On Monday January 16, 2017 CommunityGrows joined the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Martin Luther King Jr with a presentation and workday in various sites in the Western Addition. Great volunteers joined us from all over the Bay Area, with an especially large contingent from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Volunteers met at the AAACC to sign in and enjoy a light breakfast. Then they were treated to a short presentation by John William Templeton, who spoke of the impact Dr. King had on the African American community in San Francisco. Mr. Templeton is well known for curating a brochure entitled The African American Freedom Trail, and authoring books such as Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco, and Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California. He is founder of ReUNION: Education Arts Heritage, an instructional video network designed to provide culturally responsive curriculum to schools globally. Templeton also operates SF Soul Shuttle tours which highlight the African American history and culture of San Francisco. After the presentation, volunteers divided into groups to work at three sites: Buchanan Mall, the AAACC, and Koshland Garden. They were able to clean a large parking lot adjacent to the AAACC, collecting trash and renewing the native plant garden along the periphery. In Buchanan Mall, a five-block greenway on Buchanan Street, volunteers were able to collect trash and spruce up the garden. A few blocks away at Koshland Garden, CommunityGrows staff Melissa Tang and Paul Bergkamp sent teams of volunteers with our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) to different areas of the garden to flip compost, lay wood chips, pick up trash, prune trees and vines, weed, mulch and harvest peas, broccoli and mustard greens. At lunch-time everyone met back at the AAACC to have a great lunch and receive thanks for the amazing work they did. Thank you everyone for a great day to uphold the values of giving back and volunteering for this important cause. A special thanks to Peter Merts for his beautiful photos! His photos can also be found on our CommunityGrows flickr photostream here.
On Monday, January 18, 2016 over 90 volunteers came out to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. This event was sponsored by the African American Arts and Culture Center (AAACC) and CommunityGrows. Volunteers began arriving at 8:30 AM on a morning reprieved from the wonderful rain we’ve been having in the Bay Area. After a light breakfast of bagels and coffee, Mohammed Soriano Bilal, Director of the AAACC directed everyone to the buildings Burial Clay Theatre to hear an inspirational talk by John William Templeton. Mr. Templeton curated a African American Freedom Trail brochure which leads visitors to the various historic landmarks, such as the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco founded in 1852, that illustrate the remarkable contributions of African-Americans to the city. He is also the author of “Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco,” “Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California” and other books. He is founder of ReUNION: Education Arts Heritage, an instructional video network designed to provide culturally responsive curriculum to schools globally. Templeton also operates SF Soul Shuttle tours which bring the African American history and culture of San Francisco, including where to dine, meet, shop and worship. He spoke about Martin Luther King coming to San Francisco and his importance for the African American community.
Then over 90 volunteers, many from the San Francisco Teacher Residency Program, Playworks, Lick-Wilmerding and University High School divided into three groups and traveled to three garden sites to work. A group from Lick-Wilmerding under the leadership of CommunityGrows staff Kelly Ernst-Friedman and Melissa Tang, worked in the garden and parking lot of the AAACC picking up trash and mulching and gleaning the native plants.
A large group from Playworks joined CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist, Crystal Jones, and BEET (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Jennifer Nazara to work in Koshland Garden.Another large group from University High School joined CommunityGrows staff Jay Jordan, Cha’Shay Woldridge and BEET Adrian Valencia to work at Rosa Parks Elementary School garden.
At the end of the workday morning, groups convened by at the AAACC for a delicious lunch and BBQ. So much good work was done to make these gardens and spaces shine. All the volunteers were awesome. Thank you so much to everyone for this very successful day!For MANY more photos check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.