Richmond Youth Academy
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About the RYA

In 1991, the members of the Richmond Black Professional Firefighters Association (RBPFFA) noticed a disturbing trend of violence in the community. Far too often, it was young African- American males who were victims of the social epidemic, which lead to serious injury and death. In an effort to provide assistance to youth who were at-risk of this violent trend, the members felt an obligation to provide an opportunity for youth to become involved in activities that would be beneficial to their growth and development.

With a formal background in program development, Captain Berhel presented a proposal to the former President Captain Ron Williams, which shaped the foundation of the Richmond Youth Academy (RYA).

The original program proposal addressed the conditions and destructive plight of young African- American males in the Richmond community. The RYA concept is to share our knowledge as firefighters and provide professional guidance and life- skills to young teenagers. The fundamental principles remain pillars of the program today; academic achievement, community service and self-discipline. Presently, the RYA serves a diverse group of young men and women from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

The RYA was granted a conditional use of a retired fire station located in the City of Richmond. Initially this facility was used for fire department trainings and was filled with old furnishing and old fire equipment.

The then newly appointed RBPFFA President and Richmond Youth Academy Project designer, Byron Berhel presented the program to Floyd Cormier Jr., who was then presiding as Fire Chief. Chief Cormier gave authorization to utilize the facility for the purpose of providing this community resource.

The Richmond Fire Department has been a loyal supporter and partner of the Richmond Youth Academy since its inception in 1994. Other civic partners in the education and faith-based community have played significant roles in assisting the members of the RBPFFA to help hundreds of young people accept the challenge to realize and maximize their full potential.

We are a non-profit organization – our 501©3 Tax ID # is 94-3168490.

Richmond Youth Academy
Richmond Youth Academy
Richmond Youth Academy, 3510 Cutting Boulevard, Richmond, CA 94804 • (510) 236-2222 • 501(c)3 Tax ID #: 94-3168490
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