More than two decades ago, our founders had a dream: to create a space where young people could learn to prevent violence in their lives and share a message of peace with their communities. Our founding Executive Director, Kate Hobbs, was adamant that all youth learn the basic skills needed to keep themselves safe. She and founding Martial Arts Director Sifu Anthony Daniels, both black-belt martial artists, worked together to create Destiny Arts Center (De-Escalation Skills Training Inspiring Non-violence in Youth), tailoring it to meet the unique needs of Oakland’s children. In 1988, Destiny began programs at local elementary schools, providing intensive martial arts and deescalation training during after-school hours.

The program quickly expanded into center-based after-school and weekend programs for youth ages 3-18 in traditional martial arts– which included meditation, rigorous physical training, sparring and judo within a formal belt-system, and skill building for peaceful conflict resolution.

In 1990, in an effort to provide even more relevant, movement-based violence prevention programming, Sarah Crowell was invited to set the groundwork for Destiny’s now vibrant dance program. All dance and martial arts students learned the tenets of the Warrior’s Code and the practical self-defense and conflict resolution skills which would become our Five Fingers Violence Prevention curriculum

In 1993, Crowell and Hobbs formed the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company (DAYPC). The Company mingled the performing and martial arts with philosophies of nonviolence to create original thought provoking performance pieces that highlighted young peoples’ fears and hopes, increasing social awareness and promoting social change.

Our center’s programs continued to grow and now serve hundreds of youth during after-school, weekend and summer hours when youth are most at risk for harmful behavior. Each year, thousands of children and adults attend Destiny Arts Center workshops, performances and events led by our professional instructors and students. Our many dedicated volunteers are also essential to our success. Together, we’ve built Destiny Arts Center into a leading violence prevention, youth development and arts education center that directly serves over 4,000 young people annually.

Kids with ADD, ADHD, and sometimes autism are welcome, on a case by case basis. Counselors will do their best to accommodate their needs, but may not be trained to manage the requirements of every child.

We offer financial aid on a sliding scale. It is need based, and parent contribution ranges from $15-130 per month.


No Current Program Info Available

Aurora King
Director of School & Community Programs