May 31, 2017
CommunityGrows Is in the Neighborhood…

… and it needs our help! San Francisco Zen Center is delighted to highlight the work of CommunityGrows, founded and spearheaded by long-time Zen Center alum Barbara Wenger, and she is now asking for the sangha’s help.

Peace Wall tiles

After living at City Center and Tassajara and being in the sangha since 1973, Barbara was inspired as a shuso in 1994 to socially engage with the community outside the Page Street doors. Her Zen Center training as tenzo, board member, disability committee advocate, and Coming of Age program pioneer culminated with this opportunity.

For 23 years she has been the Executive Director (ED) of CommunityGrows, working in the neighborhood surrounding SF Zen Center and beyond, and is hoping to retire this October. One of her most important jobs as ED is to find allies and financial supporters for the work that CommunityGrows does. It is especially important during this transitional time. With this effort in mind, she created an appeal and story of the early days of Zen Center in its development of Koshland Park and how this activism has carried forward in the community and throughout San Francisco.

We are sharing this story on sangha-e to help Barbara raise funds to continue the good work of CommunityGrows. Please enjoy this story and appeal letter and consider a financial donation.

The mission of CommunityGrows is to cultivate healthy youth by growing gardens in low-income communities.

With the revitalization of three parks (including Koshland Park, Garden, and Peace Wall), CommunityGrows has created programs throughout the city that serve over 1,300 under-served youth in environmental education, nutrition, and healthy eating, and a work-based youth development program for teens 15-19 years old. To volunteer or learn more about CommunityGrows, please visit their website.

—Barbara lives with her husband Dairyu Michael Wenger, priest-in-residence, at their San Francisco Dragons Leap Temple home.