The TeamOur STAFF
Compassionate, experienced, caring, and dedicated to making a difference in ourselves and our community.
Kelvin Potts is the Founder & CEO of Positive Communication Practices (PCP) which provides a transformative “Rites of Passage” program for young men involved with the criminal justice system. He has directed this program in the Maximum-Security Units at the Alameda County Juvenile Detention Center and the Department of Juvenile Justice facility O.H. CLOSE in Stockton. Mr. Potts has an extensive background as a facilitator, specializing in working with at–risk teenage youth, passionate about his community and a powerful force for change. He also co-facilitates a series of workshops for First Five of Alameda County focused on opening dialogues of healing. Mr. Potts has provided numerous workshops and retreats over the past 10 years.
In addition to drawing on his own experiences of growing up in East Oakland, Mr. Potts has been certified in Positive Youth Development through the Alameda County Probation Department. He’s also certified both as a Father Engagement Specialist and a Violence Prevention Specialist. Mr. Potts is a Master Facilitator of the National Compadres Network’s evidence-based Rites of Passage curriculum and has been trained and certified in the evidence-based Inside/Out Dad fatherhood curriculum for incarcerated youth.
Alex Diaz is formerly incarcerated and is an alumnus of the first graduating class (January 2014) of Positive Communication Practices, “Rites of Passage” program in the maximum-security units at Alameda County’s Juvenile Hall. Alex Diaz is currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and is studying business administration with a concentration in finance, Alex is expected to graduate in May of 2022.
Alex Diaz currently works for Positive Communication Practices assisting the CEO and Founder, Kelvin Potts, with accounting, website/social media content and development, social networking, software system presentations, and panelist. Alex Diaz has recently been approved by Alameda County Probation Department to be a youth mentor for the Rites of Passage program in the maximum-security units. He is working towards becoming a behavioral modification counselor, circle keeper, and facilitator with the intent of facilitation alongside Kelvin Potts and the Rites of Passage team.
DR. SAM HIMELSTEIN
Dr. Sam Himelstein is a formerly incarcerated youth and was privileged to change from a path of drugs, violence, crime, and self-destruction to that of healing and transformation. His mission is to help young people become aware of the power of self-awareness and transformation, and train professionals with similar interests.
Dr. Himelstein is a licensed Psychologist in the state of California. Most of his work has involved working with high-risk and marginalized youth in the juvenile justice system, foster care system, and those suffering from addiction issues. He previously worked at the Chemical Dependency program at Kaiser Permanente with teens and their families, in a number of juvenile halls conducting psychotherapy, psychological evaluations, and researching the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions with incarcerated and underserved adolescent populations.
Dr. Himelstein is the author of multiple scholarly journal articles and three books, and travels the country speaking at conferences and conducting professional trainings. He is also the founder of the Center for Adolescent Studies, a multidisciplinary training institute focusing on creating authentic, healing relationships with adolescents that contribute to positive outcomes. Most of his trainings and speaking lies at the intersection of building authentic relationships, trauma-informed care, and teaching mindfulness to youth.
Jason Seals is an African-centered educator, with over two decades of experience serving his community locally, nationally, and globally as an educator, thought leader, speaker, and change agent.
While completing his BA in Sociology at San Jose State University, Jason began his career in youth development serving in multiple roles across the nonprofit, mental health, and juvenile justice sectors. After obtaining his master’s in Africana Studies from the University of Albany, he leveraged his love for transformational educational practices and Africana studies in the classroom, teaching ethnic studies and manhood development courses at multiple high schools, colleges, and universities across the Bay Area. Jason went on to earn a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco and began working fulltime at Merritt College, where he currently serves as the Chair of Ethnic Studies and as a tenured Professor of African American Studies.
Beyond the traditional classroom, Professor Seals facilitates community workshops and professional development trainings on a wide range of topics inclusive of radical healing, anti-racism, parenting/fatherhood, and systems change. He shares his critical thought leadership while providing a platform for authors, leaders, activists, and artists of African descent through his podcast, “A Moment of Truth”. Outside of his work, Jason enjoys spending quality time with his children, running, and vibing to an eclectic array of music.
Dr. ARNOLD CHAVEZ, Ed.D.
Arnold Chavez, Ed.D. is a retired Community Health Coordinator for the Alameda County Public Health Department Dr. Chavez has focused his efforts on Men and Boys and the Assets and Challenges they bring to the Urban Setting such as: Educational/Vocational Training and its effects on our Health. Dr. Chavez is an instructor at San Quentin Prison and works with young men at Juvenile Hall on a regular basis.
Arnold Chavez’ efforts have been focused on education and community development to facilitate access of the available resources to those in need. Over the years, he has been active and served on the Boards of several community organizations, currently he is on the Board of Directors of the Mentoring Center, Alameda County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Union City 50THAnniversary Board, and one of the original Founders of the Hispanic Community Affairs Council which awards Scholarships for 37 years to deserving Latino youth in Alameda County and served on the Latino/Diversity Board for the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, and is a past president of the Latino Advisory Committee on Crime in Oakland (LACC).
Dr. Chavez earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in 1969 and his Master of Arts (M.A.) in 1971 from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado; in 1973 he received his Master of Education (M.Ed.) from Antioch University, Yellow Springs, Ohio and in 1975 he completed and received an Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado.
Dr. JAMAL COOKS
Dr. Jamal Cooks, originally from Oakland, CA.,is a tenured, Professor at San Francisco State University in the Department of Secondary Education. Dr. Cooks has taught middle and high school social studies, community college English, and teacher education courses at the university level. He earned his B.A. from University of California at Berkeley and a MA in Social Studies Curriculum Development from the University of Michigan. Dr. Cooks completed his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan with a dissertation entitled “Explicit Instruction, assumed skills, or something in the middle: Expository writing development in different learning environments with high school freshmen.” Moreover, he is an award-winning track and field coach. Dr. Cooks has coached many indoor and outdoor, track club and high school state participants and All Americans. Dr. Cooks is a certified Level 2 coach in sprints, jumps, hurdles, and relays and was a participant in the Emerging Elite Coaches Camp in Chula Vista at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
OLAFEMI B. AKINTUNDE
Olafemi B. Akintunde currently serves as Director of the Ubuntu Leadership Institute. His work focuses on healing-centered engagement, curriculum development, and differentiated learning.
A graduate of California State University, East Bay with a B.A. in Sociology and an emphasis on social services, Olafemi is a multi-credentialed teacher who continues to serve many different communities throughout the country. With an extensive background in teaching, facilitation, program development, and social service delivery, Olafemi’s focus has been geared towards the healing and education of boys and men of color. Through his work with Flourish Agenda, Inc, Alameda County of Education, Juvenile Hall, and the African American Male Achievement program over the last several years, he has created opportunities for individuals to explore toxic social constructs while providing a comprehensive lens needed to heal self and community.
As an educator, he has been featured in the Detroit Free Press, Ubuntu Leadership Academy, and the African American Male Achievement Documentary, “Kingmakers.” In addition, his work has been published by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, which featured his unique approach to educating young black males, as his engaging and charismatic approach reflects his background in performing arts. His interactive teaching is spoken from a place of absolute understanding of the Black male experience through education. He sees the education and healing of black men and boys as his life’s work and looks forward to continuing the legacy of great African educators.
Rites of Passage (ROP)
Our Team & Collaborators
PCP has assembled an impressive team to deliver the ROP program.
The team includes:
- Kelvin Potts, Founder & Director, Positive Communication Practices
- Kentrell Killens, Master Facilitator and youth case manager
- Michael Gibson, one of Alameda County’s leading violence prevention specialists
- Arnold Chavez, Ph.D., Urban Male Health, Alameda County Public Health Department
- Arnold Perkins, Chair, Juvenile Justice/Delinquency Commission of Alameda County
- Jamal Cooks, Ph.D., Interim Associate Director, Educational Leadership, San Francisco State University
- Jim Hill, Chairman, Brotherhood of Elders Network Leadership Council.
ROP PARTNERS & Collaborators
The ROP program has established extremely strong partnerships with a series of organizations in Alameda County that are all concerned about the health and wellbeing of young men of color. Some of the partners are funders, others provide trainings and interventions with the young men in Units 2 and 4, while some assist in developing and honing evidence-based training models that help shape the ROP curriculum. In every case, it is the young men in Units 2 and 4 who benefit from the untiring work and dedication of our partners, which include:
- Brotherhood of Elders Network (BOEN)
- Alameda County First 5
- National CARES Mentoring Movement
- Alameda County Public Health Department
- Alameda County Office of Urban Male Health
- Alameda County FHS Fatherhood Initiative
- National Compadres Network
- Hidden Genius Project
From Our Founder
“Change Your Story, Change Your Life”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
“If we’re not touching the Heart & Soul of the young men, it’s not going to work.”
– Baba Kelvin (KP)
Get In Touch
Positive Communication Practices
1720 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612