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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.