by Adriana Fernandez Arriaga
In the fall of 2021, the San Mateo County Parks Foundation created a new small grants program called Enhancing Equitable Access. The goal is to fund and support organizations that increase opportunities for people of color and low-income youth and their families to enjoy the many benefits of being in parks.
Now in our second year of funding, we are pleased to announce that five organizations have been awarded grants up to $4,000 each. Read on to learn more about these outstanding organizations that are expanding access to our parks, trails and coastal areas for those who face barriers, such as a lack of transportation or a lack of awareness about the parks themselves.
Redwood City Together
Mission: To advance the success of youth and families in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks through community collaboration.
Redwood City Together and its partners collaborate to improve wellness, education and equity for the Redwood City and North Fair Oaks communities. They do this in a variety of ways including through their fairly new Promotores Program, which engages youth and adults in the community to be trusted messengers and share vital information and resources with their neighbors. Pictured here, Redwood City Together’s Executive Director Rafael Avendaño is with the Promotores team distributing food at the local Fair Oaks Community Center. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation’s funding will support the Promotores outreach of San Mateo County Parks, including upcoming events, opportunities for field trips and lessons about nature.
Learn more about Redwood City Together
Puente de la Costa Sur
Mission: to foster wellness and prosperity in the San Mateo County South Coast communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio by promoting and advocating for equitable access to education, health resources and economic security.
Puente de la Costa Sur was founded in 1998 by Reverend Wendy Taylor to meet the needs of local farm workers through a lens of radical hospitality. Since then Puente has launched many programs including their most recent 60+ Wellness Program for the older adult community. They assist the 60 and greater community with grocery runs and regular field trips to parks like Sam McDonald County Park which helps this community connect with others and stay active. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation’s funding will support Puente’s field trips to San Mateo County Parks.
Learn more about Puente de la Costa Sur
Brown Girl Surf
Mission: to build a more diverse, environmentally reverent, and joyful women’s, girl’s and gender expansive surf culture by increasing access to surfing, cultivating community, amplifying the voices of surfers of color and taking care of the earth.
Brown Girl Surf was founded in 2011 by award-winning social entrepreneur, Farhana Huq to share stories of pioneering women surfers from around the world, to inspire women of color in surfing and to build community through social media and storytelling. Since then, Brown Girl Surf has been creating access to surfing and the ocean along our San Mateo County coastline. They do this by holding surf clinics, amplifying the voices of women of color through culture creation and cultivating a sense of interconnectedness and care for the earth. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation’s funding will support Brown Girl Surf’s field trips to and summer camp at Mirada Surf.
Learn more about Brown Girl Surf
Siena Youth Center
Mission: to provide a safe, educational, and positive space that promotes wholesome and happy living for the youth and families of the North Fair Oaks community.
Siena Youth Center is a cherished after-school program, summer camp, and community center of the St. Francis Center serving nearly 1,000 community members. They provide mentorship programs and tools to empower youth to use their voices to make positive changes in their community. For example, their advocacy led to the inclusion of a pump track in the Reimagine Flood Park Landscape Plan. They also take youth on mountain biking and camping trips and have hosted a bike rodeo at Flood Park for many years. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation’s funding will support Siena Youth Center’s field and camping trips to San Mateo County Parks.
Learn more about Siena Youth Center
Girls to Women
Mission: to support girls as they design their futures for successful womanhood.
Girls to Women opened its doors in 2007, responding to East Palo Alto parents’ calls for a locally-oriented program for their daughters. They offer a broad-spectrum multicultural program that includes the arts, fitness and health, nature, gardening and outdoors, STEM, academic support, multiculturalism and leadership development. Their monthly ‘Family Outings’ activity program provides weekly trips to local parks like Huddart Park during the school year and a summer session for 35 girls. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation’s funding will support Girls to Women field trips to San Mateo County Parks.
Learn more about Girls to Women