SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is proud to partner with Huckleberry Youth Programs (HYP) and San Francisco Travel to celebrate the 50 years of the HYP’s success in San Francisco. In honor of their commitment to San Francisco youth, the Department will be co-coordinating a volunteer day of service where about 100 volunteers will divide up to mulch, weed, clean, and prune gardens in the east end of Golden Gate Park. The Day of Service begins at 9:45AM and ends with a BBQ at McLaren Lodge. This is a great opportunity for the youth, neighbors and community advocates to gather and connect, as well as to give back to the neighborhood that supports HYP’s mission and services.
“Huckleberry Youth Programs, our neighbor near Golden Gate Park, supports the City’s efforts to enhance the lives of young people who face tremendously difficult social and economic challenges,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “We’re proud to partner with a group that has done so much for our City’s at-risk youth. We look forward to celebrating them for another 50 years.”
In 1967, the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco was the beating heart of the late ’60s counterculture movement, and young people from across the nation were converging on the City to participate in the cultural movement and newfound freedom. Many of those arriving in the City were runaway teens who had left their homes and families in other cities and states and then wandered the Haight without any social network, health services or financial support. With the backing from the Glide Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation, Huckleberry opened its first residential facility in a house at 1 Broderick Street. Over five decades, HYP has expanded their programs to serve 180,000 at-risk youth in the Bay Area.
“This is a very exciting year for Huckleberry Youth Programs as the agency celebrates fifty years of partnering with youth, families and the community to create opportunities and inspire change,” said Brooke Tao of HYP.
One participant of HYP said: “For me, Huckleberry is like a second home. They make you feel like you belong. They’re always there for you.”
Today, Huckleberry House offers 24-hour emergency shelter, crisis counseling, family mediation, and drug, alcohol and health services so teens can avoid a life on the streets or incarceration. The challenges that young people faced decades ago, continue today. Fifty years after opening Huckleberry House, the agency continues to provide a sense of hope and safety to youth and their families. In both San Francisco and Marin, Huckleberry Youth Programs provides confidential adolescent and family counseling, year-round health services and education, substance use/abuse counseling and support, support for trafficked youth, juvenile justice diversion, career training and college access programs that put kids on a brighter path.
Another participant of the Huckleberry Wellness Academy said: “Huckleberry is not just looking to help you now. They are looking to help you so that you’re better off for the future.”
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, we also celebrate the values that drove the movement and continue to motivate the people of San Francisco today – compassion, generosity and acceptance. Organizations like Huckleberry Youth Programs personify these values and keep them alive in our community. We are excited to participate in this volunteer day of service and congratulate Huckleberry Youth Services on their 50th anniversary,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel.