Vallejo’s Patrice Lewis continues to build and study community

By John Glidden, Vallejo Times Herald
Posted 3/30/15, 9:56 PM PDT

Many in Vallejo may not know it, but Patrice L. Lewis is a ninja.

A community ninja.

The 2006 Jesse Bethel High School graduate helps behind the scenes, avoiding the spotlight while trying to strengthen the city she calls home, looking to “spread community and love.”

Lewis, 26, who self identifies as a ”budding” historian, can rightfully call herself an “established” bridge-builder in the community. She is a key member of the Vallejo Together service organization, member of the local chapter of the NAACP and an avid supporter/participant of each year’s Youth Expo & Parent Summit put together by the Vallejo school district, Vallejo Together and the Solano County Collaborative HIV/AIDS Awareness.

For Lewis, the duality of history and community involvement works out perfectly.

“We have to learn (from the past) but we can’t live in bubbles,” Lewis said. “It’s about building the community.”

Born in Berkeley, Lewis and her family moved to Vallejo when she was 7.

Growing up, Lewis’ love of history came from hearing stories about segregation from her father, who moved to California from Mississippi decades ago.

That spurred Lewis to study history at California State University, Sacramento, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the subject.

She is currently pursuing a single-subject teaching credential in social science and masters in urban education from Touro University California.

“After I graduate, I’m going to take a year then go for my Ph.D. in African history,” she said. “I want to teach for a few years then write books.”

Lewis intends on writing a book on her family history and a book about Vallejo history.

While active in the community, Lewis also works with the Vallejo City Unified School District as an Academic Support Provider at Hogan Middle School.

At Hogan, Lewis conducts student success team meetings, which helps the student, family and school make a plan to assist the student who may be having academic or behavioral problems.

“What can we do at the school to make them more successful (and) getting them more engaged and pro-active,” Lewis said. “It’s about community partnerships, too; like with Springstowne Library and having students access resources there.”

Lewis said that some students may be having trouble at home.

“Sometimes I see them and have to be a first responder, as well,” she said. “(I) calm them done or patch them up mentally so they can finish the school day.”