Category Youth

Dancer Leaves Hollywood for Oakland Youth

Choreographer and Oakland native Carla Service has performed with the likes of Madonna and taught the art of dance to hundreds. But success didn’t come easy. During her youth, she danced away the pain of an abusive upbringing, leaving home at the age of 15. By 17, she was dominating dance floors in San Francisco nightclubs. She quickly found her way to Hollywood fame and a well-deserved reputation as a "master of movement." But the untrained dancer wanted more. In 1994, at age 30, she traded the Hollywood spotlight for a job teaching Oakland youth how to dance to the beat of life.

Cinnamongirl, Inc. Levels the Playing Field

OAKLAND, Calif. As Renée Richard-Smith chauffeurs a coterie of adolescent girls to a party at a modish West Oakland residence, she casually inquires about how their search for first boyfriends is progressing. “Well, I like someone,” confides one of the…