Community Grows

Rating: 4.96 stars   45 reviews

Issues:

Location: 762 Fulton St San Francisco CA 94102-4119 USA

Mission: CommunityGrows is an environmental education program serving high-needs youth, especially those living in public housing in San Francisco.  Youth acquire the necessary skills to live a healthy life through garden education, nutritious cooking and eating, and green jobs training.
Results: Renovation of Rose-Page Mini Park-1999 Renovation of Koshland Park-2002 DPH-7 Principles Project-Infant Mortality Nutrition Grant-2003 Environmental Adventures-Urban kids Outdoors-2004-2005 Community Learning Garden-Koshland Park Upgrades-2007-2008 San Francisco PEACE WALL Installation-2007 John Muir Elementary School Green Schoolyard Project-1996-present BEET Rangers-Teen Stipended Envir Ed & Green Jobs Training-2007-present LetUsGrow Summer Camp-2006-present Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Classes at housing development and at Modern Tea Restaurant-2006-present Park Monthly Workdays-1994-present
Target demographics: low-income, high needs youth, especially those living in public housing in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhoods
Direct beneficiaries per year: 500 youth and 400 adults (from John Muir School, Hayes Valley North & South Redevelopment, YMCA Beacon Center, Park stewards and volunteers for five parks/gardens, families receiving produce, participants at events, workshops, celebrations).
Geographic areas served: Western Addition/Hayes Valley San Francisco
Programs: Koshland Park Community Learning Garden This garden is located in the lower part of Koshland Park, on the corner of Page and Buchanan Streets in San Francisco, CA. The garden is ground zero for most of our programs and serves hundreds of youth and neighbor each year. It is a 54- plot garden shared by the students of John Muir Elementary School and community gardeners. The primary goals of the Community Learning Garden are to help at-risk youth in the community to develop an understanding and passion for nature, to build core academic and interpersonal skills, and to create a sense of community and caring between neighborhood youth and adults. Environmental Education Classes • John Muir Elementary School-Western Addition Beacon Center and Hayes Valley Youth Center Our environmental education classes with John Muir Elementary School offer the Science Content Standards to all students. These classes help students improve their learning through hands-on experience and activities in the outdoor classroom at the Koshland Park Garden. Students also have an opportunity to continue their learning in our afterschool and summer programs. • Garden Workdays with groups, high schools and youth organizations Numerous groups, high schools and youth organizations work with CommunityGrows on a regular basis, bringing their youth to the Koshland Park garden for classes in gardening, composting and park maintenance. BEETS-Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens We are also hoping to continue our successful BEETS Program (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employed Teens), a green jobs training program for low-income, underserved teens in the Western Addition. This is a six-month stipend program that meets every other Saturday for six hours and every Wednesday after school (for 1.5 hours). Some of the activities include workshops on recycling (Norcal Transfer); nutrition (Next Course): composting (Garden for the Environment); bike maintenance (SF Bike Kitchen). There is also organic gardening, harvesting and cooking nutritional foods. There are field trips to Marin Headlands, Crissy Field, Alemany and Green Gulch Farms. SF Recreation and Park Department teaches participants how to use tools and assists them in maintain five local parks. LetUsGrow Summer Camp Begun in 2005, our environmental summer camp, LetUsGrow, offers youth and teen counselors, three weeks of garden fun. Camp started each day with breakfast donated by Kate’s Kitchen, which was followed by fieldtrips, gardening and arts activities and ending with a healthy lunch. Some of our adventures are trips to Green Gulch Farm in Marin County, Alemany Farm in San Francisco, the Arboretum, the Civic Center Farmers Market, painting watercolors of our garden, gardening, composting, and a graduation with our parents. Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Classes Begun in 2005 with weekly classes at Modern Tea Restaurant in Hayes Valley and at the Hayes Valley Housing Complex, CommunityGrows offers neighborhood youth and their families, opportunities to prepare delicious, healthy meals with produce harvested from the Koshland Park Garden. Western Addition Peace Wall at Koshland Park This project, started in 1998, brought together over 1,000 people, members of churches, schools, and community based organizations to learn a peace empowerment process that culminated in painting tiles of what peace means to each person. Through the integration of the visual arts, a curriculum and program was taught that focused on tolerance, understanding, and non-violence, and collectively learned ways to develop positive and proactive solutions to resolving conflicts and defusing anger. The project has been developed and implemented by residents for residents—a true community endeavor.
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

we manage a public and affordable housing development that has benefitted from working with the hayes valley neighborhood parks group. our residents are sometimes overlooked and/or alienated given the socioeconomic status of many people that live around them, and the parks group has helped them stay connected and involved.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their ability to engage and serve our public and affordable housing residents in healthy and fun activities.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

The park built and maintained by this group has enhanced our neighborhood. I live across the street from the park, and it is wonderful. I take small children there when they vist and the kids love it but I enjoy the presence of the park, the restored beauty and dignity of our neighborhood and the happiness of the people using it, even when I am personally not using it. I love being there. Way good!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way our neighborhood has improved

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Hire Barbara Wenger as the CEO

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the gentle way they operate in the neighborhood. no hassles.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

sweet, kind and friendly. Very helpful and nice.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide increased tutoring and after school homework services to kids and cooking and nuitrition classes for mothers.

Ways to make it better...

I have no complaints

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

economy--to keep things going

One thing I'd also say is that...

I am so grateful

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

26 people found this review helpful

We garden, we help the community. I like it cause I get to help the community and I get to plant and get experience with planting. I like it. I like it and I love it. *This review collected during the 7th Annual Western Addition National Night Out and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with the kids, gardening, picking up trash

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

going on field trips, like to the garbage dump and trash compactor, and helping our communities

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fun, helpful, kind

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

have the BEET program run longer, have more kids

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

26 people found this review helpful

Working with HVNPG is fun, it's exciting, and it's never a boring day with them. They keep you doing things. They work with kids a lot and it's a really good program. They help kids like my daughter stay off the streets and learn how to work. *This review collected during the 7th Annual Western Addition National Night Out and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen them work hard with the kids--they kids enjoy themselves and seem really happy. I see lots of happy faces.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

planting. I don't like dirt, but them teaching me not to be scared of worms and stuff was great, cause we have a little garden too.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

happy, fun, lovable, rejoicing. They're all real nice people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

really get the kids involved in things. Because the Western Addition has been down for a while and now we're bringing it back and that's a big part of it.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

 
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