CDS and Neighboring Boys & Girls Club Partner to Launch Farm & Garden Club for Students
The partnership between CDS and our neighbors at the Columbia Park Boys & Girls Club goes back many years. Since the early 2000s, the site on Guerrero Street, just a stone’s throw away from the sunny yard at our main campus, has provided outdoor and gymnasium space for our P.E. classes and athletics teams.
CDS students walk to the Boys & Girls Club for P.E. class five days each week, our sports teams play their home games there, and on the occasions when we have a rainy Friday morning our weekly assembly is held inside the club’s gym.
Earlier this year, CDS Farm & Garden teacher Xochi Batlle saw an opportunity. “We use the Boys & Girls Club space so much that I really wanted to find a way to give back to that community,” Xochi told us. For the last few months, she has been teaching an after-school program for members of the Boys & Girls Club in our farm and garden space. About 15 students come each week to take part in a variety of activities, including cooking, planting seeds, feeding our chickens and sheep, and exploring the garden to look for different types of bugs. In recent weeks, the program has also been open to CDS students, who have enthusiastically joined in.
The partnership has been so successful that Xochi already has an eye on expanding it to include more students. “The current classes are designed for elementary schoolers,” she says, “and we are talking with the Boys & Girls Club to build a program for their middle school-aged students.” Possible activities include cooking and nutrition, environmental education, hiking in San Francisco’s parks, and garden design. Also, the Club is interested in building a garden which is crafted by their own students.
The Farm & Garden is one of the most beautiful and educationally rewarding spaces on the CDS campus, and we are excited about the possibility of sharing it more with the broader community.