Last Thursday afternoon, 40-some kids sprinted around Willard Park, capturing flags and thwacking tether balls. That’s the typical scene at the park most summer afternoons, where the campers at Berkeley Day Camp’s extended care program keep busy until their parents come pick them up.
Update, 10:50 p.m. According to Lt. Dave Frankel, Berkeley Police Department had planned a large police presence this afternoon, following two previous Fridays with what he described as “rambunctious” behavior. The police had received reports that some confrontations were expected between Berkeley High and B-Tech students.
When Kevin D. Williams first found himself at Berkeley Youth Alternatives, it was, he says, a “naked building.” His mother, Niculia Williams, now executive director of the nonprofit, which supports underserved youth, had joined the staff in 1988 and brought her family along to help. Though still a student at UC Berkeley, Williams “fit in where [he] could” between classes by cleaning up the building, tutoring or helping coach the basketball team.
Update, 6:34pm: An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that the city had withdrawn funding this year for the garden program which is closing. The funding was in fact for the BYA’s landscaping program. In addition, Calworks funded BYA’s Steps to Success Program in 2010, not the garden program as reported. We apologize for the confusion.