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Amigos De Los Rios

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  • EIN 84-1628453
  • (626) 791-1611
  • 908 E. Altadena Drive Altadena CA 91001 USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities, Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment, Philanthropy

Mission: Our mission is to create a regional emerald necklace of sustainable open spaces along urban rivers corridors that connects the mountains to the sea -protecting the environment and public health while strengthening community life for the benefit of current and future generations. We are committed to designing quality public environments that revitalize urban neighborhoods within economically disadvantaged southern california communities. We believe that creating parks and trails and improving the built environment of the city is the best form of preventive health for urban residents: access to recreation is a key factor in protecting the public health.

Programs: In 2005, we outlined a vision for a regional emerald necklace of parks for park deficient areas of east los angeles county. Since then, we have been working nonstop to realize this vision. We have formed an alliance of public agencies, 48 in number, known as the emerald necklace coalition. We have a unique ability to pull together organizations from the public, private, and community sectors, and acting as a catalyst, we continually work to bring about the development of high quality green infrastructure to what were once vacant and neglected public spaces. Our projects impact many communities in east los angeles county providing residents with high quality parks and trails to enjoy, while providing education on the rich natural and cultural history of the area. At any given time we have multiple park implementation projects in process. Currently, we have a major greenway in development along the san gabriel river, a trail along the rio hondo, several multi joint use school projects, multiple municipal and county park retrofits, tree planting initiatives, and a state of the art preventive health wellness center. One of the highlights of the 2014 year was the start of construction of two emerald necklace tot parks and nature trails, these parks are the last two of a three year -six parks project for first 5 la on a series of parks and trails for 0 to 5 year old children in disadvantaged areas of the county. Each one of these projects is inspired by deep community involvement in developing meaningful public spaces. The additional four tot park and nature trail implementations were completed in 2012-2013. In 2014, the construction on the wellness center park and fitness trail at the historic university of southern california/los angeles county hospital was underway. It will be used by doctors as a prescription for patients who suffer from chronic illnesses related to lack of exercise. This is the first of three phases of work to be completed at the wellness center site. Phase two and three will be completed in 2015 and 2016. Projects recently completed and/or currently underway include: 1) two projects with the state through the strategic growth council, california natural resources agency to improve and expand the emerald necklace regional park network, 2) emerald necklace multi-benefit parks & greenway project san gabriel river, 3) los angeles county regional park and open space district prop a projects, 4) la plaza de cultural y artes/ la plaza-city founder trail implementation between main and spring streets in los angeles, 5) usgvmwd feasibility study, 6) wildspaces 2013-14 san gabriel mountains national recreation area, mountains conservancy, 7) emerald necklace weekly stewardship volunteer events- working with community organizations and local corporations to maintain the parks of the emerald necklace while educating local youth on native plant care and environmental issues with our sponsors rei, union bank and southern california edison, 8) the wellness center at the historic university of southern california/ los angeles county hospital funded by california state parks department and los angeles county regional park and open space district, 9) california department of forestry and fire (cal fire) tree planting, 10)california natural resources agency environmental enhancement & mitigation program.

Community Stories

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Andres Q.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working with Amigos De Los Rios for many years now. In all my encounters with them, I've always walked away feeling a little better. It's great working with people who genuinely care about positive community building!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The city of El Monte has benefitted from many trees planted by Amigos de Los Rios

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about Amigos de los Rios!

Since 2005, they have worked to transform trash-filled, blighted, sometimes toxic lots into green, sustainable, environmentally sound recreational areas in dozens of cities throughout the Los Angeles basin. They show kids (and adults) by example why we should care about our environment, how to empower ourselves to surmount tough environmental challenges and get the job done. I became aware of Amigos in 2015, and have worked on various projects with them.

Claire & her team are big-time motivators: they generate impressive community involvement and create wonderfully thought-out projects. I never fail to be impressed by the number of volunteers – including lots of students -- that show up every weekend to build, restore, maintain and do citizen science programs at Amigos’ many projects along the Emerald Necklace: parks big and small, schoolyards, hiking trails and bike paths.

I like that they involve local community members and personalize projects as part of the planning process. They often include art work and structures with meaningful connections to local history, like the Tongva Indian stories included at Rio Vista Park. The Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park came to be after fifth-graders wrote to their city officials asking for a park. Amigos gave them a Monarch Butterfly habitat, native plants, and playgrounds for little kids through teens in a design that collects and distributes stormwater with permeable surfaces, swales and berms (a hallmark of Amigos projects). There is the huge 4-year tree-restoration project at Whittier Narrows, where pest-resistant trees are replacing those killed or damaged by invasive boring beetles. And there is the Jeff Seymour Family Center, where a vast, broiling heat-island of pavement has been broken up into planting areas amid a winding bicycle course shaded by trees and native plants. There are many, many more examples, each unique and meaningful.

Amigos is a dynamic organization that rolls with the challenges and has an enormous positive impact on the neighborhoods and people it touches. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about inspiring, involving, encouraging and educating communities in sustainable environmental practices while providing important new recreational and social opportunities.

Art M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

as a life-long fan of the outdoors and resident of Monterey Park, 3 years ago i was seeking local options for recreation here in the L A area. i slowly discovered the L A River, the San Gabriel River bike paths and trails and waterfalls in the San Gabriel Mountains.

then I heard about the docent training program of Amigos De Los Rios, an 8 week program where one was introduced by lectures and field trips to a network of around 10 city parks along the V-shape intersection of the L A & Rio Hondo Rivers known as the "Emerald Necklace". before the training, i had little knowledge of these parks except for some occasional visits to the Whittier Narrows area.

we visited each of the parks, small and large and saw the ongoing terraforming of old parks into new water-conserving landscapes by changing ground, ground-covers and native species of trees.

after the 8-week training, we were given the opportunity to join Amigos weekly ongoing planting of trees and plants in the various parks.

this group is really dedicated with plantings every weekend, whether hot or cool weather, usually 30 or so persons, half being young high school students.

over the years i got to know Claire, Marion and Jeremy who are hard-working, knowledgable and dedicated staff of Amigos and see first-hand their work and leadership at various events.

their work has made really nice parks for the neighborhoods and have greatly improved the conditions in all of these parks as well as educating the community of water-conservation in tangible ways.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amigos de los Rios is a very progressive organization that has a genuine interest in helping underserved communities. I started off with this non-profit as a fellow and I am amazed with the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained in the field. Amigos is unique for actively engaging its fellows and interns with various players, agencies, and organizations in the planning, devleopment, and ongoing stewardship of public parks. This organization has provided me with wonderful opportunities in working with the general public through community input meetings and outreach events.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am senior in high school and I have, on more than one occasion, volunteered for this non-profit. I spent a couple of hours in helping to maintain the parks. I was not the only student there, most of the volunteers were students. This organization makes it a priority to get kids involved in environmental conservation. Lastly, these parks are beautiful and provide a place for the people of the community to go to on their free time and experience nature.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amigos de los Rios has helped beautify and revitalize communities in LA county and the San Gabriel Valley through the creation of parks and other recreational spaces. As a volunteer, the sites were well made and incorporated the input, participation and histories of local community members, something I appreciated.
The parks also use sustainable methods, water conservation efforts, incorporate native plants and give members of my community a chance to connect with the natural world in an urban environment. The community/volunteer events are well ran and organized. Overall- Great!

Review from Guidestar

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amigos de los Rios is doing tremendous work in order restore blighted areas along the once beautiful Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers – with the “Emerald Necklace Regional Park and Greenway”. By reintroducing native plants and providing interpretive and wayfinding signage with information on the Tongva Tribe native to the area and on local moments of natural and cultural history, Amigos is not only creating a much needed greenbelt in these underserved areas, but also preserving a rich and largely forgotten local cultural heritage.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

The director, Ms. Robinson, has been accused of misuse of funds for personal use. Large amounts of funding were missing from a few of her projects.