Outreach: Community Service

SF International High School at Dogpatch Boulders

The SF International High School paid Dogpatch Boulders a visit twice last month. Originally they had only planned to visit once, but they had so much fun on their first visit they asked to come back - and how could we say no!? These students are from all over the world and for the majority of them, English is their second language. 


Dogpatch staff member Noah worked with the students both times. "It was a blast," said Noah. "The great thing about teaching kids about climbing is that even if they don't understand your words, it's easy to demonstrate and get them out of their shell with movement." He took the time to show the students around the gym, along with some basic climbing movement and strategy. 


"The students were a blast on and off the climbing walls," said Dogpatch Manager Justin Alarcon. "Several of the students used the visit to practice their English by interviewing a few of us on staff for a school project."

The San Francisco International School has a program we are thrilled to be able to support. Students from all cultural, ethnic, and language backgrounds attend SFIHS. There are no entrance exams and there is no tuition or students; any student who has attended school in the United States for four years or less is welcome to enroll. It is programs like this that make San Francisco unique and make our neighborhood one of the best in the area!


June Jordan School for Equity at Dogpatch Boulders

Last month, students from June Jordan School for Equity (JJSE) made their first visit to Dogpatch Boulders.

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JJSE’s Intersession is comprised of three weeks of experiential learning courses where students learn by doing and actively engage in a variety of real-world experiences that challenge them physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Conducted outside of the four walls of the traditional classroom, these intensive courses create an opportunity for students to interact with adults and community members in new ways as they become immersed in unfamiliar environments, attempt new activities, or pursue longstanding passions in a more in-depth way all over the Bay Area. And what better place to do all that than a climbing gym!

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José Gutiérrez, a long time Touchstone Climbing member, brought his students into the gym to give them a glimpse into the wonderful world of climbing. We love being able to host the students during their Intersession. Climbing can be such a transformational activity, and we hope the kids had as much fun climbing as we had showing them the ropes!

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Mission High at Mission Cliffs

Tol Lau is a Math Teacher at Mission High School. He also teaches an advisory period, where he spends most of the time helping kids draft their college resumes. He decided to try something a little different.... Climbing!

Many of you have seen the big white building across the street from Dolores Park, but few SF residents know what goes on inside. Originally built in 1897, Mission High School was San Francisco’s first comprehensive high school. Now in the 21st century, Mission serves a diverse population, many of them immigrants to the United States. 40-50% of the students are classified as English Language Learners.


At the end of March, Mission Cliffs donated their time to host some of those students from Mission High School. These 11th grade grade students immigrated to the U.S. in search for more opportunities for their families and future. They came from countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, Mongolia, China, Mexico, and the Philippines.


At Mission Cliffs, they got a chance to take a break from the endless hours of studying, writing personal statements for college and got to challenge themselves in a different ways by rock climbing! Students learned how to put on harnesses, double back and tie their figure eights.


Some were terrified of heights, many had some pumped arms, but all had a great time in the end. “These kids are super hardworking and I’m excited about what colleges they’ll be getting into next year. But getting a chance to learn how to rock climb for the first time shows a whole different side of them. I usually get to see what they’re like as students, but it’s interesting to see what they are like as people outside of the classroom. Rock climbing is a really unique experience that they will remember for years," said Lau.  


'Science ROCKS' goes Rock Climbing

We are always excited to hear back form teachers and leaders who bring kids from our community into the gym to CLIMB! We received this nice write up from Katie. Thanks for coming! We had a blast showing the Science ROCKS kids the ropes!

Science Rocks trip feb2014

Each semester I select a group of students to be the Science ROCKS All Stars in my middle school science classes. These students earn their title based on effort and improvement over the course of the academic semester. The prize? A climbing trip to Berkeley Ironworks!

We walked over after school on a recent Friday, and the Berkeley Ironworks staff was there to help my kids get everything they needed to be ready for climbing. Each one pushed beyond the limits of what they believed they could do, and they had a great time! I am so grateful to Berkeley Ironworks for making these Science ROCKS field trips possible for my students-- who would otherwise not have the financial resources to go rock climbing. Thanks everyone!

~Katie Kelly-Hankin- 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher

Fitness Wednesdays at Pipeworks

Sacramento Pipeworks has been working with an organization called the Women’s Empowerment for years. During an eight-week program, an instructor walks a group of ladies to Pipeworks once a week to participate in one hour of fitness. By attending Fitness Wednesdays, the ladies get to spend that one hour of their day focusing on self-care. The mission of Women’s Empowerment is to educate and empower women who are homeless with the skills and confidence necessary to get a job, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children. The partnership with Pipeworks is crucial to the fulfillment of that mission.

As of today’s date, 1115 women have graduated from the Women's Empowerment program. One of these graduates is named Sharon McGuire. Here is her testament about what she accomplished during her time at Pipeworks:

I joined Fitness Wednesdays at Pipeworks because it was an opportunity for me to focus on myself and to be healthier. I wanted to get back into a consistent schedule because that’s what being back in the workforce is like.
When I first entered the building, the front desk staff members were so friendly. They greeted us and gave us assistance in filling out first-time waivers. During our workout sessions, I often used the treadmill. While I spent most of the hour on this machine, I reflected a lot because it reminded me to keep my goals in perspective. I had so much fun during this time and felt extremely rejuvenated after I finished my workout.
I truly needed this program because it’s part of my recovery process. The process encourages us to make time for ourselves and Fitness Wednesdays allowed me to do that. I highly recommend Pipeworks!”

Sharon continues to strive towards her main three goals: to keep her recovery, secure permanent housing, and to see her daughter graduate from high school and enter college. Pipeworks makes it possible for her to continue on our journey towards a positive and healthier lifestyle. We're so glad to be a part of such a valuble program within our community! 

Sharon McGuire Fitness 2014



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