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Carlos Jackson

Lead Intervention Specialist, Pathways

Carlos Jackson grew up in East Oakland. He understands firsthand how easily trouble can find young people of color on those streets. But he also knows this: you never know where opportunity for growth and change might be. After his own troubles in high school, he got suspended, nearly expelled, and ended up at a continuation school. He knew people thought those schools were for “bad kids, troublemakers,” but he learned valuable things there, life skills, cooking, graphic design. They discussed politics and government. It was interesting and he remembers it all. Carlos went on to get a degree in Sociology from Cal State East Bay. But, all along, he knew he had a calling. Even as for years his job was at a paint store, he heard the call to help young men in Oakland understand their potential and what the world has to offer them. Then, opportunity came. One day he wandered, literally, into a church in West Oakland, where he found a pastor and others who nurtured and inspired him. Today, he is an assistant minister there. It was there that he began to answer that lifelong call by working in a church youth group. Now, as a case manager in Youth ALIVE!’s Pathways program, Carlos works with young people on probation, or who are at-risk of losing their freedom, even their lives, to the streets. His job is to mentor them, to help them make a plan to stay free, to stay safe and to thrive. Or, as he puts it, to “be who you needed when you were growing up.” He loves opening young minds, exposing his clients to a world outside what they have experienced so far. He loves helping them help themselves. He knows change can be a slow process. Like all of our intervention specialists, he spends a lot of time tracking down his young clients, checking on them, prodding them to take care of business, especially school business. But he loves planting that seed of change. “I’ve found my field,” says Carlos. “I’m in my field now.”

Headshot of Lead Intervention Specialist, Pathways Carlos Jackson