top of page

Deanna VanBuren Installs The Soul Forest at Sunset Futsal Park

Manny and Jerico

The Sunset Futsal Park is the new home of Deanna Van Buren’s Soul Tree Forest - an installation of live trees, plants, and crafted seating that welcomes participants to experience a micro forest.

A soundscape of music and poetry expressing nature’s voice emerges as visitors approach each part of the space to commune with nature and the planet.

She has given a TED Talk - What a World Without Prisons Could Look Like that speaks volumes about restorative justice, and the possibility of a safer world for all of us.

We invite you to come out and ground yourself in the space, envision a brighter future for us all, and watch or play some soccer while you're here.

*Deanna Van Buren is an award-winning architect and activist recognized internationally for her leadership in using architecture, design, and real estate innovations to address the social inequities behind the mass incarceration crisis.

Van Buren is cofounder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, an architecture and design firm with the mission of dismantling the punitive infrastructure of the prison system by designing and building new spaces informed by restorative justice. These include peacemaking centers, mobile reentry housing, holistic behavioral health hubs, spaces for youth, spaces for diversion/reentry, and more.

*Excerpt from

Officers and DSAL staff delivering cart with supplies to a community member in need

Futsal Players Making Strides at Meritt College

7 players from DSAL Rec Adult Soccer are registered at Merritt College and competing as Student-Athletes for the Merritt College Men Soccer team. “I am the head coach at Merritt and these guys form the nicest group of players I have had, as far as bringing the team together. They have encountered big challenges in life, but their resiliency and genuine friendship makes being around them a lot of fun and gives me a lot of hope for a better future ahead for them!”

"This brings the community together. There’s a lot of people here that need a way to release their good energy, so we get together and play ball." - Danny "Before this, I simply worked and wasn’t in school. Thanks to the opportunity that DSAL Futsal provided I was able to return to soccer - my passion, and was recruited for college - an opportunity that will impact my future. I love the diversity and the culture we have in this institution. I haven’t honestly seen so many people (60-100) together in a community like ours in Cherryland, where everyone is together putting aside their daily struggles. Playing Futsal is the highlight of people’s day." - Daniel "This has made me focus on what is important. I’ve witnessed players go from overweight to being in good shape, and instead of taking anger out outside the field, to take it out by giving their best in the game. Instead of drinking or doing bad things they have something fun to look forward to after school. This is a program the kids look forward to." - Manny

Funder Spotlight - USDA

Excitement was in the air recently, when we co-hosted a day-long tour with the USDA and Health and Human Services from the Federal Government with our partner Health Care Services Agency at Dig Deep Farms. Officials were able to see with their own eyes and learn about how all the pieces of Dig Deep Farms work together to:

  • Produce nutrient-rich food using regenerative agriculture which is better for the planet than its industrial counterpart,

  • Pay our reentry population a fair wage, while training them in careers that build a supporting foundation,

  • Gather and process surplus food to feed our disadvantaged population and reduce greenhouse gasses overheating our planet, and

  • Provide space for small business food entrepreneurs to grow, and strengthen the local economy.

As information about positive shifts in Food Systems spreads, we are hopeful as we work towards a brighter future for our community and the world as a whole. *The USDA works everyday to strengthen the American agricultural economy. Their efforts, and the hard work and resilience of America's farmers and ranchers - are helping American agriculture lead the nation's recovery from a difficult economic climate. To ensure that America remains the world leader in crop production, they conduct cutting-edge agricultural research. To build a stronger agricultural economy for future generations, they work to create new opportunities - like renewable energy - for America's producers, and to grow the next generation of American farmers. The USDA is also responsible for providing a safety net for millions of Americans who are food-insecure and for developing and promoting dietary guidance. The USDA works to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education in a way that supports American agriculture. They provide critical nutrition assistance through FNS programs that include child nutrition programs, SNAP, and emergency food assistance among many other programs. *(Source:

DSAL Health & Fitness Positive Impact Report page 1

Partner Spotlight - Alameda Alliance

Alameda Alliance for Health (AAH) has stepped up as a truly vital partner to Dig Deep Farms and Recipe 4 Health!

They are demonstrating their leadership in health care by investing in the Social Determinants of Health as a strategy to get upstream of chronic diseases.

Dig Deep Farms is using regenerative growing practices to produce medicine for Medi-Cal patients throughout the county as a partner with Health Care Services Agency’s Recipe 4 Health model, which we have built together over the course of the last 7 years.

AAH has been recognizing the vital importance of this medicine in reducing many chronic diseases that are impacted by improved diet, but also the value of using regenerative agriculture practices as a model for improving our climate while also creating living-wage employment opportunities.

We are truly grateful for AAH’s leadership and investment in the important work that is beginning to get national attention as a true model for the country.

Small Business Spotlight - From Seed 2 Feed

From Seed 2 Feed is a BIPOC and Woman owned non-profit that provides free meals and culinary training to the community of the East Bay.

They started out at the REACH Ashland Youth Center in San Leandro, CA as a youth cooking program. The staff noticed that the students were interested in sampling their creations, and the decision was made to go beyond cooking classes and to provide healthy meals for the youth attending the center so that they would be nourished daily.

In March 2020 food insecurity affected the population at full force. The organization decided to open the program to all people in need.

With financial backing from DSAL, From Seed 2 Feed was able to provide 3,000 free meals to a community in desperate need, and help keep people from going hungry.

Hayward Promise Neighborhoods Logo

Employee Spotlight - Reilly Filter

"Reilly is just the best! Reilly is a humble leader who listens to the coaches and the community to find ongoing opportunities for improvement in program delivery and overall operations.

She is a problem-solver, a doer, a true supporter of her team, and a believer in the mission of DSAL to provide the highest quality fitness and athletic programs for FREE to our unincorporated communities.

Reilly is the type of leader that DSAL is proud to have on its team because she knows it’s not about her…it’s about getting the work done for the people. She’s a rare breed and DSAL is LUCKY to have her as its Athletic Director!"

Hilary Bass - Co-Founder of DSAL

Miiki in the greenhouse with fresh local produce

On-the-Job-Trainee/Fleet Coordinator - Jamel Morris

Jamel Morris embarked on his On-The-Job-Trainee internship journey on February 4, 2022.

At the outset, Jamel harbored reservations and faced numerous challenges, stemming from his past incarceration and the responsibilities of becoming a young father. He faced inner turmoil as he contemplated the direction he wished to pursue. Due to the difficulties he encountered, the program initially separated from him.

However, this setback provided Jamel with an opportunity, spurring him to make a significant turnaround in his life. When he was granted a third chance to transform his circumstances, he took it.

Jamel dedicated himself to self-improvement, demonstrating unwavering commitment at work. He was determined to prove that he had risen above the influences of his environment.

Through this process Jamel emerged as a positive role model for his fellow On-The-Job-Trainees, offering encouragement and support to his coworkers. His dedication and transformation did not go unnoticed. Consequently, on September 16, 2022, Jamel was officially hired as the On-The-Job-Trainee Coordinator and Fleet Specialist, cementing his path toward a brighter future.

Kimberly Thomas - Director of Dig Deep Food Hub

Rex (Flordy) Nduenga kicking a ball like a champ at soccer camp

Flag Football Participant Jadyn Williams - DSAL's Athlete of the Month

Our coach Miguel notes that Jadyn is a standout amongst her peers. She has been in the program for five weeks, and consistently listens closely to instructions and takes coaching very well.

She also executes all of the drills and exercises at a high level while showing good sportsmanship and having fun.

“My brothers play football, so I wanted to try it. After I had the opportunity to participate in the program, I found out I was really good at it!

As a result of participating in Flag Football, I have noticed that I'm nicer to my siblings. Having programs like this helps keep our community safe by keeping kids like me busy and having fun on the weekends instead of doing nothing and getting ourselves into trouble.”

- Jadyn Williams


bottom of page