Founded in 1988, Destiny Arts Center is recognized as an innovative and effective community-based violence prevention, youth development, and arts education center in North Oakland. Directly serving up to 4,000 young people annually, Destiny works to move young people to peace, confidence, and resiliency through the use of the artistic mediums of dance, theatre, and martial arts and by building practical conflict resolution and self defense skills. Destiny offers their programs year-round at their North Oakland Center on a sliding scale to attract a diverse group of young people ages 3-18. They also offer after-school and summer programs at up to 45 East Bay public schools each year free of charge, featuring Destiny’s signature Five Fingers of Violence Prevention curriculum with a variety of movement disciplines from around the world.
Destiny’s goal is to strengthen the community through the embodiment of intentionality, diversity, and collaboration. For students, courses are not solely movement based, but also are designed to teach the fundamentals of nonviolence, conflict resolution, and management of emotions, to foster a deep understanding of and connection to their peers, adult mentors, and instructors. Destiny believes that it succeeds when young people are aware and mindful of the ways that their attitudes, actions, and words impact their communities. Specifically, they believe that having visible and kinesthetic experiences of physical success helps young people become more confident in their own bodies and provides them with a direct connection to their own self-efficacy. Whether sparring in martial arts courses or co-creating movement in dance or theater courses, Destiny students receive the opportunity to strengthen their collaborative spirits and connect to youth and families from a wide range of cultures and perspectives that may differ from their own.
Destiny approached Community Vision for assistance in meeting their rapidly growing need for additional and more appropriate program space. Inadequately housed in several small temporary locations, Destiny found itself with a growing number of students, programs, and staff, and the need for a larger, more permanent commercial space in the community. Starting with an initial engagement with Community Vision’s financial consulting staff in 2005, Destiny steadily increased its financial and managerial capacity while continuing to offer high quality programs. In 2013, Destiny worked with Community Vision’s lending staff to obtain a $925,000 acquisition and rehabilitation loan that allowed it to move into its new space, nearly doubling in size.
“Our partnership with Community Vision is invaluable – it gave us the support to create the infrastructures needed to be able to purchase a building in North Oakland that can be a real community resource and home base for folks. We get to have an established place in the community,” said Sarah Crowell, Artistic Director at Destiny Arts Center.
In October of 2013, Destiny opened the doors to its new space, only three blocks away from where they began serving East Bay youth over 25 years ago.