SFPA Launched Partnership with RPD and Labors 261

Over the past 15 years Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC), now the San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA) has proudly partnered with the Recreation and Park Department (RPD) to foster community stewardship of local parks of all sizes. San Francisco’s park system boasts over 225 parks that are nestled into the many dense neighborhoods around the city. The engagement curriculum is a program that builds upon SFPA’s successful park volunteer engagement techniques as well as the horticulture expertise of RPD’s gardener apprentices in order to help revitalize seven parks in six of San Francisco’s eleven supervisor districts..

SFPA’s Volunteer Engagement Curriculum works in conjunction with the RPD Gardener Apprentice Program (GAP) and is a collaboration between SFPA, Laborers’ Local 261 and RPD Operation and Volunteer offices. SFPA is responsible for organizing community volunteers to work with apprentices who supervise workdays and use their gardening expertise to create park work plans. Through workdays and community events, volunteers work alongside newly recruited gardener apprentices to improve parks in need of additional maintenance and beautification.

The Gardener Apprentice Program, in conjunction with RPD and SFPA have picked park locations with strong volunteer stewardship at various stages of development. Some parks have a long history of dedicated park advocates, while others sites are developing their park groups and beginning to establish regular park workdays. By having an array of groups represented in the curriculum, the apprentices receive a comprehensive experience that includes working with park stewards, showcasing the positive effect of community stewardship and workforce development in our parks.

Proposed Program Goals

  • Provide regular care and activation of 7 parks throughout San Francisco
  • Supplement the limited resources of RPD by increasing the role of volunteers and ensure neighborhood commitment to the selected parks, which will in turn discourage park misuse such as graffiti and littering.
  • Give increased training to new RPD gardeners by giving them early and frequent exposure to volunteers.
  • Develop a strong community volunteerism curriculum for the apprentices that can be replicable and integrated with the GAP coursework.
  • Showcase the success of the GAP and generate positive publicity.

Next Steps

SFPA is kicking-off the program by hosting apprentice-led volunteer workdays at sites throughout November and December 2011, peak times where volunteers want to give back to their communities. For all workdays SFPA will partner with existing neighborhood groups, such

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as neighborhood associations and community-based organizations, to leverage existing groups of community-minded individuals. SFPA would then conduct further neighborhood outreach through our networks to identify additional volunteer support.

2011 Schedule

Date Site Supervisor/ District Flier / Join us!
Sat, November 19 | 9am – Noon Laurel Hill Playground Farrell | 2 | Laurel Heights Flier / Email
Sat, November 19 | 1pm – 4pm Franklin Square Park Kim | 6 | Potrero Hill Flier / Email
Sat, December 3 | 9am – Noon Crocker Amazon Avalos | 11 | Excelsior Flier / Email
Sat, December 3 | 1pm – 4pm Louis Sutter Roundhouse Cohen | 10 | Portola Flier / Email
Sat, December 10 | 9am – 3pm* Strawberry Hill, Golden Gate Park Mar | 1 | Golden Gate Park Flier / Email
Sat, December 17 | 9am – Noon Garfield Square Park Campos | 9 | Mission Flier / Email
Sat, December 17 | 1pm – 4pm Sgt. John MacCauley Playground Kim | 6 | Tenderloin Flier / Email

* Strawberry Hill will be an extended workday on December 10 from 9am – 3pm. We will be concluding work an hour earlier than other sites and will allow for an hour lunch from noon – 1pm.

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