrystal.

"I’m more independent and less afraid of being myself." – Kandace

"SAFIRE is my second home." – Sophia

Happy Holidays from SAFIRE!

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