As a youth growing up in the East Bay, Rod has seen a lot of things he believes youth should not see. These things shaped Rod to become a youth leader and advocate for youth at the age of eleven. He comes with experience, working with Furthering Youths Inspiration, a non-profit based in Alameda County that created after-school and community activities to promote positive, alternative avenues for youth to thrive and ultimately established the Reach Ashland Youth Center in 2012!
Rod has partnered with Alameda County’s Friday Night Live chapter and worked with the Deputy Sheriffs Activities League in the Ashland Community helping shift the narrative on the relationship between law enforcement and youth in the Ashland community. As a person of color (Black/multi-raced), Rod brings a lived experience that he uses as a stepping tool in closing the gap between community members by creating a space where everyone from different backgrounds and races can be heard respectfully.
As a professional and individual, Rod dances and teaches Hip-Hop Dance, giving youth an alternative route to open their creative sides and expand their minds to the wonderful things dance and music can bring them. Rod brings all of his experiences to yli, building the bridge between youth and adults in San Mateo County. This includes his work with Daly City youth through the Daly City Bay Leaders and youth groups in Half Moon Bay at Cunha Intermediate Middle School, which have both produced exemplary work to advocate and uplift youth voices.
Rod has played an instrumental role in the yli’s internal mission to dismantle racism and assist the yli in becoming truly pro-Black. Working closely with other Black Staff and the Leadership Team, Rod assisted in the search and selection of an external facilitator to incorporate Diversity and Inclusion into our organizational priorities.