Earlier this week, Oaklandish hosted a visit from the Fam 1st Family Foundation, the Oakland-based youth empowerment organization founded by cousins and NFL Stars Marshawn Lynch (RB Seahawks) & Josh Johnson (QB 49ers). Lynch and Johnson both played football while attending Oakland Technical High School, and have continued to be inspired by Oakland throughout their professional careers. Consistently traveling back to Oakland throughout the NFL season to visit, the two have dedicated their off-the-field time to giving back to the place that gave them their drive and character. Through Fam 1st, Lynch and Johnson have been able to expose underprivileged youth from Oakland to a wide variety of careers and pathways toward creating a strong sense of self-esteem, self-motivation, and appreciation of education.
During their time in our warehouse/office, we took Johnson and a group of Fam 1st students through the journey of an Oaklandish t-shirt. First, they got an overview of the history and mission of Oaklandish. Then, we talked a bit about how we are inspired by the Town when germinating the seeds of our artwork. From there, they got to pick the brains of our design team. Our designers explained how a simple concept is turned into a piece of art, and printed on films which begins the silk screening process.
Next the students were brought into our production plant, where they were taught about screen burning, ink mixing, and the actual printing of each shirt. They were extremely interested in the entire process, and about half said they wanted to explore careers in graphic design. We were excited to hear that most of their schools offered a graphic design course and encouraged them to not only participate in class, but also explore on their own. Both Oaklandish and Fam 1st constantly stress that education and communication are the backbones of being a part of a successful team.
Once we had explained the processes of creation and distribution, the students were able to get some hands-on experience. They each picked their own shirt, an ink color, and were able to screen printing a custom Oaklandish Classic Tee to take home.
As an added bonus to the site visit, we are offering this Fam 1st group further opportunities to be involved in creating a design of their own. For the next two weeks, the students are invited to either draw, paint, or digitally create their own Oaklandish artwork. The student that shows the most promise will be selected for an internship where they will participate in making their artwork into an official Oaklandish tee.
Oakland is so fortunate to have organizations like Fam 1st based here. This organization, like countless other youth organizations in the area, is vital to combatting youth violence, and unlocking the potential that comes from the unique experience of growing up in Oakland.
To learn more about Fam 1st Family Foundation, as well as to donate funds, head to http://fam1stfamilyfoundation.org.
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