Category Archives: Hayward

Passion Projects on Display at City Hall

A city thrives when their voices are heard. Some efforts have shown that The City of Hayward wants to “do a better job of understanding who their citizens are and what their citizens want” however, “a lot of citizens feel left out,” Sean McFarland, Advisor of The Student Initiative Center at Chabot College mentioned during an interview. How do we voice the words from the people in our community?

For this proposal, about 100 Chabot students collaborated to create, “Needles in the HayStack,”  a community-inspired art exhibit taking place in Haywards City Hall.

Tennyson Thrives is a collaborative effort between community members, Hayward City staff, and the Chabot College Student Initiative Center to create and implement a dynamic Vision Plan for the neighborhoods along the Tennyson Corridor.

So, what’s the plan? Advisor Sean McFarland admits that the goal is for, “The Mayor and The City Council, to see this in their workspace,  take a second to stop and interact with the art pieces.” The art exhibit will showcase a wide variety of art pieces made from an array of material in efforts to voice the opinions of the community. Some projects displayed are photo albums that open up into singing telegrams and other projects have stretched the artistic imagination by making movies, blankets, and CDs related to Hayward.

Collectively there will be about 70 pieces submitted. This has been the strategy of the community to elevate the truth and the heart of the citizen’s concerns. “We’ve had students go down and talk to citizens of South Hayward. It’s been exciting.” Advisor McFarland feels that through this art show artist will, “tell the stories of the people, rather than an essay, and it’s an epic amount.” One of the pieces also includes a roughly 6 foot long display board vividly illustrating the culture of a citizen from Hayward portrayed by a talented Chabot artist.

Lynn’de Holder, Tania Romero, and Monica Hernandez came together to work on an ambitious piece emulating one of Hayward’s well-known landmarks, the welcome fountain that invites you to South Hayward’s border.

Monica believes that what inspired her to create the project was that, “it’s always been a part of Hayward…but it hasn’t received much attention since the city stopped doing maintenance on it.” Monica Hernandez was the inspirational mind behind the replica of the infamous Hayward fountain that welcomes citizens.

Tania believes that “the idea for the art was to take something that is supposed to represent Hayward in a way, and interpret the lives of the people that make the city what it is.” In a desire to reach out to the Council, Tania Romero, “hopes that this project will give them insight into South Hayward life and help them think of these lives.”

In pursuit of finding the hidden beauties and lost artistry of Tennyson Corridor, the C.B.O’s also known as Community Based Organizations, “are getting a good pulse of the community,” and Sean McFarland also details that “ this work explains what matters to the citizens.”

The students felt honored and pleased to be apart of an ambitious project in hopes to shed light on South Hayward’s concerns. Happily, with the art exhibit, the collaboration of Chabot students will bring light to the “personal views and lives of the South Hayward residents” as mentioned by artist Tania Romero.

The art exhibit in Hayward City Hall will be open from May 21 to May 25. There, you will be able to explore the beauty of “Needles in the HayStack” exhibit which will have its grand opening on Tuesday, May 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

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What Has Disappeared

If you’ve been to South Hayward recently, you’ve probably noticed the plethora of shutdown business. Whether you’ve fond nostalgic memories of Holiday Bowl or received critical services from the now-closed Kaiser hospital, many residents have felt the impact of disappearing businesses.

Kaiser Hospital once provided emergency medical services to all of Hayward and beyond. Although there are a few emergency care clinics located in South Hayward like St. Francis Urgent Care Center, the options are not as good. As Franchesica  a first-year sociology major put it, “I was born there, and it sucks to see it close.”

Many things that once brought joy to the residents of South Hayward are now gone. The most prominent monument to disappearing businesses is the Holiday Bowl which closed in 2005. It is currently overgrown with vegetation. Plans are in place to tear down the facility and put 72 townhouses in its place. Residents now need to travel to San Ramon or Fremont to go bowling.

Another famous closed business Valle Vista Skating rink which was open from 1950-2003. After it closed down it became a location for migrants and homeless until it burnt down in 2008, no one was harmed. Now residents have to go to the skate park in north Hayward or drive all the way to San Ramon “Golden Skate Rink” to get an authentic skating rink experience.

Over the years many industries have closed down all over Hayward often moving to more affordable states. One of the recent loses is the Gillig Bus manufacturer that took over 850 jobs to Livermore after deciding that it “outgrew” its Hayward location.

“What community,” said a local Hayward resident when interviewed by a student as part of the community outreach project. This proved to be a common trend when Professor McFarland’s class conducted their interviews with South Hayward residents.

One thing’s for certain there’s a growing sense of isolation in South Hayward as many residents perceive the city is continuing to focus on the downtown area. But with new grant money available and the new effort by the city to bring businesses to South Hayward the future may be better.

Complete Streets Initiative

One does not need to look far to see the less than stellar state of Hayward’s streets. The cracked streets are very much apparent and are in need of repair. Thankfully, an initiative is in place to improve the streets and sidewalks of Hayward.

The Complete Streets Initiative aims to improve the streets of Hayward and the Tennyson corridor, as well as to keep pedestrians safe. The initiative also plans to improve biking paths and sidewalks, as well as repaving roads and filling potholes of many streets in Hayward including Tennyson Road. Union City resident Arturo Soto agrees. He’s seen terrible road conditions on Industrial Blvd, as well as Mission Road. Arturo also pointed out that lower income areas generally tend to get less roadwork.

Teaming up with Smart Growth America, an organization whose mission is to advocate for federal policies and programs that support neighborhood development, 1,140 agencies nationwide are adopting the initiative to provide for a better environment for their communities.

The Complete Streets Initiative launched in 2004, planning to “…promotes the implementation of Complete Streets policies and professional practices,” according to the Smart Growth America website. Hayward is also partnering with Bike East Bay for better, protected cycling lanes.

Vision Zero Network, an organization committed to helping communities increase traffic safety, also partnered with the project. The Vision Zero strategy was first successfully implemented in Sweden in the 1990’s and was also proven successful across Europe.

Their approach included preventing traffic deaths while applying normal human faults, while also reworking transportation systems to prevent fatal car crashes, as well as widening roads and sidewalks. Pedestrian safety was a priority, entire intersections were reworked, including bike lanes.

The Complete Streets Initiative also includes the Complete Communities Strategic Initiative. The Complete Communities Initiative aims to improve Hayward so that it may become a better, thriving place to live for people of every citizen, family, and employee.

Transportation Manager, Fred Kelly, explains that these three initiatives work together. Complete Streets, Complete Communities and Tennyson corridor all overlap in certain fields. “There will be efforts to see what we view as a vision of Tennyson road.” The initiative includes protected bike lanes, the number, and width of traffic lanes as well as sidewalks.

The Complete Streets initiative, along with the Tennyson Corridor and the Complete Communities Initiative is one of the most important steps to making the overall Hayward community and the Tennyson corridor a better place.

For more information regarding the Tennyson Corridor, Complete Streets Initiative and Complete Communities Initiative, visit hayward-ca.gov.

Public Transportation

One of the challenges that young students face is the accessibility of public transportation. Even when these young students have access to these services, they’re still met with challenges of reaching their destination on time.

In the past, The Passion and Purpose club worked with AC Transit to have the Student Transportation Initiative pass. This would help students by providing discounts through the AC Transit EasyPass Program. This would allow the students to save a tremendous amount of money which had estimated around $1,650 a year. All of this would have been funded through an already existing Chabot Student fee. Based on the number of units a student has, this would be exempted, but students could choose to opt out. Unfortunately, this Initiative didn’t pass, but there is still an effort being made to have this passed.  

Brenda Gomez, who is apart of the YES Program (Youth Enrichment Services) tries to help young students, most of which are in continuation schools. The YES Program provides bus passes for these students for up to $75. Funding for these passes was cut up to $100,000. Even with these passes, the buses are still not reliable when it comes to reaching their schools on time. Another issue is the location. It’s typically not safe during the night which led to some being assaulted and robbed. So public transportation isn’t the only challenge here, it’s the area in which these students live too.

Presley Chang and Isaac Chavez of the Passion and Purpose club had interviewed many of the residents in the South Hayward area. They had discovered that most of the issues concerning public transportation were increasing costs and the congested roads. Multiple trips can leave a massive dent in the wallet, and it is always difficult to arrive at their destination on time. One of their interviewees was Carlos Luntonio, who is the Director of the Devocio Vasquez Health Center. One of the solutions that Luntonio came up with is to have the public transit have their own designated roads like the ones they have in San Leandro.  Hayward would most definitely benefit from this.

Project Based Learning at the Student Initiative Center

It’s not your typical college course. The students don’t meet in an average classroom. The course objectives are sweepingly broad yet intimately personal.

And these unorthodox approaches to learning are precisely why the Passion and Purpose class at Chabot works, says instructor Eric Heltzel. The course description states that students engage in “exploration and discovery of personal passions in the context of social and family relationships, serving the wider community, and analyzing and understanding higher education.”

The class meets in the Student Initiative Center, which is a non-traditional classroom setting. As opposed to a lecture hall, the open space and mixed seating encourage dialogue and interfacing of ideas. This not only helps with student learning but the pedagogic practices of the instructors. “Teaching this class has been a professional development opportunity for the professors involved,” says Heltzel. “It is a participatory process. I’ve become a more agile, creatively driven teacher.”

Students garner more from Project Based Learning than they might in a typical classroom setting. “The concepts of Project Based Learning get students into the community, doing something substantive with what they learn,” says Colleen McHugh, a student, and participant. “The students walk away from these learning experiences with practical, real-world knowledge.”

Through its innovative approach to learning, students in the Passion and Purpose class have developed their ideas into real-world initiatives and change. All of the water bottle filling stations on campus are their thanks to an initiative of the R.A.G.E. club on campus, which stands for Revolutionaries Advocating Greener Ecosystems.

R.A.G.E. is also responsible for the community garden on campus as well as the food pantry that the college hosts. The latter initiative proved an excellent learning experience for the students. “They found out about hunger and food insecurity on campus,” says Heltzel. “They researched these factors and designed a presentation. They went before the student senate and presented at college board meetings.”

Daniella Criollo, a psychology major at Chabot, first took the Passion and Purpose class in 2014. Her passion was education. This somewhat vague starting point led to her pursuing ways in which she could help students learn about the college experience and what it takes to get there.

Criollo saw a need: local Hayward high school students were not enrolling in community college like their counterparts in other school districts. She developed an initiative that put her inside the classroom with these high schoolers, and assessing student needs and showing them how to complete all the forms needed for registration, enrollment, and financial aid. This guerilla matriculation is the perfect example of Passion and Purpose objectives: how an amorphous inkling can develop into a real-world initiative that solves problems and changes lives.

How Hayward Stacks Up

Centered between all the bay area cities, Hayward is known as the heart of the bay. With open hearts, we create a unique environment inviting and welcoming all cultures. Hayward sometimes gets overlooked, but we can’t ignore that Hayward is ranked number 3 in most ethno-racially and linguistically diverse city in America and number one in California!

Cultural diversity allows people to express themselves, feel respected and become more engaged knowing that they and their differences are valued. Our cultures provide a variety of perspectives and experience which can help contribute sustainable and efficient results when looking for solutions on any scale. From a series of studies documented by Scientific American, diversity inspires creativity and enhances innovation.

Our cultural diversity is only one measure of success. How else do we measure the success of Hayward? Crime statistics, average median income, and affordable housing play a role in determining a successful city.

According to the City of Hayward´s website, ¨Hayward saw a 10 percent reduction over 2016 in violent crimes, such as homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, while burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, arson and other property-related offenses increased 9 percent.¨ With roughly 300 members in Hayward´s police department and 158,937 population equals a ratio of  1 to 529. In comparison to San Jose with a ratio of 1 to 597 and San Francisco with a ratio of 1 to 311. Safety is always a concern, feeling safe in your own home is a necessity.

According to a study conducted by the office of Kelly McAdoo, City Manager, “57.3 percent Hayward renters experience a housing cost burden, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.”

Compared to other bay area cities, Hayward has the most legislation protecting tenants; Mobile Home Rent Stabilization, Control Mediation, Rent Review and Rent Stabilization. Alameda, Berkeley, and Oakland only have Rent Stabilization Control. Fremont and Union City only have Mobile Home Rent Stabilization and Control Mediation. Dublin, Newark, and Livermore do not have protections for tenants.

When it comes to the amount of rent-controlled units, Hayward is lacking with only 1,000 units compared to Alameda with 11,870, Berkeley with 27,000, Oakland with 79,000 and San Francisco with 170,000.

Rent controlled units are built before a particular year and provide protection for rent increases to exceed no higher than a certain amount or percentage. In Hayward, the properties must be built before 1988, and annual rent increases cannot exceed 5 percent each year, except up to 10 percent if the rent was not increased the year prior.

Hayward’s plan of action is, “Improving the city’s role in providing resources, information, and establishing mandatory mediation and rent review.” According to a presentation by Christina Morales, Housing Manager, at March 30 city council meeting, “the city is pushing for an affordable housing requirement equaling 30 percent of total units.”

Median household income for 2016 in Hayward is $68,138, and in Alameda County, it is $79,831 according to City Manager Kelly McAdoo. Average rent in Hayward for a one bedroom apartment is $1,946.

How is the city representing all of its diverse citizens? What is the depth of their connection to the city? Do they live in our city? Speak our languages?

“Several city staff members live in Hayward. However, the majority of the employees live in other cities which could create a disconnect between the city itself and the workers who run the city. Sometimes workers who don’t live in the city don’t understand the community and the challenges they face,” said Chabot Professor Eric Heltzel.

In search of this statistical data, I was not able to locate city employee demographics on the city of Hayward’s official website. It does list 793 total municipal employees. However, during my visit to city hall to request the city staff information, I spoke to five personnel, two at security, city clerk, Human Resources Assistant and Human Resources technician. Visually, each employee´s ethnicity was completely different from the last.

With 793 city employees and a population of 158,937 (United States Census Bureau 2016) roughly equaling a ratio of nearly 200 people per 1 city employee, is there enough assistance to go around? Is there enough information and statistics available for citizens to make a complete and honest judgment of its civil servants?

Before we become too critical of our city employees, we are always welcome to voice our opinions, solutions, and concerns at City Council meetings held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Organizations Within Tennyson

Community organizations can help bridge the gap between the city and its citizens by providing resources, services, and information. Throughout South Hayward, many organizations and people had reported similar necessities to improve their part of the city. These results are based on reports and interviews conducted by Chabot College students in Professors Sean MacFarland and Eric Heltzel’s courses.

The students went out and interviewed people, faith-based churches, schools, and non-profit organizations. “Many people and organizations reported concerns with; crime, disappearing business, entertainment, and public spaces,” said Professor Heltzel. Holiday Bowl, Valle Vista Skating Rink, and Operation Paintball to name a few attractions of the past.

When community organizations were asked how many use their resources and services, most replies were similar. “People don’t know about us and our services.”

Project EATS, at Tennyson High School teaches the community how to grow and cook fresh, healthy food. Along with supplying the local culinary courses, the program provides space for up to 30 families to farm their organic food. They usually serve up to 12.

Others like the South Hayward Parish Church, are regularly impacted with helping individuals plagued with food shortage, and lack of shelter/bedding. Requiring them to turn down some because the demand exceeds the supply.

“Some of our services include; food for families in need, showers for the homeless and resources for rehab, work, and housing,” said Director Ralph Morales. Serving the community since 1964, South Hayward Parish wants to extend their aid but will require more funding from the city to do so.

Downtown Streets helps homeless acquire communication and resume skills as well as housing and social security resources. This Bay Area organization has seen success in Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and San Francisco. Their biggest priority is getting its volunteers jobs; most are 40 years or older.

According to their website streetsteam.org/hayward, “In exchange for beautifying your community, you receive gift cards to help with your basic needs and access to employment and case management services that support you in achieving your goals.” Currently, there is a waitlist, to inquire visit their “Weekly Success Meeting” at Hayward Area Historical Society 22380 Foothill Blvd, Hayward Every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. sharp.

The Hayward Promise Neighborhood promotes higher education through collaboration within schools. According to their website, “HPN is designed to specifically support its children from conception until they graduate from high school and transition to college or post-secondary training – cradle to career.”

They offer over 35 programs and services like Parent Promise Academy teaching families with children birth age to eight, focusing on understanding your child’s behavior, positive discipline and communication, and keeping your family healthy. With more people utilizing their services, HPN is requesting more funding to meet the demand.

At Eldridge Elementary, students are turning down lunches provided by the district. President of the Parent Teacher Organization at Eldridge and Volunteer Supervisor Guy Andrade said, “the campus doesn’t cook its lunches, they get it delivered by the district. The kids are disgusted by the “poor” quality and lack of choice. They more than often throw the lunch away.” Andrade then suggested, “Parents should be allowed to cook at the school and teach/learn about other cultures.”

It is also difficult to get parent volunteers, Guy Andrade reaches out by asking parents waiting in their cars before school is out. Andrade said, “Their typical answers include; tired from work, working two jobs, don’t have the time or have other kids in the car.”

At Chabot College, students are provided free groceries twice a month; a service administered through the Student Initiative Center.  The Student Initiative Center is always battling for a designated space to store food available to students at least five days a week.

Resulting from the data gathered, the amount of affordable healthy food is a constant issue. Student Rayquan (last name) research project revealed 16 liquor stores on or near Tennyson Blvd. before any affordable and healthy grocery store.

The rising demand for employment and housing services, as well as lack of parent-volunteer involvement, are also common obstacles. Every result is progress, with further research and advocacy we can identify solutions that address the needs of the community.

Tennyson Food Desert

Let’s say you wake up Saturday morning, and you live across the street from Tennyson High School, your hungry with no means of transportation and all you want to eat is some fresh fruit and a salad. Sounds trivial, you would think, but this means for this person he or she would have to walk a mile or more to get to a grocery store. More times than not the individual will choose to walk to the corner store a choice that provides a much less healthy option to eat. This person lives in a food desert, and that’s the reality for Tyrone Hood who lives on Shaffer street in Hayward, Ca who said if he didn’t have a car he would have to walk about two miles to get to the grocery store. “Yeah, I would have to walk up Tennyson to get to Food Max.”

Food deserts aren’t defined by metrics but by a group of social, economic factors. One is how many people are served by a particular grocery store for the surrounding neighborhood. Another is access to affordable fresh produce. Fifty liquor stores compared to one grocery stores in the neighborhood. If there’s adequate public transportation to the grocery store.

The daily challenges of living in a food desert combined with the social-economic problems that the majority of these food deserts are located in are necessary for the city to take into account to find solutions to ensure fairness and reciprocity.

Sofia Sanchez a Chabot College graduate and current student at the University of California saw a need in her community.  When she realized that her fellow students aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, she notices her friend constantly asking her for her snacks, and she realized that they never turned her down when she offered her food to her friends. Sofia and her fellow students put together a plan to have a food pantry at Chabot College once a month with their partnership with Alameda County Food Bank. They have been able to keep it going for the past two years. “Although it’s only a band-aid on top of the wound of food deserts I’m hoping we can acquire a space on campus for the students who can’t cook their own can come and get a hot, healthy meal as well as have more room for storage so that we can serve more people in our community.”

Begoña Cirera, MS RDN Nutrition Science & Health Faculty Lead at Chabot College to shed a little insight on the subject and she said “Although south Hayward may not qualify as a food desert in the strict definition of the USDA, I strongly believe that this particular community suffers from a lack of access to healthy, affordable fresh food, and too many families and individuals live on increasingly low incomes. The health consequences of such combinations can be devastating for all generations involved, from the pregnant mother to the children, to the grandparents. It is very well documented that a lack of daily fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in one’s diet can increase the risk for preventable, but chronic diseases such as Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, to name a few. Let’s put it another way, we could not have too many grocery stores offering fresh, affordable produce, but we have too many convenience stores, 7/11’s, liquor stores, and fast-food restaurants that are creating more problems than solutions to our communities, present, and future generations.”

Food deserts are an important issue our city needs to pay attention to and find solutions for, right now the city is in the research phase to understand what exactly are the needs of the people and when their assessments are complete the city will move forward with plans to remedy the problem.

Bringing Community Into Community College

In the 1920s, philosopher John Dewey said, “Education Needs to start with the student’s neighborhood. Education needs to start where the students are able. Which is their homes and communities and neighborhoods.” And that’s exactly what Chabot’s Student Initiative Center (SIC) is all about. SIC is a student based center that supports the different clubs, events, and students at Chabot. As well as supporting, various organizations around the Hayward area.

Advised by Sean McFarland and Eric Heltzel, the center is mostly student ran. Students at Chabot come together to create these events and projects to help improve their own lives, the community, and the campus. Showing deep empathy for the different social issues that surround our community. “When the students are ready to pick up the hammer the teacher should be there to pick up the nails. We’re there to support, encourage, and help them achieve their passion”, Eric Heltzel said when hearing his students come up with these different ideas. The center is created for students, by the students.

In 2013, before SIC became what it is today, it first started as the Passion and Purpose class. As the Passion and Purpose classes were just getting started, Chabot student, Skye Ontivero created a film entitled, “The Passion Project.” A documentary that explores how colleges, can be the best support for students and how the relationship between your passion and your commitment to the community, whether it enables you to follow your passion or not. As in the Passion and Purpose class, it is now designed to not only help students discover their true passion but also to help their community.

SIC has become one of the first spaces that a community college has to offer. Where a center at a community college is able to help the city and Chabot’s students. Chabot College’s SIC offers different resources for students and teachers. Offering professional development for teachers on project-based learning (which will be from June 7 to June 8). However, for students, SIC allows groups of students into their center to help them finish their group projects. No campus provides this kind of support for their students. They want to teach their students the importance of project-based learning, and how effective it can be.

Now the Student Initiative Center is going more outside of Chabot College, working to help improve South Hayward. They have also gone above and beyond to bring aid and relief to people in Japan and the Middle East.

One of the most important things for a community college is to have a community. Not just within the college but also the communities that surround the college. Which is why SIC has decided to make it their mission to go outside of the college and support the cities around the Bay Area (Oakland, Fremont, Union City, Castro Valley, etc.). They will go anywhere and everywhere as long as a community needs help and support. Stating that “every school should be involved in their community.”

To learn more about the Student Initiative Center, go to https://sicchabot.wixsite.com/thesic. The SIC meets every Thursday at 3:00 and every Friday at 11 in room 2338.

Isolation in #SOHAY

Isolation is defined as the complete separation from others or removing one’s self from a situation or the company of others. This has become a major problem in South Hayward or more importantly the Tennyson area to be precise.  

Several students that are apart of the Student Initiative Center (SIC) here at Chabot interviewed one hundred residences in South Hayward regarding the Tennyson Corridor project the SIC is involved in. Several people said they don’t know their neighbors. When asked why they don’t know their neighbors they simply just responded I don’t want to talk to them.

This is common in communities where you see a neighbor you give them a wave or a friendly head nod and keep going about your business. The citizens stay in their own homes they don’t go out they don’t talk to one and other. This decreases the level of a community the citizen’s experience.

Eric Heltzel an English professor here at Chabot College says that there is an art gallery happening May 22, the goal is to get people out of their homes and see the artwork of their community. Heltzel believes that the people of South Hayward could strike up conversations, about common concerns such as housing and rent that doesn’t get talked about with each other.

Heltzel believes there is a bigger form of community communication through social media. Referring to common meme’s that relate to Hayward and the Tennyson area. It’s also ironic that citizens of Hayward will discuss rent, housing, violence, and all these other community problems online on a Facebook page, but won’t discuss them together face to face.

The first steps in helping eviscerate this social void in the community are creating events, that help people get outdoors and start talking to each other.  Maria Correia has been a South Hayward resident for 23 years and is very involved in her community. Correia describes her community experience like this. “I love my neighbors we have community block parties and cookouts it’s a lot of fun.” She says although there are a few neighbors who aren’t so friendly. Theresa Correia Maria’s 17-year-old daughter believes that “If you’re new to your area you should introduce yourself.” Theresa says “another way to get people out of there shell is if they attend a party, or event with at least one person they know, they won’t feel as scared to go meet new people.”

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