The program, approved by the City Council last year, is looking for community participation via its new website, www.youmeweoakley.org. Through the program, local officials from the City of Oakley, the Oakley Union School District plus local community groups hope to build a more open dialogue with the public and gather input about community needs while fostering a welcoming atmosphere so that residents feel comfortable approaching officials as well as their neighbors.
“Oakley is a growing city,” You, Me, We = Oakley Program Coordinator Gabriela Baños-Galvan said. “And these days, people don’t connect with their own neighbors, let alone the extended community, so You, Me, We = Oakley is a program to break down barriers and help the community become more connected.”
Part of enhancing the connection is providing Spanish speakers access to information about community events and city updates. For example, last year the Oakley school district hosted Leer Para Crecer (Read to Grow) a Latino family literacy outreach workshop. The goal of the event was to increase the dialogue between schoolteachers and the Latino community, stressing the importance of literacy in the home as well as in the classroom.
On the flip side, the school district also annually hosts a Cinco de Mayo celebration for the entire community, allowing residents to come together to better understand the Mexican holiday.
In another effort to engage the Spanish-speaking community, the city hosted a neighborhood watch workshop in December specifically for Spanish speakers so that they would have access to the same information presented to English speakers two months prior.
After conducting a series of focus groups to understand what people in Oakley want, Baños-Galvan discovered that the residents have numerous common goals. Residents want a safe community in which to raise their families. They want quality schools and a reduction in crime. And the community also wants to feel connected through community involvement.
“People have been really responsive to the program,” Baños-Galvan said. “People are willing to listen to the program’s message and make changes to be more community minded. They seem open to building relationships within the community.”
To foster that community connection, You, Me, We = Oakley will also promote acceptance of diversity. Building trust, respecting others and treating people as you’d like to be treated are fundamentals discussed in grade school, but Baños-Galvan believes everyone could use a reminder about common courtesies. The school children who are reviewing these practices of kindness in school are role models to the adults in their lives, and Baños-Galvan hopes the lessons taught in school can become part of everyday life in Oakley.
For more information about the You, Me, We = Oakley program, visit www.youmeweoakley.org or follow the program on Facebook.