East Bay clinic provides more than just healthcare to youth, teens and young adults

A nonprofit clinic has been providing medical services for youth, teens, and young adults in Oakland for six years. 

The "Dream Youth Clinic" is where health care is just part of the support being offered. Founded and run by executive director Doctor Aisha Mays since 2017, the clinic serves over 1000 young people a year with more than just healthcare services. 

Inside the clinic, she smiled broadly, talking about the clinic that was once a dream. Dr. Mays said, "I really love working with youth in Oakland, and I really felt like it was so important to work with youth who are so vulnerable young people in our society in Oakland, so it was a perfect fit."

Her mission is to help young people-not just with their healthcare needs but also with making choices in life. She said, "If you don’t have help navigating life, it’s really hard to think about your health."

The large space has walls filled with colorful posters and inspirational quotes reinforcing the message, ‘We’re here for you!’

Mays admits, this isn’t just a clinic, it’s a safe space to get a meal, take a shower, or get help with finding a job. In addition to medical services and basic needs like food, the navigation staff helps participants with getting an identification card or resume writing. Some participants want to know how to get re-enrolled in school.  

With a large social media presence on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, X and Facebook, they respond to questions and inquiries online and through direct messages. 

Dr. Mays said, "We always welcome questions, and we always want young people to know our doors are always open."

With gun violence prevalent in Oakland, along with drugs and crime, there’s a lot for young people and teens to deal with these days. Dr. Mays says they seek to meet people where they’re at. 

"Young people who are unsheltered, experiencing sex trafficking, young people involved in foster care or the juvenile justice system… We open our arms for all those young people." 

One program at the clinic is the Young Mothers’ Rising group, which is run by Erica McBride, who was a young mother herself. Now she has four children and says she’s found very meaningful work as a health advocate and coordinator. 

She said, "I let them know that I went through it too, firsthand." 

The most basic need for young mothers, says McBride, is housing. 

flyer for Dream Youth Clinic services in Oakland, CA (Alice Wertz)

She said, "If i can get them connected with housing, that is my number one thing. Nine times out of ten, we have a partner that has housing for young mothers with children.

Partnerships are what make the programs successful, according to McBride. She said, "We have very strong partnerships with our shelter partners, behavioral health partners and others."

In addition to partnerships, Dream Youth Clinic seeks out grants; and foundation and individual gifts make many of the programs happen.

Dr. Mays said, "Our community partners are so involved. Wherever we can get help to service these youth, we’re going to get it." 

With two locations in Oakland, one downtown and one near Jack London Square, another Dream Youth Clinic is planned to open in East Oakland in March. 

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com