CommunityGrows is wonderful community organization with a staff full of loving community members working to foster exploration of nature and wellness among youth. My favorite thing about the organization is how youth can move through the programming and lessons as they grow from classroom involvement as youngsters to BEETs interns as teenagers!
Wonderful organization to work with! The gardens provide kids with the chance to get up close and personal with nature while learning good habits that will help them throughout life.
Beyond their amazing work with the children and communities of San Francisco, CommunityGrows has been doing the exceptionally challenging internal work of rebuilding their organizational structure to create a more egalitarian and supportive organization for all of their team members. This may not be visible to all who interact with CommunityGrows, but it is such important work in the nonprofit world!
Our future lies in dirt! As an elementary school science teacher, I can attest to the value of having access to a school garden. Kids simply need to get their hands dirty - planting seeds, looking for earthworms, studying soil composition, identifying weeds, working in a garden. "Where does our food come from?" "How do plants grow?" "Is there really a tree in that seed?!" So much of the universe is revealed to kids in a garden - a garden like the one at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Anna Luberoff, CommunityGrows Garden Goddess, creates an opportunity for kids without yards to stake a claim in this garden. She has developed a relationship with the school over a number of years and established the garden as a bright spot in students' days. Using standards-based lessons that are fun and engaging, she "plants the seeds" of learning and love of a garden for Kinder - 5th Gr kids. Every public school should have such a resource. If only we had an "Anna and her garden" at MY school...
Community Grows work ethic and investment is all in their name - they grow the community with the community. They do it from the ground up. Returning to the foundational work required to sustain and support a community. I love their rigor, their humor, and their humanity. I had the esteemed privilege of leading a volunteer project revamping the gardens in Spring of 2019 and was humbled by the team of teachers, educators, and staff members who thoughtfully approached the impact of our work on their work. I find them to be a shining light in the city.
CommunityGrows participated in the Make a Mark 12-hour design hackathon that I organized on Oct 19, 2019. The goal of the event was to pair designers and developers with local nonprofits to work on specific projects. The CommunityGrows team was a pleasure to work with and their Make a Mark team produced an amazing new logo and branding for them. I am a big fan of the work this organization is doing in the community and would love to continue supporting them any way I can.
I am a member of a San Francisco-based Giving Circle that selects an impactful local nonprofit to support each year. Our experience working with CommunityGrows this year has been one of our best. CommunityGrows plays a critical role serving the community and at-risk youth in the Western Addition neighborhood and in San Francisco broadly. The organization does important and inspiring work supporting the local community and teaching students of all ages valuable lessons on health, nutrition, environment, and sustainability.
CommunityGrows’ work at Khoshland Community Park and Garden contributes to the maintenance of a peaceful and soothing respite and ideal learning environment within the city. CommunityGrows employs a dedicated and passionate team of professionals including Kelly ErnstFriedman, Executive Director, who helped us coordinate and customize our group’s engagement, Karen Lally, Operations & Development Manager, who skillfully coordinated our volunteering efforts, and Anna Luberoff, Garden Programs Manager, who led a fun, educational, and productive volunteering session in the garden for our group. I look forward to continuing to support the organization in years to come as it further grows its impact and reach.
I've spent over 5 years working with CommunityGrows and have seen first-hand how dedicated the staff are to working with and for low-income and historically marginalized communities. First and foremost, they are in service to kids who deserve a chance to spend safe and fun time outdoors, to eat nourishing foods, and to feel empowered to change their lives and the lives of their community. I'm so proud to support this organization and wish that we could serve so many more youth!
If you've worked with CommunityGrows at all, you know how dedicated the staff and volunteers are to bringing life-changing garden and nutrition education to underserved children in San Francisco. With diabetes and obesity on the rise in our country, the work CG does is crucial to helping children develop lifelong healthy eating habits. They also provide great volunteer opportunities for the community - please join us!
The staff, volunteers and other supporters of CommunityGrows have passion for the mission of the organization and a commitment to the communities served. CG is the heart of the neighborhood in many ways and is helping to provide children with knowledge and skills that can help set them up for healthier futures. Every organization has room for improvement, hence the 4 stars.
We've been volunteering with CommunityGrows for the last several years as part of our corporate volunteer day. The team there has been very easy to work with, friendly and passionate about their cause and it's been great fun to volunteer. We enjoyed learning about the different plants and gardening, something which is difficult to do in the midst of a big city and sitting in front of a computer all day long.
We've also volunteered alongside student coordinators, who were taught us (older adults) so much!
CommunityGrows is an amazing organization dedicated to building healthy communities through the use of our natural environment. With multiple programs throughout San Francisco, CommunityGrows provides safe and authentic spaces for youth of all ages to explore, learn, and grow. Please reach out and get involved today - let’s change the world one plant, one garden, and one child at a time.
We organized a company volunteer event with this organization and had such a blast! I think I can speak for all of the attendees that day in saying that it was a fun and rewarding experience. We got to learn about the history of the organization and the areas they serve in the Western Addition on top of getting to make visible improvements at Buchanan Mall. We got a first hand experience of what this organization does every day, and I will say it is fantastic.
Ive been working with community grows for just about 1 year now and I really enjoy it and I'm happy that I joined their beets group because it opened my opportunities to more and different things. And it really educated me about the food system and healthy things and choices.
The Rosa Parks Elementary School works closely with CommunityGrows for our very robust garden program. I lead the Green Team there and over the years, have seen the 110% dedication and support our school receives to ensure that our garden program continues. Via CommunityGrows, we have 2 outstanding teachers (Anna & Yaya!!) who teach and interact with all Rosa Parks students whether during garden class time or more casual recess garden time available every day. Their impact is felt school-wide in not just educating kids about plants, growth, seasons, etc, but also to provide a beautiful outdoor space that gives kids room to explore. Whenever we are short for volunteers for specific needs, the CommunityGrows team beyond our teachers helps. CommunityGrows is outstanding and such a part of our school community. We can't thank them enough!
I've donated to CommunityGrows now for 3 years. This organization combines several missions that are close to my heart: Sustainable/local/healthy food; helping disadvantaged, urban kids learn about where their food comes from with fun, hands-on experiences. The kids put their cell phones and computers away and - literally - get their hands dirty while they learn. Our kids need more of that!!! There are also opportunities for teenagers to work and gain job skills to give them a headstart and a boost for their future. Terrific, caring staff make it all work!
CommunityGrows changes lives for youth in the neighborhood and the community. They allow youth to feel connected to their community and develop skills to strengthen their community. Love their work!
Small, energetic San Francisco organization that provides garden education and healthy eating programs to children. Incredible work in communities that need it most!
I connected with CommunityGrows through the AmeriCorps program and have worked with them for over a year now to help develop their volunteer opportunities and network. It has been so rewarding to see people from the community, local universities, and partner programs come together to cultivate and care for the gardens and to support the students in the different programs. Initially I was drawn to their mission of connecting kids with green spaces and teaching students about nutrition and the environment, but my love for the organization has grown from there. It is so wonderful to be involved with an organization whose staff, partners, and volunteers care so much about the work that they do and the people they connect with -- thank you to CommunityGrows and everyone who supports their work!
CommunityGrows is doing what few nonprofits are able to do these days--to take a small, grassroots model and turn it into a successful organization that has real impact!
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.
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!!!
HVNPG has made Hayes Valley a wonderful place to live. Their work with the peace wall and the gardens has improved the quality of life for our community, has given us a feeling of pride in our neighborhood and brought us closer together.
HVNPG is a great organization to work with. They made up of are dedicated, passionate, and grounded who make a positive impact to the community. Their staff members Barbara and Nora are absolutely wonderful. They are so organized! My company, Sherwood Design Engineers, had a volunteer event this past weekend April 18th at the Koshland Community Garden in Hayes Valley, SF. We had a wonderful time! There were many activities to do including painting, mulching, composting, weeding, etc. They were so organized and did not overwork the volunteers, which is a great thing b/c many organizations do that.
Close to two thousand commmunity members were given a sense of ownership/belonging to this neighborhood by their contribution of their own artwork to the huge public Peace Wall surrounding Koshland Park. The artworks created arose out of workshops in which individuals of all ages and backgrounds explored nonviolent forms of communication and problem solving and learned emotional literacy, then expressed their unique vision of "peace" on a ceramic tile. I feel that the opportunity provided by HVNPG for people to have their artwork, whatever its technical "finish", permanently and publicly on display is a powerful creator of a sense of self-worth and community membership. My experience of the love, joy, and sincerity brought to their work by the non-professional artists in the tile painting workshops was deeply moving. The unveiling celebration was a beautiful demonstration of community unity as well. Furthermore, whenever I visit the site of the artwork I am struck by the feeling of vibrancy at Koshland Park and the lovely gardens which are very well used by a diverse community. My experience with Barbara Wenger and others at HVNPG was consistently inspiring. These people are extremely dedicated and hard working stewards of their neighborhood and of the environment and I heartily endorse them as a great green non-profit!
I love HVNPG! They provide me with the opportunity to get my hands dirty, to watch seeds become plants, to be a part of something bigger.
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!
HVNPG is a wonderful addition to the community, and you can tell the kids really love the programs. The staff are smart and devoted to the cause, continually growing and adding programs that help the neighborhood.
Committed caring people who care about our community and who are doing great work at getting kids and young people excited about caring for the parks and gardens in their community. Volunteering for HVNPG was a great experience and I encourage others to discover the great work they are doing right in our own backyard.
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.
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.
I've lived next door to the Koshland Park garden, part of the Hayes Valley parks group, for the past four years. In my time living next door to the garden I have often volunteered at the garden clean ups. It is great have a garden in the neighborhood - the flowers and butterflies and birds are great to have in the city. The park also provides gardening and compost classes for the neighborhood kids.
I have been following this organization since its inception more than a decade ago. The force behind it is Barbara Wenger. She has renovated two parks on my street and been instrumental in the development and stewardship of two others. Over the years she has helped thousand of people young and old with her Peace project culminating with the installation of the Peace Wall on Page and Buchanan streets. Through out these years she has always had a special concern for youth, and the environment. You only need to look at the teaching garden at Koshland park to see how important it is to her. Her organization is embedded at John Muir Elementary school. HVNPG pays the salaries of garden educators who teach all grades, an expansive curriculum based in the garden. I have watched her in cramped home office working seven days a week for years on end -for no pay. She deserves awards, recognition, and everything good.
I moved into this neighborhood in 1991. At that time, there were huge problems that made it difficult to feel safe and secure living here. We had drug dealers, prostitutes, nightly gun fire, graffiti, robberies and muggings. It was frightening as I walked the block from the bus stop to my home after work each night. Koshland park was also a nightmare; a regular shooting gallery with drug abusers who left their used needles in the playground, prostitutes who carried on their "business" in this lowly lit refuge. Fortunately, there were also people that lived in this neighborhood who cared for one another and looked out for each others welfare. Thus began the building of the strength that has become the wonderful HVNPG. I am witness to the vast improvements that have taken place over the years. Our park is well maintained, fun, safe and a constant pleasure to visit. I have met wonderful and colorful neighbors and have had the opportunity to be involved with many beautiful neighborhood activities. I can not conclude without mentioning the "peace wall" which for me symbolizes the hope that has survived and prevailed in this neighborhood through the years. Continued success to the HVNPG - thanks to all for making this one of the best neighborhoods in our magical city.
I give this group the highest rating that is possible. Especially for Barbara Wenger and her undying commitment to this neighborhood and her efforts over the last many years to care for this Park.
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.
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
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!
Warm, welcoming garden. It's great that there are so many ways the Koshland COmmunity Learning Garden is used: elementary school classes, youth development & green job preparation, community events, and individual garden plots. The garden is an asis in the lower haight/hayes valley.
I am thankful to be a part of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood PARKS Group. From time to time I volunteer with them and enjoy working with the kids that they mentor. I've done two sessions with their Rangers group and I've seen the kids interact creatively with each other, be it working individually or as a team.
I think it is great Barbara's group is stepping up it's focus on youth programming. Under HVNPG stewardship the neighborhood parks have been turned and are looking great again. Now the task is to develop leadership skills in the youth to keep the momentum moving forward.
There is no other organization like this in the City! They are instrumental in bringing together community in the context of urban gardening. HVNPG effectively and creatively serves a diverse community while connecting with local schools, public housing, neighborhood groups and local merchants! The neighborhood and the City are richer because of this organization! Not to mention ma many youth that otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity get to learn how to grow food and then eat it and experience nature in the City!
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.
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.
Some of the things I worry about the most: the environment, food security, poverty and its impacts of families, community breakdown and violence, not enough support and help for our kids, education—all of these things are solved by this little neighborhood group with the big impact. I keep wishing this organization could win millions of dollars and expand their program to thousands of kids. Teaching kids to plant food in the community garden, then to harvest it and cook healthy meals. It sounds simple but it is the basic building block of a healthy society—it could be the start of a peaceful revolution!
Long term excellence of neighborhood involvement and enhancement. Truly a model that sustained mindful effort pays off. Barbara Wenger and her students deserve more awards.
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 love Koshland Park and the other parks that comprise the Hayes Valley Neighborhood PARKS Group. I live on the same block as Koshland Park, and walk my dogs there in the morning and most evenings. About 3 or 4 years ago, Barbara Wenger asked if I wanted to volunteer and open the terraced part of the park in the morning, and relunctantly I agreed. Since then, I've been opening Koshland Park nearly every morning, and take pride in my role. I enjoy providing this service to my neighbors and the neighborhood! Opening the park makes me feel part of a larger community as so many of us enjoy Koshland Park differently. Over the years, I have met many people and have made some good friends too! In the morning, I open the park for my fellow dog-walkers and their beloved furry friends. I also open the park for some neighbors who practice Tai Chi. Occasionally they will break their pose to say goodmorning or pat a dog on the head. The gardeners who have plots in Koshland Park are also very pleasant and have often given me flowers or herbs to show their appreciation for my role as "gatekeeper". In general, HVNPG brings neighbors of all walks of life together. Our parks are great for communities, neighbors, families and visitors. They serve as our backyards and withouth HVNPG the quality of life in Hayes Valley would not be as rich. Thanks again HVNPG!
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
A terrific resource in my neighborhood. It enriched my life tremendously. This group helps our neighborhood to stay clean, provides a safe park where I can sit and relax and listen to the birds.
I worked with HVNPG getting them set up with GNP last year, and during my correspondence with them was lucky enough to be able to go and see them at work during a community night in the area. I saw the great impact that they're making in Hayes Valley, especially regarding the youth. They run gardens and teach kids who participate in their programs about sustainability and conservation, and they really make everything that they do a community effort. The people that I spoke with really felt the impact of HVNPG on an individual level, in that it made them engage with the community and have more of a stake in their neighborhood, and their youth programs help keep local kids off the streets and doing healthy, environmentally friendly outdoor activities. All in all, I think they're doing a great job. Keep up the good work!
The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group brings beauty to our community while also providing a great place to grow your own food and learn from others. They are so open with information and tips about gardening and it feels great to be a part of making this area a better place for everyone to live in.
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!
Barbara Wenger's commitment to her Hayes Valley neighbors and community is inspiring. Her dedication to pursue safe, beautiful and inclusive parks for both learning and pleasure has never faltered. Barbara's consistency to lead through adversity has created new partnerships and relationships. The Peace Wall is a living monument to those who have participated in sharing the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group's mission. Thank you volunteers, staff and Board for your hard work and successful efforts, by which we benefit. To Barbara, without whose leadership we wouldn't be feeling the green grass between our toes or the wind in our air (as we swing), another thank you.
I have known this group since the mid Nineties when Barbara Wenger first came to the Open Space Committee for funding for Koshland Park. Her perseverance finally wore the committee down and I have marveled at the same perseverance over the ensuing years. THe accoplishments of the group could not happen without a leader such as Barbara and the ,many volunteers who have responded to her calls for help.
With Barbara's leadership over the years, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood PARKS Group has made a major impact on the lives of the people who live here. Our children are finding purpose in their lives by nurturing seedlings and gardens. The gardens the residents maintain as volunteers fill them with pride. All residents, young and old, are finding common ground and ownership in taking back our neighborhood from years of neglect. This HVPG organization has played a key role in showing the way how to provide a vision, create the plan, and lead the people. May other city garden orgaizations learn from the master!! BRAVO!! Gail Baugh, Hayes Valley
One thing to add, I only recently moved to Hayes Valley and wanted to know who was "in charge" of the Patricia's Green to that I could make it "my own" too. HVNPG was one of the handful of community based groups that encouraged me to "take charge" and facilitated my contacts with the city's Rec and Park department and other players. Last month, with help, I organized a Patricia's Green Clean Up and have scheduled two more through November. At this past event there were twenty members of the neighborhood and their friends with the full cooperation of Rec and Park gardener. And as somewhat of a bonus (as surprise to me) also present was the Rec and Parks volunteer coordinator, two custodial workers, two department supervisors, tools, plants, mulch for everyone's enjoyment. The best part of the deal was pruning of the palm trees and a much needed power washing of the paving and furniture. And all for making a few phone calls!
I volunteer here on Citizen Patrol and I also do a clown, Curly the Clown, for different nonprofit community events, like play days in the parks and things like that. *This review collected during the 7th Annual Western Addition National Night Out and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer
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
HVNPG was charged with encouraging the rebirth of a group of Hayes Valley Parks when the surrounding SFHA projects were slated for redevelopment. The group has transformed three parks nearest to Hayes Valley North and South housing developments to lovely spaces accessible to everyone in the case of Koshland Park and Page St. Park and provided private garden plots to serious greenthumbers in what was once an empty lot close to John Muir School. Young kids from the school have science classes conducted in the learning garden and older kids, the BEET Rangers, are provided H.S. credit and stipends to maintain a regular work schedule maintaining the garden landscaping.
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 got involved with the Koshland Garden and they try to keep up, cleaning up. Right now they;re trying to do a peace wall and open up the park. I help in the garden, tidy up and do the maintenance, and I like to get involved. They try so many different activities and different things. Barbara [of HVNPG] is a great person, doing whatever she can for the community. *This review collected during the 7th Annual Western Addition National Night Out and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer
The best way to hear out story is to see our Garden to Table project through our Modern Cooks program there is a link through our home page www.moderntea.com *This reviewer is collaborating with HVNPG to help the kids garden and make cook the things that they grow in the community gardens **This review was collected on a site visit and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer
The program is awesome, allows youth to give back to the community and learn about the environment, as well as nutrition (eating healthy, living gardens)