Making connections

Spanish and English classes promote connection as well as communication within the community. Sometimes a class combines language practice with cooking lessons providing an opportunity for English and Spanish speakers to share conversation and healthy food.

Puente hosts a one-hour radio show Thursday afternoons on the local community-supported station, KPDO: This Week on the South Coast. With half an hour in English and half an hour in Spanish, Puente staff and guests spread the word on Puente’s programs and other activities and events on the South Coast.

Puente’s community outreach worker provides day-to-day connection to the region’s nearly 200 farm and nursery workers who live and work on isolated farms and ranches. Visits with farmers, ranchers, and other town employers also provide a chance to assess and address mutual community needs.

The Madres Project uses traditional holidays and lifecycle events (births, deaths, baptisms) as anchors for activities that reduce maternal depression in Latina women. The Proyecto Nacimientos/Nativity Project of December 2010, led by Pescadero artist Logan Paine, gathered children to create a nativity scene as part of the annual Las Posadas procession. Volunteers helped the children make figures, stars, and the setting for the crèche, while the men of the La Sala group formed aluminum wire armatures for the supporting cast of sheep, camels, donkeys, and other creatures.

La Sala, a twice weekly “living room” for farm and nursery workers, gives them a chance to get out of their barracks, grow a social life, relax over a hot meal, and network among themselves and with the more permanent residents of the Coastside.

Green jobs training, children’s programs at the Equine Rescue Center, and summer camp activities at Camp Jones Gulch and through Puente’s partnership with Pie Ranch, for example, underscore a connection with the rich natural resources of the South Coast.