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AV Skate Park Momentum Builds

The Anderson Valley Skate Park project is moving forward undaunted even though they did not get the coveted CalTrans grant they were seeking. Anderson Valley High School was awarded $4.5 million from that grant so the community won even if the Skate Park didn’t. 

However, when a door closes sometimes a window opens and that is exactly what happened to the Skate Park Project.  The Student Service Learning Team with the able assistance of their chief mentor Noor Dawood had reached out to our legislators in Sacramento for a letter of support for their CalTrans grant application. Our Second Assembly District (North coast: Santa Rosa to the Oregon border) rep Jim Wood and our State Senator Mike McGuire agreed to host the team during a visit to the State Capitol and helped them to organize a capital tour including the chance to attend committee hearings. Students were surprised by the warm reception they received and how the legislators took the time to listen carefully to their request and to help them understand the legislative process. Noor let the students do all the talking and apparently they were quite persuasive. It is relatively rare for legislators to hear from young people so when they do get the chance they really perk up. 

Some time later Noor got a phone call from Jim Wood’s aide Ruth Valenzuela to inform the group that Wood and McGuire were submitting a special general fund budget request for $250,000 for the Anderson Valley Skate Park in recognition of the need for recreational opportunities for youth in Anderson Valley. This money was unexpected and had not been requested during the Sacramento visit. 

At this point it was a request, not a done deal but despite a few bumps in the road the money ultimately came through bringing the total assets of the project up to $320,000. This number is significant because it indicates the seriousness of intent and the ability to gain support demonstrated by the project. 

It is worth mentioning that Noor has a background in policy advocacy working for the Prison Law Office as a litigation assistant. Working with her mentor lawyer Keith Wattley, she had a chance to interview prisoners about their rights and she learned how to write and advocate for a cause. She understood personally that “your voice can be heard” and she has transmitted that confidence to her students. These skills will continue to be helpful as fundraising proceeds. 

On the fundraising front the Service Learning Team is open for business doing screen-printing. They are currently working on T-shirts with Zane Colfax, a second-generation organizer of the upcoming Boontling Classic Run. If you need screen-printing services you can contact the team at: The team will have a table with merchandise, baked goods and information about their project at the upcoming Wildflower Show at the BV Fairgrounds April 27th and 28th. 

Next the team will meet with communities that have built their own Skate Parks to learn from their successes. A recent trip to St. Helena found the team meeting with their City Parks and Recreation group who raised most of their funds through private donations. Following the meeting their hosts took them to Gott’s (formerly and famously known as Taylor’s Refresher) where a super tasty lunch was shared. After lunch they went to the St. Helena Skate Park to skate. Another trip is scheduled and they may go to Willits to find out how a Mendocino County town “got it done.” The school van holds ten kids so the trips are easier to arrange than they might otherwise be.

A big part of what comes next is identifying needs and determining what matters most to our community about having a Skate Park. Informational interviews are being lined up to learn from local shakers and movers about the best approaches for fundraising. If you have any tips or leads or want to make a personal donation towards the building of the AV Skate Park you can contact them through the email address above. 

Our youth are our future and the Service Learning team is working hard to make their dream of a Skate Park in Anderson Valley come true. Any help you can give them would be more than appreciated. When the park is built and being enjoyed anyone who helped make it happen will have the very real satisfaction of knowing they were a part of something truly positive with lasting value for kids, their families and the community.

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