Nature in the Neighborhood
We partner with National Park Service, and East Bay Regional Parks as well as YES! Nature in the Neighborhood to bring kids from the Iron Triangle into direct contact with nature. Our nature program allows children to use their hands to dig in the soil, collect insect specimens, identify birds through binoculars rather than sitting passively and listening to a lesson.
Our goal is to make Pogo Park’s .5 acre Elm Playlot a postage stamp of Eden, one of the only places in Richmond’s Iron Triangle where youth can safely experience the natural world. From the newly built water feature that mimics a mountain stream; to the birch tree forest that provides habitat for migrating birds; to the community garden, where youth grow vegetables to take home –everything here is intended to lift up nature.
It is our intention to help children fulfill the human tendency to seek connection with nature. As conservationist E.O. Wilson described in Biophilia, “humans are hardwired to need connection with nature.”
Healthy Eating/Active Living
The goal of the Healthy Eating Active Living program is to provide a safe, green, and vibrant public space that encourages 15,000 residents of Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood to eat healthy foods and be physically active..
Pogo Park distributes more than 9,000 free lunches to children in the summer as an official distributor of the Contra Costa County free school program. We are in the process of implementing the systems to establish Pogo Park’s Elm Playlot as a distribution|access point for healthy food to serve to thousands of disadvantaged children and their families living within walking distance of Elm Playlot.
We hire local art teachers to provide free art classes from 3pm to 5pm Tuesday-Friday to children and their caretakers. This multi-age class is a HUGE hit.
STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math
Pogo Park emphasizes enriched programming at Elm Playlot that helps teach the critical skills needed in today’s world: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.
During the school months, Pogo Park offers free homework help in a safe environment after school.
Chess Master TC Ball (aka “The Black Knight”) sets up an area to play chess and instructs children and adults on strategies and skills for playing chess.
Eco-Village Farm and Learning Center bring their mobile petting zoo to the park for children to play and care for a variety of farm animals including rabbits, chickens, pigs, and goats.
Pogo Park hires youth, ages 14-18, to work in the summer as a Pogo Park All-Star, a youth development and leadership training program. Pogo Park All-Stars are assigned to work in different trades related to the park, and learn real world skills, such as assisting with daily operations at the park, helping design research projects or building park products in our social enterprise.
Golden Temple Fund
Pogo Park has a fund for residents of the Iron Triangle. Our Golden Temple fund is based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect toward others.