Berkeley Youth Institute

Brought to you by the YMCA of the Central Bay Area.

YI Summer 2016 Films!

Hey folks! The wait is finally over! The films for the Berkeley Youth Institute Summer of 2016 are now online! Grab the popcorn, hit the lights, and get comfy--here are the fantastic new stories made directly by our youth!

We'll kick things off with our one and only NEW CLASS. Make sure to watch the entire playlist!

Check out the amazing posters for their films!

Ready for RETURNERS? We hope so, because they rocked it just good this year!

That's a wrap! As always, this summer was a blast, and we look forward to what our newcomers, and returners make this coming school year. Keep a look out for future updates! 

YI & Youth Enrichment Strategies collaboration

Lucy (YI) shows Billy (YES) how expose a photograph properly.

From December to May we worked closely with our new community partner - Youth Enrichment Strategies: Nature to Neighborhoods (YES). YES provides youth, adults and families living in Richmond access to experiences in the natural environment – opportunities that can ignite the imagination, build self-confidence and enhance leadership skills. Because of both our commitments to youth development and the natural environment it was importance for us to bring our resources together in an exciting way!

Over the last six months our youth leadership teams grew close, teaching each other about the outdoors and digital media. We helped YES prepare for their end of the year research project by teaching them how to take pictures, record and edit video, and create/record their own sounds. In return, they provided us with much needed and much appreciated opportunities in nature throughout the school-year. This was a cool collaboration that we're definitely looking forward to continuing next year!

Lulani (YI) designs a fun Illustrator workshop for YES. 

Xavier and a participant chilling at a YES family camp.

Lulani tells a secret to one of the kids at a YES family camp.

2016 Complexion Projects

Complexion worked on some really cool projects with some really dope people from January-April. The Berkeley Youth Institute teamed up with four local artists/entrepreneurs and created a series of projects for us to complete. Our purpose has always been to provide local, on-the-job training to young, developing artists and media makers; so, it makes sense that we teamed up with four dope Bay Area creatives!


JANUARY - We teamed up with Do D.A.T. to create a 2-track extended play (EP). Gathering our inspiration from a couple different Wu-Tang tracks we created the beats, lyric video and album art. Do D.A.T provided the powerful lyrical content. Here's Mechanical Man.


FEBRUARYComplexion worked with Red Bay Coffee to design and execute a social media marketing campaign for the brand’s operations at the Berkeley Farmer’s Markets. We thought deeply about Red Bay’s mission and their target demographic. The result is a visually compelling Instagram campaign that focuses on “The Faces of Red Bay Coffee.” 


MARCH - Complexion teamed up with UPLFTRS to create a new t-shirt design and campaign. Ultimately, they decided to focus on the theme of Global community (in light of the upcoming 2016 summer olympics). Their initial ideas inevitably became rough sketches, and those sketches ultimately became the “UPLFTRS Worldwide” Community tee. You can purchase the shirt here! Use code "comm[unity]" for 15% off (through end of the month).


APRIL - Pamela Chavez and Emalyn Lopez challenged Complexion to make an animated short. This was the first time that they had done anything like this! It's a story of two rockets - thoughtfully illustrated, sound elevated. It took them longer than they expected, but the end of the journey inevitably came. Witness SPACE RACE


To see the original post please click here

2016 Complexion Showcase

For the last four months, our Year 3s and 4s have been working with Bay Area artists and entrepreneurs on a series of REALLY dope projects! See original post here! The time has finally arrived for us to release this work to the public! Come out on Monday, May 23rd from 7PM-9PM to see what the young folks have created! We'll have refreshments (provided by Kingston 11) and a panel discussion featuring the youth and clients involved with the projects. This is going to be amazing--DON'T MISS OUT!

Click here for the Facebook event!

A letter from our Program Manager

Hey beautiful people!

This year I’m campaigning for the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center. It’s my second year as Program Manager of the Berkeley Youth Institute, and I am so thankful to call this my job. Most days you’ll find me and the group walking around the TC with our shoes off because for me and a lot of our young folks, this place is our second home. 

This program is special because, in addition to being a second home, it provides the young folks with the training and resources necessary to be successful in the workforce. Currently, we have 40 active participants. They have all logged at least 150 hours in the lab this year learning, practicing, and creating with professional software and equipment. The reason why I do this work is so that my program participants, 90% whom are of people of color, can be appropriately prepared for work in white/male dominated tech and creative industries. 

Please join me in supporting the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center by making a donation to my campaign (click the photo below!). I’m completely committed to making sure that our young folks, especially those lacking resources, continue to have a NO COST space where they can be themselves, and develop the skills to challenge the status quo. 

Thank you in advance for your contribution!


Year One Utopias

In February, our Year Ones worked together to create Illustrations that portrayed their idea of a Utopia. Each illustration was worked on by three teens, and were created using Adobe Illustrator. Check them out below!

Illustration by Alexandra Steverson, Dejonte Scott, & Amaya Jones

Illustration by Cindy Tran, Satchel Alexander, & Amar Roberts

Illustration by Jaime Monroy-Nieblas, Karina Ayala, & Zorion Sudjian-Lampkin

Xavier Villaluz (Year 3) shoots photos for UPLFTRS

We got a head start on our future collaboration with Oakland-based, streetwear community + culture brand UPLFTRS.  Their latest Black History Month campaign features a "COMM[UNITY]" tee "dedicated to celebrating the brilliance of people of color every single day."  10% of all sales will be donated to the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). Xavier Villaluz, one of our Year 3s, was the principal photographer for all of the images from this campaign! Check out some of our favorites here:

Check out the UPLFTRS website to see all of Xavier's photographs and for more information about the "COMM[UNITY]" T-shirt! 

2015 YMCA Volunteer of the Year Video

We collaborated with our family at the YMCA of the Central Bay area again this year to produce the 2015 Volunteer of the Year video. The shooting, editing, and music production was all done by our teens! 

Congratulations to Chesline Miller (Junior, BHS), Daniel Gonzalez (Junior, BHS), Hector Muñoz-Guzman (Junior, BHS), Xavier Villaluz (Junior, Oak. Tech), Erika Lopez (Junior, Oak. Tech), Tarik Brooks (Senior, BHS), and Jordan Rowen-Keren (Senior, BHS) on a job well done!

Makes Me Move - Year 1

This month we challenged our new class to create a five second animated gif of a character gettin' down in honor of the theme ("Makes Me Move"). This is the first time that our new members have worked in animation. Not bad, huh? 

Cindy Tran

Cindy Tran

Alex Steverson

Alex Steverson

Hannah Montano

Hannah Montano

Amar Roberts

Amar Roberts

Christian Iztep-Pastor

Christian Iztep-Pastor

Dejonte Scott

Dejonte Scott

Jaime Monroy-Nieblas

Jaime Monroy-Nieblas

Jasmine Perez Guzman

Jasmine Perez Guzman

Karina Ayala

Karina Ayala

Lucas Picard

Lucas Picard

Satchel Alexander

Satchel Alexander

Taliah Suttles

Taliah Suttles

Zorion Lampkin

Zorion Lampkin

These simple animations were created using the "Timeline" window in Photoshop CS6. 


My Hood - Year 2

Lucy Wald

"For this project I really wanted to show how moving has been a huge part of my life. I never felt like I had a home because I was constantly moving. I used moving boxes to represent that. Sometimes I would move and wouldn't unpack the things I was going to need because I knew I was just going to move again. I've gotten really good at packing up my room, I've also gotten really good at getting used to change."

Makeda Tucker & Jasmine Miller

"The song “World Crisis”, by Queen M.A.K and JazzyMon, is about how the world is in our perspective. We basically want the world to change in many different ways. When we sing we’re letting people know what we'd like to see change. It ’s  t i m e t o s e e a b r i g h t e r d a y . A d a y w i t h n o f i g h t i n g ... Hopefully this song gives people a mindset of what the world can really be like."

Yessenia Sanchez

"My neighborhood is my household. I socialize there. I fight there. It's where I grew up. These photos are important because they represent the circumstances that I am put under every day. Having a single mother has been hard for me because there is no other option for me but to keep the things my mom forgets to do consistent. Otherwise, I would be living in a broken home. I think the fact that my family makes so much out of nothing makes me feel rich when it comes to valuing things. My home is where I decide wether I give up or get up because there are no second chances."

Lulani Sudjian-Lampkin


Maya Brooks

"The reason why I decided to do a podcast for this project is because I feel like an audio piece shows emotion. I think everyone has a certain emotion connected to their neighborhood whether it be negative or positive. I interviewed two of my friends who live in the same neighborhood as each other. What are their opinions about their neighborhood? Our neighborhood has a large impact on us, and I know that when you live around violence it can affect you. I asked my friends what’s wrong with their neighborhood and they had a lot to say, but when it came to a solution there weren’t that many answers." 

Patricia Adaya

"What is a “hood”? I once was asked what my hood was and I immediately thought of home. Your hood, your home, your city--­­they’re all the same thing. My hood is Berkeley. I have lived in a couple other places before­­--San Francisco and the Philippines--but they never quite felt the same. Berkeley is where I was raised. It is where my family is and where all my memories are. Moving to America from a different country, I didn’t really know where I belonged, that is, until I came here. Berkeley is diverse, full of life and color, welcoming, and overall, special. It never leaves you, and I know that wherever I go or who I become, it will always be a big part of me." 

Sir James Robinson

*UPDATE* My Hood project (New Class)

Our New class was asked to create a jingle based on the the posters that they created two weeks ago ("My Hood" theme). Here are the posters and the 30 second jingles that go with them! 


We started off by asking our New Class the following question: "What would make a community a utopia?" Many in the group had very similar thoughts on this. We then transitioned into talking about their own communities. What was preventing their neighborhoods from becoming their ideal utopia? We challenged them to create a poster--using Illustrator or Photoshop--and a jingle--using Logic Pro X--that confronts or provides a solution to these issues.



YI at the International Coastal Cleanup

This Saturday we volunteered, along other YMCA PG&E Teen Center programs, to clean up the Berkeley Marina. Coastal Cleanup Day is California's largest volunteer event. Each year thousands of people gather at different beaches along the coast to clean up trash and protect our seas. We were very proud to be a part of this event! We also used the opportunity to improve our personal community; we had a great time spending the Saturday together.

Check out these photos from Saturday! 

The end of Summer review

Sorry for the silence folks! Here's a nice, big summary of our wonderful summer.

Our new class started from scratch, and learned the foundation of film and design. Through perseverance, patience, and persistence, they created their very first films and designed logos, posters, and magazine pages. They fit into our family perfectly. Here's a playlist with all the New Class films!

Our Year Twos bonded together and built off the foundation from last year. They proved to us, once more, that any challenge can be completed. They rocked it! Here's a playlist with all the Year Two films!

With two to three years under their belts, our Year Threes and Fours earned what all artist strive for: COMPLETE CREATIVE CONTROL. They were given a budget of $300, and challenged to handle all aspects of production. With great power comes great responsibility, and they handled both with grace. Here's a playlist with the Year Three films!

The summer of 2015 has incredibly challenging and fun. Congratulations and thanks to our amazing group!