Saturday, November 28, 2015

Oakland Town Ball, est. 2015

One of the amazing things about living in Oakland is that you get to know youth who-- against all odds-- have become successful and tenacious, but also kind and giving. Mahlik A. Smith, 17, is one of those.

Mahlik A. Smith, 17.

Mahlik was the youngest of six boys raised by their single Mum in West Oakland. Growing up Mahlik says his family "had to use many resources to survive such as Section 8 housing, food stamps, free lunch and clothing." His family's hardships have motivated him to "never stop working toward success, graduating from college, and being stable financially."

As a senior at McClymonds High, an Oakland public school, Mahlik is looking forward to graduating this June, having maintained a GPA above 3.5 throughout high school. His goal is to become a sports medicine doctor and he hopes to attend Hampton University as a pre-medical student.

One of the stabilizing forces in his life has been the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland. He started at the Leonard J. Meltzer Clubhouse in West Oakland at the age of five and has been a constant presence for 11 years. 

Mahlik says the club was "a key piece of the puzzle that kept us all fed, safe and involved in positive activities" and his mentors taught him "how to be a leader, a student athlete, and a giving person." He's taken many leadership roles: volunteering, tutoring younger members and coaching baseball and basketball. Outside the club, he has won many awards for helping other youth and giving them voice. What an awesome young man.

This year there are 2,500 youth in the Boys & Girl Club of Oakland.

To raise money for the Club, some amazing men and women are organizing the inaugural Oakland Town Ball on Friday December 4. Looks incredibly fun with a performance artist, David Girabaldi and aerial arts and a live auction with loads of goodies.

Good chance too to wheel out the old ball frock. Speaking of which, just to change up Old Blue, I made it a v-neck.

Old Blue: Before

New-Old Blue with v-neck

Or if you can't make it, you might like to make a donation. Too often we hear only the negative about Oakland, but Mahlik and his story (and there are many, many others) just makes your heart sing, doesn't it?


  1. It is good to hear about something good happening in Oakland.

  2. There you are! Good to see you again.

    And well done that young man. I wish him every success.

  3. You look good in old blue in both styles! welcome back Jody....enjoy the ball.x

  4. He seems like a lovely boy.
    It's not fair that you can look like you do AND sew.

  5. Beautiful dress and a wonderful organization. Great to have you back in blog land.



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