Oaktown PROUD Student Ambassadors Program

Oaktown PROUD is a campaign by and for Oaklanders, to reduce illegal dumping and improve our neighborhoods. This page provides information about the team of young Oakland leaders supported by Oakland Public Works to encourage all residents to #BeOaktownPROUD.

In Process


Oaktown PROUD seeks to encourage and promote community pride and volunteerism. The campaign name contains an urgent call to action for all Oaklanders to “Prevent & Report Our Unlawful Dumping.” The Oaktown PROUD campaign provides one-stop access to participating in the City of Oakland’s Three E’s strategy to reduce illegal dumping – a strategy that organizes City and community efforts into three focus areas: Education, Eradication and Enforcement.

Our Oaktown PROUD Student Ambassadors lead this Education effort. Litter and dumping affect every Oaklander and every neighborhood in Oakland. These issues are especially harmful in many of Oakland’s historically underserved communities. The City has conducted studies finding that most litter and objects being dumped come from houses and apartments – including from right here in Oakland. While dumping hurts our environment and our residents, some residents are still dumping; some because they lack resources or awareness of the right way to dispose of their unwanted items and trash. Education and outreach about affordable services, proper disposal, and the impacts of dumping could better connect Oaklanders to services, and to information to help motivate positive behavior change.

Oakland Public Works currently sponsors two programs in partnership with Youth Employment Partnership (YEP) and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) that are important elements of its overall anti-illegal dumping education and outreach strategy, they are: Team Oakland and the Oaktown PROUD (Prevent and Report Our Unlawful Dumping) Student Ambassador Program.

Team Oakland

Team Oakland is a City-sponsored summer employment and environment stewardship education program for Oakland youth between the ages of 15 and 24. Since 1993, YEP has recruited, trained, and provided summer traineeships to over 2,600 Oakland youth to clean and green the City through the Team Oakland program, administered by OPW.

Team Oakland participants gain practical job training experience through meaningful city beautification and cleanup projects. The program seeks to provide a formative experience for its youth through crew-based work and participation in City cleanups, park maintenance, habitat restoration, community outreach, and trainings on work and life skills and environmental topics. During the summer you may see Team Oakland participants on projects throughout the City, or they may be receiving training about environmental education. If you are interested in learning more about Team Oakland, you can read the program overview  here. You may also email YEP at info@yep.org.

Student Ambassador Program
As a part of the Oaktown PROUD outreach campaign to reduce littering and dumping in our town, the City of Oakland is working with OUSD high school students, teachers and administrators to manage the Oaktown PROUD Student Ambassador Program. This program was sparked by ideas from Oakland students!

The program currently operates at two sites: Oakland and Skyline High Schools. Students apply for the program in the spring of their junior year. Students accepted into the Student Ambassador Program receive automatic placement in Team Oakland. Currently, the Student Ambassador Program can accommodate a total of twenty-five (25) students across both sites. Participation in the Student Ambassador program may be used to complete OUSD senior project requirements. Additionally, upon completion of the year-round program, Ambassadors will be eligible for a stipend of up to $1,000 and will receive a letter of recommendation that may be used in their college applications.

Student Ambassadors begin the program in the summer working and learning alongside Team Oakland participants. During the school year, Student Ambassadors conduct outreach with students at Oakland elementary schools and middle schools, and the greater Oakland community. The focus of their work is to take the knowledge that they have gained over the summer and to use that information to educate people about the problem of litter and dumping in Oakland, and also provide resources and guidance on what they can do to help. For general questions about the Student Ambassador Program, e-mail opwcomms@oaklandca.gov.