By Kathy Chouteau
The charitable spirit of Oshiana Unique Thompkins—a 19-year-old North Richmond native lost to gun violence at an Orinda house party on Halloween 2019—will be celebrated Easter weekend at the “Grand Opening” of a youth recreation center founded in her honor.
The Oshiana Unique Thompkins Foundation’s Grand Opening of the Reach O.U.T. Mode Center (ROM Center), the aforementioned youth recreation center, is set for Sat., April 16 from 1-5 p.m. at 435 Valley View Rd. in El Sobrante. Both the foundation and the recreation center were founded to carry on the legacy of their inspiration and namesake, Thompkins—whose initials represent the “O.U.T.”—according to her mother, Sparkle Davis, who also serves as the president and founder of the foundation.
“She had a dream to help underserved youth and give back to her community and that is a mission we will continue through this foundation,” stated officials in a correspondence with the Standard. April 14 was Thompkins’ birthday, making Easter weekend the perfect timing to launch both the recreation center and foundation.
The Grand Opening will happen the day before Easter, so the Easter Bunny will hop in for a visit and there will be an Easter egg hunt and a giveaway of little Easter baskets, according to Davis. Other activities will include raffles, games, prizes, game room, face painting, two jumpers and a dance contest. Sandwiches, fruit, snow cones, cupcakes and a taco truck will round out the food options, and tours of the new ROM Center will also be available during the event.
As an added bonus for attendees, a backpack giveaway will happen courtesy of the Donor Network West in honor of Thompkins, who helped save five lives, including that of a child, as an organ donor following her passing.
This type of giving nature was typical of Thompkins, who performed community service work for the Senior Citizen Neighborhood House in North Richmond, the Green Team Agriculture Garden Program and as a youth leader at Shields Reid Park.
Davis recalled her daughter often coming home excited about the work she was doing for others. Thompkins would burst in the door thrilled to share her adventures serving the community and the joy she felt from her day meeting new people and helping them, Davis recalled in materials shared with the Standard.
The recreation center and foundation stand as fitting manifestations of Thompkins’ legacy. Per Davis, the ROM Center will primarily serve youth ages 12 to 21 but she underscored that the “doors are open to all kids.”
Among the ROM Center’s activities and resources for youth will be: The Oshi Mode Pantry, a safe space for youth to have after school snacks, homework help and free Wi-Fi for research and studying; the Oshi Mode Closet, new and like-new fashionable clothing free to youth and which will include outer garment clothing, undergarments, backpacks and other school supplies; the Creation Room, where youth can explore visual art creation and digital music with sound recording software and equipment; and the Recreation Area, where youth can “relax and be kids without the pressure of the outside world,” according to the foundation. It will be equipped with modern gaming systems, board games, gaming table, art supplies and more.
Davis’ message to the youth she hopes to see soon at the ROM Center? “The sky is the limit.”
According to the Oshiana Unique Thompkins Foundation—which is also referred to as the “OUT Foundation”—its mission is to “enhance and save the lives of at-risk youth and underprivileged families by providing necessary resources and hosting community outreach events.”
The foundation, which is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, is hoping to raise $20,000 at its Grand Opening, which will be applied toward computer and digital studio equipment, recreation gaming systems, food/pantry essentials and school/art supplies, per officials. To support the organization with a donation, click here.
Oshiana Unique Thompkins was born and raised in North Richmond, attended De Anza High School, eventually moved to Hercules and graduated from Vallejo High. At the time of her death, she was attending Laney College and had entrepreneurial aspirations, per her mother. Read the Standard’s previous article about her here.