With no summer school options in the Iron Triangle and few programs available for thousands of local children, the nonprofit Pogo Park is asking community members to donate to the free summer play programs offered at two recently-built local parks.
Pogo Park’s staff of local residents designed, built and run the Harbour 8 and Elm Playlot parks as part of their mission to transform rarely-used open spaces into vibrant play spaces.
Elm Playlot, located at at 720 Elm Ave., opened for free summer play for the first time last year and was such a hit that its hours were extended.
Harbour-8 Park, located between Harbour Way and 8th Street (along the Richmond Greenway between Chanselor and Ohio avenues), just opened in November and is also poised to offer summer programs.
The parks offer kids a safe place to play in a positive, educational atmosphere, said Toody Maher, Pogo Park’s executive director.
“Parents lament the fact that their kids — some of the most vulnerable in the Bay Area — have ‘nowhere to go, nothing to do,'” Maher said.
The Summer Play program is available to any child. Last year, the program became an official distribution site for the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s summer lunch program, providing 12,000 free meals to hungry children. The free meals program will continue this summer at Elm Playlot and Harbour-8, Maher said.
Youth will also have access to a number of fun, educational programs such as arts and crafts, imaginative/creative play, construction, storytelling, youth development and basketball, volleyball and tetherball.
To ensure these programs can continue, Pogo Park is seeking donations of any amount. You can donate here.
“All donations to this campaign will go 100-percent to funding 2015 Summer Play,” Maher said.