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RAMA Blueprints Podcast

The RAMA Blueprints Podcast Series is the oral history of San Francisco’s Real Alternatives Program (RAP), a small non-profit organization founded in 1969 by Jim Queen. Through research, 1st hand interviews and archival footage, RAMA Blueprints tells the story of how RAP, a revolutionary youth service organization, advocated for youth empowerment through leadership development and self-determination. Generations of San Francisco community leaders were trained while at RAP and still today many work in leadership positions within community services locally or nationwide. Its legacy includes being one of the most pivotal youth service providers to influence both city, state and nation wide policies utilized by other city governments and organizations.

  • Roots of RAP part 3: Mitchell Salazar, Loyal to the Soil

    Mitchell Salazar

    About this episode

    In a three-part episode series, we begin to tell the story of Mitchell Salazar, the Real Alternatives Program’s Executive Director from 1984 to 1999. We cover Michell’s story from the blocks of San Francisco’s Bernal Heights as a young hustler with a deep entrepreneurial drive, to the legacy in the Mission District through his You & I dances, to the young community leader who led RAP at the young age of 24. We cover his tenure at RAP and the level of youth services that were expanded under his leadership, which also included starting a four year high school and a teen clinic.

    Mitchell passed away in 2022. His story is a complex one filled with twists, risks and opportunities. We follow a handful of events that not only help shape one of San Francisco’s Mission District’s most effective community leaders, but also show what his heart and intentions were for the actions and decisions he made.

    eXtra Bio: Orlando Torriente

    In this eXtra for RAMA Blueprints, we hear from one of the Mission’s beloved sons, Orlando Torriente, who as a young man found his way out of a problematic life filled with drug use and criminal activity. He talks about his life with the Real Alternatives Program (RAP) and the challenges of healing from trauma.

    eXtra Commentary: Roberto Ariel Vargas

    In this RAMA Blueprints Podcast eXtra, we hear commentary about The Roots of RAP: Mitchell Salazar, Loyal to the Soil from one of San Francisco’s Mission District true sons, Roberto Ariel Vargas, who was the Executive Director of the RAP Collaborative in the early 2000s. He talks about the parallels between his and Mitchell Salazar’s life.

    eXtra Herstory: 2 Women of CALLES in Platica Donna Safiori Johnson & Michelle Alvarez Campos

    In this extra for the RAMA Blueprints Podcast Series, we hear from two women who worked in the Real Alternatives Program’s (RAP) CALLES Street Outreach program. We present this platica or dialogue to demonstrate how these two women, through consistency and relentlessness, lead to effective street outreach support services in response to community violence.

    We talk with Donna Saori Johnson, the “Condom Lady” who began working at Horizons in March of 1988, and Michelle Alvarez Campos, practicing licensed clinical social worker who previously worked as a case manager with the CALLES program at RAP.

  • Sustaining the Work through Resiliency

    Podcast: Three generaciones

    About this episode

    RAMA Blueprints Podcast presents an intergenerational conversation with Dr. Concepcion “Concha” Saucedo, Fatima Ramirez, and Oscar Grande.

    The live conversation brings to light the depth of challenges and approaches to solutions through the wisdom of an elder and former executive director, through the eyes of a rising leader that is committed to collecting memories through journalism and the arts, and the first hand lived experience of a former community organizer who transitioned to work in city government.

    All three leaders have engaged with the community in different roles: Dr. Concha Saucedo as Co-Founder of Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR) incorporating traditional ways with western wellness; Fatima Ramirez, raised in the Mission, as the executive Director of Accíon Latina who is passionate about the intersection of art and media; Oscar Grande while a Senior Organizer for PODER displaying decades of grassroots organizing. The discussion was hosted by Socorro Gamboa.

    eXtra: Commentary - Stacie Powers Cuellar

    In this commentary, Stacey Powers Cuellar, Executive Director at Brava, continues to be a warrior for the arts and the community. In this commentary about the Live RAMA Blueprints discussion, “Tres Generaciones/Three Voices,” she shares with us her life’s work as an arts administrator in the Mission District, the role of Brava in the community and the importance of stories and storytelling for future generations and the healing evoked through this experience.

    Stacie began her career in nonprofit arts at the San Francisco Mime Troop. After leaving the Mime Troop, Stacey joined Dr. Loco’s Rockin’ Jalapeno Band as business manager and has worked or served over an additional dozen nonprofits and arts organizations in San Francisco. Stacey produces and presents thought-provoking art as Brava continues to be a center for igniting social change and building community. With 30 years of arts administration and production experience in San Francisco, she ushered in a new era of stability for Brava, revitalized its long-standing youth program, the running crew, revived the capital project to renovate the building’s three storefronts and launch Brava presents to deliver an eclectic array of music, theater, dance, visual and media arts work in collaboration with local artists and arts organizations.

    This episode was produced and edited by Darren J. de Leon and Socorro Gamboa for the 5 Sisters Audio Garden.

    eXtra Herstory - Fatima Ramirez and Paseo Artistico

    Fatima Ramirez is Executive Director of Acción Latina and publisher of El Tecolote in San Francisco’s Mission District. In this RAMA Blueprints Podcast eXtra, Fatima talks about the role the Paseo Artistico program plays within the building of community. Acción Latina and El Tecolote have been promoting cultural arts, community media, and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities. Fatima studied Media and Latin American Studies in addition to Journalism at the University of San Francisco, and also earned a Master’s in Family and Community Education in Museums from Columbia University. She is passionate about the intersection of art and media that bring families and multiple generations into conversation with one another. Raised in the Mission, Ramírez is committed to bilingual storytelling that uplifts Latinx communities in San Francisco and beyond through community media, cultural arts and civic engagement.

  • Episode eXtra: Dr. Concha Saucedo

    Concha Saucedo

    About this episode

    Dr. Concepcion Saucedo-Martinez also known to many with respect and love as “Concha,” who is a Mexican Yaqui Chicana born in California and raised in traditional indigenous ways. In the 1970’s, Dr. Concha Saucedo- Martinez was instrumental in co-founding Instituto Familiar de la Raza, a Latino mental health clinic in San Francisco’s Mission District.

    In the year 2000, Dr. Saucedo in collaboration with the Real Alternatives Program created and developed La Cultura Cura which promotes a reflection of culture, critical consciousness, self reflection, social-emotional wellness, deep understanding of the individual, group, historical and cultural relationships, and the teaching of En Lak’ech (you are my other self)

    A community activist for social justice for over 50 years, she is a grandmother of seven, respected Elder, traditional healer practitioner, visionary, public school teacher, professor, former Board President of the Real Alternatives Program (RAP), and Executive Director Emeritus of Insituto Familiar de La Raza. At present her vocation is to pass on to others, particularly young people, the healing practices and ceremonies from this continent.

    The eXtras of RAMA Blueprints podcast are intended to help the listener with a deeper understanding of the people, events, and places that created the Mission District and the series as a whole.

  • Episode eXtra: John Nauer

    John Naur

    About this episode

    In this eXtra of the RAMA Blueprints, we speak with John Nauer who was trained at RAP under the tutelage of Mitchell Salazar.  He reflects on his life’s journey, the obstacles, and hurdles that helped shape his life, while contributing to his own transformation and commitment to fighting the good fight for the betterment of all people and more recently concentrating his efforts to the Samoan / Pacific Islander people!  (Running time 33:04)

    Listen to this eXtra to get a deeper understanding of the RAMA Blueprints podcast.

  • Episode eXtra: Metzi Henriquez

    Metzi Henriquez

    About this episode

    In this extra of the Rama Blueprints podcast commentary, we hear from Metzi Henriquez, who currently works as a therapist for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She comments on the RAMA Blueprints series and shares with us her knowledge and approach working in community mental health services.

  • Episode eXtra: The Carrillo Brothers

    About this episode

    Dr. Ricardo Carrillo and Arturo Carrillo, both born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District, talk about their upbringing and how they were raised within the community village and healed through the transformative practice of the arts.They are an early example of “Program Kids” youth who heavily relied upon services to survive and develop into thriving adults. As adults and professionals, both would eventually work with RAP; Dr. Ricardo Carillo as a licensed therapist, and Arturo as a program director at Walden House, who built deep bonds with RAP. The brothers’ stories of sangre, corazon, resilience, and self determination paved their path from a troubled humble beginning to a life dedicated as social justice warriors since the 1970s.

  • Episode 5: The Roots of RAP (part 2): The Tree Begins to Grow

    About this episode

    Based on the Principles of Real Alternatives Program (RAP), we look at how this youth movement takes actions to better their conditions.

    We go in depth on three major actions: the chaining of the doors of the Youth Guidance Center (YGC), the Sears Roebuck Boycott and picket line, and the assignment of young community leaders in pivotal positions of power.

    We examine how RAP’s influence begins to slowly spread outside of the Mission District and inside San Francisco’s City Hall.

    Listen to the episode eXtras to get a deeper understanding of the history explored in the RAMA Blueprints podcast.

    Episode 5 eXtra: Jim Queen, founder of the Real Alternatives Program

    In this eXtra installment of the RAMA Blueprints Podcast Series, we hear from the man himself; Jim Queen, founder of the Real Alternatives Program (RAP). From struggling with his racial identity to joining the Navy and eventually landing and setting roots in San Francisco.

    Episode 5 eXtra: Esperanza Echavarri

    Esperanza Echavarri’s journey led her to work with EMUNYO and RAP. A retired licensed clinical social worker, community activist, organizer, and cultural practitioner for over 40 years, Esperanza’s commitment to social change significantly contributed to revolutionizing the mental health systems of San Francisco.

  • Episode eXtra: A Joint Effort with HealthCare Untold links

    About this episode

    We present a special joint podcast between HealthCare UnTold and RAMA Blueprints Podcast. HealthCare Untold is a Podcast dedicated to giving voice to everyday heroes and their untold health stories that can improve health to our most vulnerable communities.

  • Episode 4: The Roots of RAP (part 1): E.M.U.N.Y.O. (East Mission United Neighborhood Youth Organization)

    About this episode

    As political consciousness arose in the Mission, many San Francisco organizations mobilized and took on city leaders demanding not just recognition, but active participation of programs and services designed by and for their communities. As progress was slowly bubbling, some of these youth were experiencing harassment by police and neglect from the city and its services. A group of frustrated youth on 24th Street formed E.M.U.N.Y.O. (East Mission United Youth Organization) with the help of Jim Queen.

    The combination of their efforts to address “Youth For Self-determination” with organized San Francisco State University Third World striking college students returning to their community would ultimately result in profound changes in their neighborhoods and lives.

    In this episode, we talk with Jim Queen about how and why he helped the youth of EMUNYO. Socorro Gamboa sits with some of the founding members of EMUNYO who tell their stories of empowerment. We also speak with former RAP staff members, Saddie Villapando and Esperanza Echeverria.

    Episode 4 eXtra: Interview with Juan Gonzales

    Juan Gonzales is the original founder and 1st editor of El Tecolote, California’s longest running bilingual newspaper that is printed in both English and Spanish. This free bilingual biweekly publication was founded in 1970 at San Francisco State University’s La Raza Studies Department after the 3rd World Strike agreement. He reflects about the political climate in San Francisco’s Mission District during the time of 1967 to 1972, and especially addressing the issues of youth empowerment in the Mission during the founding of RAP.

  • Episode 3: Wellness In The Time of School Chaos: A Roundtable

    About this episode

    A conversation about healing and wellness in light of the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. We host a roundtable with dedicated individuals who joined us to share their wisdom and insight. Collectively, this panel represents almost 150 years of qualified experience in their respected fields of expertise.

    Anthony Ceja, Former Real Alternatives Program (RAP) Robert F. Kennedy Fellow and now Senior Manager for the System of Support for the San Diego County Office of Education and Father of 2 children.

    Michelle Alvarez-Campos, Former RAP Case Manager and currently, Practicing Licensed Clinical Social Worker with La Cultura Cura Youth Program at Instituto Familiar de La Raza (IFR)  in San Francisco’s Mission District and also mother of 2.

    Jennifer Quevedo, MSW and MS in Psychology, Wellness Practitioner and mother of 2 middle school children.

    Cassandra Cole, Program Director of the Early Intervention Program at IFR, who has over 30 years in the field. Cassandra is passionate about helping adults understand the social-emotional, developmental, behavioral and cultural needs of young children and loves working in community settings where you will find children, also a mother of 2.

    Jesus Adolfo Piña, English Language Specialist for the Compton Unified School District with 23 years teaching experience in the middle schools, and a father of 2 children.

    Moderated by former Real Alternatives Program High School Principal and RAMA Blueprints Podcast Host Socorro Gamboa.

  • Episode 2: Tattoos That Only I Can See (Tatuajes Que Solamente Yo Puedo Ver)

    About this episode

    If there is one thing that does not change in San Francisco’s Mission District, it is the recent arrival of migrants from throughout America Latina. We present a perspective about the influx of migrant youth who seek a better life either with their family or alone through utilizing immigrant advocacy services like CARECEN SF or risk the reality of living in poverty or “slipping through the cracks” and engaging in negative street activity.

    We explore the 28 year history of CARECEN SF’s Second Chance Youth Program’s Tattoo Removal Clinic for many young migrants in the Mission District. We also examine the impact of tattoo removal for both participants and community workers who have transformed their own and others’ lives.

    Episode 2 eXtra: Additional commentary by Lourdes Herrador (in English)

    Commentary by former employee at RAP’s Casa de Jovenes and Instituto Familiar de La Raza, Lourdes Herrador. An LMFT Therapist, Herrador talks about the residual effects of tattoos and their removal both on the individual, family and community.

    Episode 2 eXtra: Comentarios adicionales de Lourdes Herrador (en Español)

    Comentarios adicionales de Lourdes Herrador, Terapista exempleada de la Casa de Jóvenes de RAP y del Instituto Familiar de La Raza, quien habla sobre los efectos residuales de los tatuajes y su eliminación tanto en el individuo como en la familia y comunidad.

  • Episode 1: El Altar y La Vida

    About this episode

    In the 80’s, San Francisco’s Real Alternatives Program created a school, RAP High School. We follow the story of the establishment of an altar at RAP’s Bryant Street campus, honoring the youth who died as a result of community violence.

    The altar was the first of its kind in a SFUSD school setting. We follow the two agencies, RAP and Instituto Familiar de La Raza (IFR) as they came together through cultural spiritual healing practices as a result of the loss of young lives. We present the various stories from that partnership.

RAMA Blueprints Podcast Host & Producers

socorro-gamboa

Socorro Gamboa (Host/Producer)

Socorro Gamboa is a conscious and passionate leader from Barrio Chiques, Oxnard, Califaztlan. Community activist, artist, muralista, teatrista, high school principal, gang intervention and outreach specialist, grant writer, podcast producer and community engagement consultant, Socorro is truly a renaissance artivist.

Socorro moved to San Francisco in 1988 where she began her journey working with Mission District youth and their families at the Real Alternatives Program (RAP), where she worked for 11 years as Case Manager, Education DIrector and the Executive Director of R.A.P.

She is currently the co-founder of the 5 Sisters Audio Garden Production Company where she is the co-producer of the RAMA Blueprints Podcast, a podcast about Real Alternatives Program (RAP), a revolutionary youth organization in San Francisco who practiced self-determination and empowered their generation, community and city.

Socorro has an Activist/Artist in her creativity.  She is rooted deeply in her spiritual practices, working the land, gardening and preserving the legacy of the elders by leaving a repository of valuable life lessons and insights.

darren-de-leon

Darren J. de Leon (Producer)

Darren J. de Leon, a.k.a. Aztec Parrot, is an award winning poet from San Bernardino, CA., playwright, podcast/radio producer, street DJ, high school teacher, taquero and community activist. For 12 years, he produced and hosted Radio 2050, a Latino Arts Radio Magazine for KPFA in Berkeley, CA.

In the mid 90’s, Darren was a teacher at Real Alternative Programs (RAP High School) where he developed a curriculum that emphasized the practice of non-violence, composition, and self-expression for juvenile delinquents and the chronically truant.
Currently, Darren lives in San Bernardino, CA in his family’s house of over 50 years. He continues to write, create art, and tend to his garden of vegetables and fruits. He produces Podcast Descarga: A History of Los Delicados and Project 1521 a poetry podcast.
An avid bicycle rider, he can be spotted around the L.A. area on weekends pedaling and enjoying the art and literary scene. He loves mezcal and hates gasoline.

Presenting Partners

CARECENSF.ORG
Instituto Familiar del la Rasa
San Francisco Foundation
Change Elemental
Pacific Islander Resource Hut

We have produced several episodes of this groundbreaking podcast series and we’d like to produce more, but we can’t do it without your help!

Won’t you make a donation today to support this important project that documents the history of a revolutionary program and provides a blueprint for leadership and community organizing for future generations? No amount is too small or too big. Thank you in advance for supporting the RAMA Blueprints Podcast!

And remember: TO LISTEN IS TO HEAL.