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‘SAYS’ helps Burbank High School students deal with emotions

There are a lot of high school classes students don’t look forward to. One sixth-period class at Burbank High School run by Patrice Hill and Coco Bland isn’t one of them.“I ain’t going to lie, I love the class,” said senior Anthony Brown.While most classes focus on science or math this one is dedicated to words.“They said they wanted to see poetry and we started with hip hop and spoken word from there,” Bland said. Though what makes this class different is that it focuses on helping at-risk teenagers.“Sometimes you have to meet a student before deciding if I should go right or should I go left,“ Bland said.Hill and Bland are part of the SAYS Organization run out of UC Davis. SAYS stands for Sacramento Area Youth Speaks.It’s a program designed to help give teenagers another way to deal with their emotions.“I’ve had personal issues where I couldn’t talk about them,” said freshman Selena Arcineva. “I never opened up. I just kept to myself and coming here helped me break out of a shell.”“People used to get mad at me when I got mad, but I know how to open up,” Brown said.“Definitely before I had that class, I was lost,“ said senior Jaiden Davis.Davis has been in the class since he was a freshman. Like many teenagers, he was heading down the wrong path.“I found myself just stumbling into situations where I couldn’t get out of,” Davis said.Everything has now changed including his outlook on life.“There are many Black students like me who don’t have the class and don’t get the experience I do and you can tell difference in behavior,” Davis said.“We’ve had students that were just getting kicked out of class,” Bland said. “You now deemed as at-risk students and now they are leaders at Burbank.”Right now SAYS is only in a couple of Sacramento schools, but the hope is to expand. This story was produced as part of Project CommUNITY: Saving Our Cities. The series airs on KCRA 3 and online Monday through Friday the entire month of May each night during the 6 p.m. News. We’re focusing on those working to make our communities safer and help our youth thrive, especially in neighborhoods facing social and economic disparities.Here are more stories from the Saving Our Cities series:’Trying to build healthy neighborhoods’: Sacramento police Chief Kathy Lester talks about ‘Saving Our Cities’Mother, father start scholarship in honor of son killed in shootingSacramento nonprofit teaches young girls self-love through artThe reality of crime. Is it headed up or down?

There are a lot of high school classes students don’t look forward to. One sixth-period class at Burbank High School run by Patrice Hill and Coco Bland isn’t one of them.

“I ain’t going to lie, I love the class,” said senior Anthony Brown.

While most classes focus on science or math this one is dedicated to words.

“They said they wanted to see poetry and we started with hip hop and spoken word from there,” Bland said.

Though what makes this class different is that it focuses on helping at-risk teenagers.

“Sometimes you have to meet a student before deciding if I should go right or should I go left,“ Bland said.

Hill and Bland are part of the SAYS Organization run out of UC Davis. SAYS stands for Sacramento Area Youth Speaks.

It’s a program designed to help give teenagers another way to deal with their emotions.

“I’ve had personal issues where I couldn’t talk about them,” said freshman Selena Arcineva. “I never opened up. I just kept to myself and coming here helped me break out of a shell.”

“People used to get mad at me when I got mad, but I know how to open up,” Brown said.

“Definitely before I had that class, I was lost,“ said senior Jaiden Davis.

Davis has been in the class since he was a freshman. Like many teenagers, he was heading down the wrong path.

“I found myself just stumbling into situations where I couldn’t get out of,” Davis said.

Everything has now changed including his outlook on life.

“There are many Black students like me who don’t have the class and don’t get the experience I do and you can tell difference in behavior,” Davis said.

“We’ve had students that were just getting kicked out of class,” Bland said. “You now deemed as at-risk students and now they are leaders at Burbank.”

Right now SAYS is only in a couple of Sacramento schools, but the hope is to expand.


This story was produced as part of Project CommUNITY: Saving Our Cities. The series airs on KCRA 3 and online Monday through Friday the entire month of May each night during the 6 p.m. News. We’re focusing on those working to make our communities safer and help our youth thrive, especially in neighborhoods facing social and economic disparities.

Here are more stories from the Saving Our Cities series:

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