East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC): A Community-based Organization Creating Strategic Partnerships with Schools & Districts

Oakland High School’s Shop 55, Oakland, CA

Photo Credit: East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC)

Annually, Shop 55 serves over 1,000 students (~65% of Oakland High’s student population) and is the #1 most utilized School-Based Health Center out of all 28 located across Alameda County, with higher utilization of services than high schools double its size.

What is Shop 55

Shop 55 is a youth-led, trauma-informed, school-based health and wellness center located on the campus of Oakland High School (Oakland High), a comprehensive 9th through 12th grade program with approximately 1,600 students in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Shop 55 is operated by a local non-profit, East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), which provides the school with staffing, partnerships, and additional funding opportunities with external public agencies. The center is open Mondays through Fridays 8 am to 6 pm.

Shop 55 began nearly 20 years ago through a robust year-long listening campaign and community-driven needs assessment process to identify how to better support students' health and wellness at Oakland High School.

The Origin Story—Community-Dreamed and Driven

Photo Credit: East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC)


In 2005, EBAYC created a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and hired 15 dedicated youth from an Asian Health Services’s Peer Health and Leadership Class to conduct a needs assessment and develop recommendations for addressing Oakland High health and wellness issues. YAC surveyed over 1000 Oakland High students. With seed funding provided by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency and a philanthropic partner, The California Endowment, EBAYC staff, and a youth advisory council conducted four focus groups with teachers, implemented 150 parent surveys, and formed a Wellness Advisory Council comprised of students, families, teachers, staff, district administration, and community partners. The Wellness Advisory Council developed a mission, vision, and strategic plan for Oakland High, including staffing and facility recommendations.

How Shop 55 is a Trusted Student Health and Wellness Partner

Photo Credit: East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC)


Through multidisciplinary partnerships with local community agencies, Shop 55 supports a continuum of student needs through medical and dental check-ups, mental health counseling, crisis support, academic tutoring, physical wellness, reproductive health services, enrichment opportunities, and case management services. In addition to these services, Shop 55 also plays an instrumental role as part of the high school community, particularly supporting school culture and climate. In addition to providing a “one-stop” shop for health and wellness services, Shop 55 manages the Coordination of Services Team (COST) to serve as a central referral for Oakland High students in need of social, emotional, and mental health support. Shop 55 also aims to involve students, staff, and families in a multitude of ways, by serving as both a provider of programs and wellness services, as well as by facilitating Oakland High’s culture and climate team to promote a healthy school culture throughout the school community and leadership.

Shop 55’s services are woven into the Oakland High community as a trusted provider of wellness services across a continuum of care. Annually, Shop 55 serves over 1,000 students (~65% of OHS’ student population) and is the #1 most utilized school-based health center out of all 28 located across Alameda County, with higher utilization of services than high schools double its size. East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) has served as the lead agency and coordinator of services for Shop 55 since its inception in 2007 and continues to provide case management, operations, and fundraising/financial support.

Shop 55 Is Built on Innovative Funding Partnerships

EBAYC strategically partners with a community-based organization that is contracted directly by Alameda County’s Mental Health Plan to deliver mental health services at the school; the community-based organization then hires and employs the clinician who is housed at Shop 55 and also takes on the administrative billing for Medi-Cal services. In addition, they allow school community members to initiate referrals for outside providers and services to ensure students have agency to select a provider they are comfortable with. These well-developed partnerships are maintained through monthly partner meetings, monthly medical and dental meetings, as well as annual convenings between providers and the principal/administration of Oakland High.

Over the last 15 years, Shop 55 has grown its strategic partnerships and expanded its funding streams to include numerous government funds through state, county, and local initiatives, including:

Even the Shop 55 space itself is the result of innovative ideas and transformation. Housed in the school's former auto shop, it  was repurposed as computer classrooms temporarily before being transformed into the present wellness center facility. The dedicated physical space of the wellness center is important to its success as it is located on the school campus so it is easily accessible for students, but also conveniently set apart from the main building allowing students to “take an emotional break” as needed and have access to private, confidential counseling rooms. While Shop 55 offers robust health and wellness services, its unique approach is much more akin to a youth development center, creating a warm and welcoming, rather than clinical vibe. The funds used to renovate the building came from the school district’s general obligation bond dollars, another example of how Shop 55 leverages various funding sources.

Key Takeaways

Photo Credit: East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC)

Invest in a robust youth-led planning and engagement process:

EBAYC and Shop 55 invested time and resources in conducting a listening campaign led by and for directly impacted students. By centering students in the listening campaign and later convening diverse interest holders in the design process, the school community was able to develop a clear shared vision and strategic plan to implement programs and services that were culturally rooted and responsive to students’ hopes and needs.

 Seek out non-traditional sources of funding:

Shop 55 is able to blend numerous public and philanthropic funds together by continuing partnerships with long-standing funders (Alameda County Health Care Service Agency), while also seeking out new and innovative sources to fund mental health and wellness (i.e. violence prevention funds through the City of Oakland). The building itself was renovated with school district funds in addition to in-kind staffing contributions from the school. By expanding its definition of wellness beyond just physical health and taking a more holistic and inclusive approach, Shop 55 has been able to seek out non-traditional sources of funding to support its suite of services. Shop 55 seeks to break down silos between providers that have typically been divided in the past (i.e. medical providers, after-school staff, community school initiatives) and bring them together in an effort to blend and braid funding streams for long-term sustainability.

Build and nurture transformational school and community partnerships:

EBAYC/Shop 55 is much more than a service provider, they are an essential school partner embedded in the fabric of the school community. Shop 55 staff take on important roles in the school infrastructure contributing to its success, such as leading the school’s COST team, seeking out internship opportunities for students, participating in the School Site Council, and supporting youth to meaningfully participate in opportunities to shape the school’s culture and climate. In 2011, Shop 55 developed plans and obtained funding for a new academic program, a Public Health Academy in partnership with the school, a pathway that is still thriving at the school.

Shop 55 is led by an experienced and talented Wellness Center Director, Rany Ath, who is also an alum of Oakland High. Having been in her role for over a decade, Rany is able to develop trusting and lasting relationships with students, staff, community partners, and school and district administration, which exemplifies the work of the wellness center.

For more information, contact: Rany Ath, Wellness Center Director at rany@ebayc.org. To learn more about the Wellness Center, visit www.shop55.org.