Akasha Canonizado

I grew up in San Francisco, and have learned a lot of wisdom and experiences from the challenges of life. There have been a lot of distractions in my life but I have learned that all that matters is my happiness because, at the end of the day, you’re living for accomplishments and good memories. I’d like to one day have stable housing with my significant other. Hoping to one day pursue my dreams of becoming famous on youtube with my artistry. YSA has provided a community, and family for me and they inspire me to keep moving forward.

Allegra Uzzell Thelemaque

I have lived in San Francisco, Vacaville, Berkeley, Richmond, and Oakland. YSA has taught me to be respectful to the elderly and individuals struggling with homelessness. I have a lot of interest in writing screenplays, stories, plays and pull inspiration from singing, acting, dancing, music, and writing. I see a lot of value in art because it is a way to create a whole new world and it’s a lot of fun. I was in 12th grade when I came to YSA.

YSA provided a job for me when I needed one and it has taught me a lot of job skills.

Kamaria Armstead

I am Kamaria Armstead. I was born in Bakersfield, California. I have a simple life. I like making a lot of friends. I am an apprentice at YSA. One thing YSA has helped me out with is opening up to people a little bit more. Art has helped me through some tough times. A challenge I’ve overcome is racism. It’s been hard to deal with but I’ve been coping through it. One goal I have is to graduate Berkeley High School with a 3.5 GPA. I’d like to go to college and study Law or Business.

Christian Johnson 

I was raised in Alameda, in a very white neighborhood. I went to Lum Elementary and Wood Middle School before i moved to Berkeley. Some goals that I’m trying to achieve are a 3.0 GPA, college acceptance letters, and a good job. I have worked at YSA for a couple months, and have learned a lot about people who are less fortunate than me and I am very lucky to be in YSA It has helped with my anxiety, my ability to speak in public and expressing my art. I have benefited from YSA due to the money and opportunities to be part of a greater purpose.

Peter Moland

I was born in Bakersfield, then I moved to Oakland in the year 2000. Oakland groomed me into a hard worker. Growing up I’ve always wanted to be successful. Being an aspirant at YSA it has helped me come out of my shell. In more ways than one YSA has helped me improve. Ever since I’ve started coming to YSA my mood and spirit have been lifted and now I know how to make the most out of everyday.

Eloni Bickham

For me, YSA is a productive and supportive community. Everyone is close and YSA really puts value on their employees well being. It’s a great non-judgmental accepting environment and has changed me a lot. My biggest challenge in my life is something I am still struggling with, my relationship with my mom. YSA has helped me through it.

Someone who helped me a lot at YSA is Mame Diarra. She has helped me open up and find myself, in and out of YSA. I hope as time goes by I can make a positive impact on someone, as well. I felt really happy at YSA on a Friday during a really inspiring meeting. My favorite art piece is my poster, because it acknowledges beauty and the importance of black women. It’s a really personal piece. I think my future is going to involve a career related to math.

Brandon Harris

I am currently an apprentice at YSA. My hometown is Oakland, California. The spirit of entrepreneurship inspires me. People say I am such a terrific salesman, I could sell ANYTHING. My preferred artistic style is Abstract on Canvas. I create art out of love and joy, and I care about my audience. Art gets me in my flow. I like to be real with myself. I want my audience to know me, so my art conveys stories about my life. Art-making provides me an opportunity to challenge myself and to engage in a process of growth. Creative independence and autonomy remain a consistent goal of mine. I like to feel powerful, and when I create art I feel very, very powerful.

Ren Nelson

I am currently a Berkeley High School intern at YSA. I was raised in the Bay Area. I grew up with two older siblings and my parents are divorced. I am working towards going to college. At YSA I have learned the importance of people’s voices being heard. Art is my therapy. Some challenges I have overcome are depression and my parent’s divorce. I am a mixed race person, and while at YSA I feel like I have helped people by creating art, which is really cool.