BRIDGE has been working with Potrero Hill residents, members of the Community Building Group and existing community-based organizations on a variety of activities and projects. Though BRIDGE is not a service provider, two full-time Community Builders and a part-time Jobs and Life Skills Specialist are working with community leaders and organizations to increase their capacity to serve residents and increase resident involvement in existing programs. Community “Action Teams” are also providing a structure to implement community-initiated projects and, though these projects will grow and change over time, below are a few of the existing programs and projects already underway.
The Healthy Living Program was developed to increase awareness among residents about healthy living and to provide tangible opportunities for instituting healthier lifestyles through exercise, nutrition and exposure to nature. Below are brief description of the activities and initiatives that make up this program.
- A Walking Club that meets twice a week-every Monday and Thursday to walk a 30-minute loop in the housing development providing a visible example of healthy activities, exercise and fun.
- A Community Garden program offers residents the opportunity every Wednesday to visit a small onsite garden to harvest fruits and vegetables and barrel gardens allow residents to garden at their doorstep. A larger garden is in development and will offer education programs as well as job opportunities.
- A weekly ZUMBA class at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. Free Zumba classes are now being held at the NABE every Mondays from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm.
- A new initiative called the Healthy Generations Project is in the planning and fundraising stage. This exciting initiative aims to reduce health disparities by creating a sustainable community-based health program focused on protecting the developmental health of Potrero’s youngest kids.
Another important aspect of the community building work is linking residents to existing programs and services. Below are examples of this.
- The community building team has successfully linked 20 residents to the RAMP program that teaches young adults ages 18-24 job and life skills linked to long term employment opportunities.
- Over the past several years, over 15 residents recruited by the community building team have completed the HOPE SF Leadership Academy; a 10 week course that teaches residents about the real estate development process, community organizing and leadership skills.
- Working with Bank On San Francisco, the community building team ran a workshop series teaching financial empowerment to a group of 15 residents. Workshops were followed by one-on-one counseling sessions to help each individual establish a personal financial plan.
Other initiatives have included an Oral History project in partnership with the Potrero Hill Archives Project and BAYCAT culminating in a video on the history of Potrero Hill public housing (see below) and a Dream Box project encouraging all members of the community to write down their wishes and dreams for the community and place them in boxes located throughout the neighborhood. Hundreds of dreams have been collected so far and printed on vinyl banners that will be installed in the new development.