Recently, Bill and James teamed up to do some site visits to community organizations operating in Oakland. One of their stops was to Street Level Health Project, a community center based in East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. The Street Level Health Project team works with underserved urban immigrant communities in the East Bay. One of their programs is the Health Access Program, which offers an array of free services including basic health screenings, HIV testing, doctor referrals and mental health support. The organization also has a Leadership and Empowerment Program, which provides education and resource referrals to workers, temporary food and clothing assistance, and community wellness and skill-building classes. Not to mention they serve breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays. As you may venture to guess, they are quite busy.
Walking into their small operating space filled with people of all ages and backgrounds, you can immediately sense that they are working at full capacity. Bill and James met with Laura Lopez, the Executive Director, who gave them a tour of the facilities and introduced them to her team of dedicated volunteers. This included Street Level Health Project’s doctor, William Wallin, who, along with the countless volunteers, were packed into the room which serves as the health clinic a few times per week.
Laura and her team discussed the importance of not just providing people with food and health care services, but also giving them the tools to take care of themselves. This is why they focus on skill building and health education such as diabetes management and prevention. Street Level Health Project continues to thrive since its creation a decade ago and to expand its services to be more effective and far-reaching.