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  

A wonderful program. Helping urban kids make connections between the environment, nutrition, exercise, and their health is so important. We need hundreds of small community-based groups like this in neigbhborhoods across the county.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

36 people found this review helpful

I moved recently to SF from NYC. Didn't really know anyone and unlike NYC you don't run into people all the time. Started taking my dog to Daniel Koshland Park in the morning and found an awesome community that's really sweet and caring. They make my days start so much better. The day I found a tick on my dog, I freaked out and ran to the park and found folks to help me out. I also found a new home for a poor dog whose owner had passed away and had been trapped in a home by herself for a month. Thank you to the parks group for creating such a wonderful environment!!!

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

Beautiful, relaxing community park.

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

educate others about how to create similar neighbourhoods

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

People helping people no questions asked.

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

kind and thoughtful and always read to help

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

educate others on how to build a community and provide more programs and places for this community to hang out in a positive way!

Ways to make it better...

the park was open more often

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

economy and helping those who have lost their jobs.

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

this community is wonderful!!!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

26 people found this review helpful

The Hayes Valley parks are jewels in our neighborhood thanks to the efforts of HVNPG. Many thanks to all behind the scenes, most notably Barbara Wenger for making it all happen. It's a blessing for us to have safe, well-kept community areas available. I'm personally grateful not only to have Koshland Park at hand to do my Qigong and Tai Chi in but also to Barbara for initiating our group's original qigong class meetings at the park. They've led to an ongoing qigong and tai chi study group (newcomers are always welcome to drop in at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings.) From the opportunities provided to local kids via the Learning Garden, to the chance to compost kitchen scraps, to the wonderful and inspiring Peace Wall we're all much richer for the under-provided-for HVNPG!

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

the truly rewarding experience of utilizing the parks.

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

the fact that they've managed to keep on keeping on. No small feat! Thanks for being there for us!

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

enthusiastic, proactive and a pleasure to deal with. The garden staff and volunteers are wonderful and Barbara's a gem.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

Hayes Valley Neighborhood PARKS is an invaluable part of our community. Where there was nothing, now there are beautiful parks and a lovely neighborhood destination. There work raises the spirit of the whole neighborhood, from passers by to the students they work with.

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

dedicated.

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

improve city neighborhoods across the country to make them more sustainable and beautiful and give residents a better quality of live.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

While I don't live in this neighborhood I have frequent occasion to be in the area of Koshland Park. I have seen it evolve to a down trodden place to an thing of beauty. It is quite heartening to be in the park and watch all the activity that goes on there. I find it especially pleasing to see all the children and young people who are planting, playing, and otherwise enjoying the benefit of nature in the middle of the city. The tiled wall couldn't be more pleasing to the eye.

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

The involvement of the neighborhood

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

Watching just what dedicated people can accomplish

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

Motivated to bring positive change to the neighborhood and the city

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

Feel more secure that they could continue and expand their services

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

The hayes valley neighborhood parks group does great work. My favorite is the mural on the park wall. Great job involving neighborhood. BEAUTIFUL addition. Beautifying and instilling greater sense of community. BRAVO Sharon Brooks

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

the beautification of neighborhood

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

Keep up the good work

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

Watching how the community becomes closer and more involved.

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

Lovely people

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

Create neighborhoodsustainable gardens to feed the many low income folks in the area.

Ways to make it better...

can't thnk of a thing here

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

More funding needed to expand on their work.

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

Keep on truckin'

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

28 people found this review helpful

Barbara Wenger is an outstanding parks representative since she is both an outstanding neighbor and community liaison. She is interested in all things that contribute to the improvement of Hayes Valley. Personally, she has provided excellent advice and counsel to neighbors who want to see the former UC Extension returned to the public as a historic monument that is used for higher public good. She is generous, thoughtful and a very good leader. I hope she is successful with her efforts to achieve a great nonprofit review!

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

beautification of the parks

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

retire happy

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

personal contact

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

extremely professional

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

change the world!

Ways to make it better...

there are more Barbara Wengers

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

everyday concerns that get in the way

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

this is a mission of love. We must keep those who love in action for the benefit of us all.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

27 people found this review helpful

they make good connections - with school kids, neighbors, the local zen center, restaurants and businesses; the park itself is a gem. i wouldn't want to imagine the neighborhood without their presence.

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

the ongoing beauty and refuge that the park is.

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

be tired but proud.

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

how great the park is - seeing kids playing and working and learning there.

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

friendly, down to earth, devoted to relationships with the earth, the neighborhood, each other.

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

turn on more kids to the magnificent experience of growing your own food and flowers and seeing how that leads to a healthy planet and a healthy body.

Ways to make it better...

i didn't have huge commitment issues.

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

$$.

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

i wish i'd gone to john muir elementary and learned how to garden as a second grader.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

28 people found this review helpful

important connecting with the elementary school, the zen center, the park, neighborhood restaurants and other businesses, and neighbors; the park itself is a gem in the neighborhood, and the participation of the students from the nearby school in caring for the garden within the park is just icing on the cake! hvnparks group is filling an important role in bringing everybody together. i can't/don't want to imagine the neighborhood without their presence.

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

the neighborhood park.

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

be tired, but proud.

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

the palpable impact on the quality of life in the neighborhood - i mean, you can't beat gardening with your neighbors!

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

friendly, down-to-earth, devoted to relationships - with the earth, the neighborhood, each other.

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

bring our economy out of the dumps.

Ways to make it better...

i didn't have huge commitment issues.

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

$$

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

i would have liked to have gone to john muir elementary and learned how to garden in 2nd grade.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

Ever spend time in a City neighborhood and need a quiet, nurturing space for your thoughts and reflections? A space where you can spend a few minutes with a book or notebook or an organizer? A space that, because it supports gardening and children and folks in wheelchairs and welcomes each person who wanders through, supports your life too? Graciously planted and maintained Hayes Valley Neighborhood park space is also a place to sit with a friend or chat with a neighbor, a place to walk your dog on leash, a place to admire and learn about urban gardening.

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

community pride and places for community connection.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

They did the most fantastic job to transform not just this one garden but the whole area so it is actually now save, fun and educational to use this park. Every time I am in the park I want to bow down in front of these people to let them know what fantastic work they did. Thanks, Rene

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

person in Hayes Valley, San Francisco

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

do the same thing but I couldn't run it that well

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

there is not one single think. The people are fantastic, they work well together and bring people together. They are really community building and their outcomes are fantastic

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

very nice and informative.

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

make San Francisco even more green and help the youth to care for the environment and their parks and gardens better

Ways to make it better...

I had a good expericence

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

resources. They really need some more money

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

there could be a box with toys for the kids on the playground which could be unlocked with a combination lock

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

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