ENCINITAS — In February, San Diego Botanic Garden launched Access Afternoons, a community outreach project that welcomes new audiences to the Garden through funding the Garden was awarded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
IMLS has made American Rescue Plan Act grants to support the role of museums, libraries, and collections-based institutions to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
SDBG is facilitating San Diego’s relief and recovery effort by providing free, regularly-scheduled Garden visits to populations who have suffered during the pandemic from isolation, resource scarcity, or economic hardship.
SDBG is implementing the project in partnership with five San Diego County social services agencies that include Alzheimer’s San Diego, Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito, the city of Encinitas, Community Resource Center, and United Service Organizations.
“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”
Under Access Afternoons, SDBG offers free visits and interactive, experiential programming for racially and culturally diverse communities, students in free after-school care, homeless and economically disadvantaged families, and seniors who need companionship and/or may be suffering from Alzheimer’s and other age-related illnesses.
Working with its partners, SDBG customizes each visit to meet the needs and interests of the audience through activities including interactive tours of the 37-acre garden and hands-on workshops about gardening and the arts.
“Access Afternoons enlightens, delights, and offers respite to those who visit,” said SDBG Senior Director for Visitor Services, Education and Membership, Tomoko Kuta. “Our Garden is already recognized as a beautiful green space where visitors relax and enjoy nature. Under this project, we are honored to serve as a trusted community resource where people come together to overcome the negative effects of the pandemic through our programming.”
“Alzheimer’s San Diego clients and their care partners are enjoying safe outdoor activities at the Garden, which has been a relief from all of the restrictions that they’ve been living with due to COVID-19,” said Adrianna McCollum, director of Social Programs and Volunteers at Alzheimer’s San Diego. “We love seeing how participants are enjoying their time together at the Garden with new SDBG staff and volunteer friends. The planned activities are providing multi-sensory experiences that are recalling many fond memories.”
IMLS supports approximately 50% of San Diego Botanic Garden’s project costs through an award of $39,650. The remaining 50% of the project is funded by non-governmental sources including admissions and membership revenue. The project runs through October 2022.