Building Healthy Neighborhoods for Children to Play, Grow, and Thrive
In one of the Bay Area’s toughest inner-city neighborhoods, Richmond’s Iron Triangle, we are transforming two little-used city parks (Elm Playlot and Harbour-8 Park) into safe and vibrant places for children to play.
We have a team of 10 local residents – who plan, design, build (and now manage!) these two parks themselves.
We aim to use the transformation of Elm Playlot and Harbour-8 Park as a vehicle to improve the health of 5,000 of at-risk children living in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood.
A new model for community transformation
Pogo Park is about much more than playgrounds. Our unique approach combines two distinct but interrelated strategies: child development and community development.
Parents of every race, ethnicity, and economic condition share one trait: hope for their children’s future. But the people of the Iron Triangle, like residents of underserved inner-city neighborhoods all over the U.S., have seen a progression of failed efforts to solve the chronic problems of poverty, ineffective schools, and unsafe streets that imperil their children’s healthy development.
Great parks and playgrounds give children and youth profound health benefits. Rich, active outdoor play is the mother’s milk of healthy development. Research shows that such play improves physical and psychological health while boosting language skills, social skills, empathy, creativity, and imagination. Children who play are less aggressive, show more self-control and higher levels of thinking and have fewer attention disorders than nonplayers. Active outdoor play is a highly effective way to prevent and reverse childhood obesity.
Pogo Park makes our playgrounds safe and welcoming by staffing them with playworkers, or park stewards. These trained adults watch over the space and create enriched play environments that spark children’s imagination and initiative.
Our model for transforming parks also functions as a mini-stimulus plan in the Iron Triangle, where residents suffer from the devastating effects of poverty and unemployment. In the last three years, Pogo Park has directed more than $1,000,000 in back into the neighborhood in contracts with local Iron Triangle businesses and in wages to hire and train local residents.
Pogo Park’s impact is visible in the lives of the local residents we have hired, the parks that are being restored, and in the electrifying effect of this community development model on the entire neighborhood.
Giving Tuesday was created to unite us all in a day of generosity, to make a difference in the world at the start of this busy holiday season.
Please consider supporting the Richmond Art Center on Tuesday, November 28th. For the past 81 years, the Art Center has been the home for people of all ages to explore hands-on creative practices and participate in the rich arts community of the East Bay.
A gift of donation will help the Art Center provide:
- Free enriched art experiences for over 1,800 underserved students participating in our Art in the Community program at schools and community centers throughout Richmond.
- Free admission to attend our regionally acclaimed art exhibitions.
- Free admission to our family day events, talks, and performances held throughout the year.
- Scholarships for youth and adults who could not afford but wish to participate in our robust Studio Art program.
Thank you so much for all you do to support Richmond Art Center.
About Anna’s work: “Pickypockets Press makes hardbound books, letterpress printed goods, and more. I make hardbound books, notebooks, stationery, ephemera are all produced by hand (with the help of some very heavy machinery).”
Anna is an Oakland teaching artist, bookbinder / printer for hire, child whisperer, and mother of three teenagers.
Find Anna on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
A reception to celebrate Ed Lay’s life will take place on Saturday, November 18th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Richmond Art Center. Please join us for a reception in the Art Center’s main gallery, with the RAC community and students, friends from ACCI Gallery, and Ed’s family and friends.
Ed was our Head Metals Studio Instructor, and he passed away on November 1. Ed taught Metals at the Art Center for the past 8 years, and prior to teaching with us, was a student for 17 years. Ed was the heart and soul of the Metals program. An humble person, patient and thoughtful instructor, Ed drew the best from each of his dedicated students, many of whom studied under him for several years.
If you have images of Ed to share during the event for a special slideshow, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, November 15.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Ed’s family and our community of students for whom Ed was a treasured friend and mentor.
About Annie’s work: “I make linocut prints of handwritten text and hand drawn images. Most of my prints are pulled by hand at home, and a few are letterpress printed on a Vandercook cylinder press. I focus on simple images or short phrases.”
Annie is a printmaker and an elementary school teacher. She loves making stuff with her hands and trying to draw things while failing a bunch of times before getting it kind of right. She’s into California history and casual geology.
Find Annie on Etsy and Instagram.
About Vera’s work: “I design and weave polished, high quality textiles for wearing and for the home. I take inspiration from the colors of nature and the man-made environment, and translate those ideas to beautiful, durable, useful objects made from natural fibers. I am dedicated to the value of skillfully handcrafted, unique things and to helping everyone discover the beauty of slow cloth.”
Vera, founder and lead artist of The Fono, is a textile artist who weaves, spins, dyes, and felts. Her passion is to share the life-altering magic of discovering new materials and figuring out how they can make unexpected things. In her free time she helps with projects of the youngest artists and inventors.
Find Vera on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About Theo’s work: “I specialize in making furniture that will last. Utilizing techniques developed by the Japanese thousands of years ago, I build furniture that is held with an intricate system of wood joinery. This type of joinery is stronger than any joint made with glue or nails and will last many lifetimes.”
Originally from Queens, NY, Theo moved to Oakland in 2010 to join the incredible music scene here. On a whim, he decided to pursue an old childhood dream of being a woodworker and enrolled in some woodworking classes at Laney. Now he’s building custom furniture for people.