Archive | December 2015

Hidden Garden Steps Wins Neighborhood Empowerment Network Award

The Hidden Garden Steps is among 14 projects in San Francisco to be honored with a NEN (Neighborhood Empowerment Network) Award in City Hall on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 starting at 6 pm. Reservations to attend this free event can be made at, and we’re hoping to see as many members of our community of support there as possible.

NEN_Logo“It’s been an amazing nomination process over the last few months and so many deserving people and organizations were submitted for consideration,” NEN representatives noted in their announcement this week.

“NEN awards is a partnership between the Neighborhood Empowerment Network and the Community Challenge Grant Program of the City and County of San Francisco to produce an annual celebration in honor of the individuals and organizations that take an active role in improving our neighborhoods,” the formal Awards Ceremony site shows.

“For many years, individuals and organizations have invested valuable time and energy to help improve the communities & neighborhoods of the City and County of San Francisco. The Neighborhood Empowerment Network and the Community Challenge Grant want to turn the spotlight onto these committed stakeholders by dedicating an evening celebration for their work. The NEN wards will be an evening reception that will elevate and celebrate the people who have made our neighborhoods better places to live. The awards will be given out by various City agencies. The evening will also include a presentation on the work of the recipients of last year’s Community Challenge Grants and an announcement of the recipients of this year’s grants.”

NEN_Logo[2]Award categories and winners include:

Best Community Green Project: The Euclid Gardens Expansion Project

Best Neighborhood Watch Group: 500-700 Block of San Bruno Neighborhood Watch Group

NERT Leadership Award: Sylvia Borgonovo

Most Empowering City Employee of the Year Award: Captain Joseph McFadden

Youth Neighborhood Leader Award: Joshua Cardenas

Best Graffiti Watch Volunteer Award: Kappa Sigma Fraternity Pi-Upsilon Chapter

Comeback Neighborhood of the Year: Cayuga Terrace

Best Merchant Association/CBD: Outer Mission Merchants and Residents Association


Section of Hidden Garden Steps After Recent Clean-up

Best Community Challenge Grant Project: Hidden Garden Steps

Outstanding Park Volunteer Group: Friends of North Beach/Joe DiMaggio Playground

NEN Lifetime Achievement Award: Joelle Kenealy

NEN Hall of Fame: Rosario Anaya

Best Community Building Event: Art Night SF

Invest in Neighborhood Project Grant: Bayview Opera House’s Winter Wonderland

For more information about the Hidden Garden Steps (located on 16th Avenue, between Kirkham and Lawton streets in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District), please visit our blog and website.

On Our Second Anniversary: Gratitude

The Hidden Garden Steps mosaic and gardens are (already!)  two years old—as of today—and the site continues to be as attractive and appealing as all of us hoped it would be, thanks largely to the ongoing contributions of volunteers and visitors from all over the world.


Detail from “gratitude” passion flower on the Steps

It’s a place where we celebrate community in a welcoming, tranquil, and well-respected setting—a place where neighbors and other members of our world-wide Steps community  meet, talk, exercise, and simply enjoy the benefits of the collaborations that continue to grow here in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District.

If you haven’t been onsite (on 16th Avenue, between Kirkham and Lawton streets) recently to see the 148-step ceramic-tiled mosaic designed and fabricated by project artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher, you’re in for a treat: recent tree-trimming completed by volunteers has made more of the mosaic visible from 16th Avenue between Judah and Kirkham streets, and the gardens (particularly at the bottom and top of the Steps) are beginning to flourish again thanks to recent rainfall after the long, dry summer and autumn months.

Our partners in the San Francisco Department of Public Works are also continuing to work on a long-term solution to a drainage problem at the foot of the Steps. Neighbors continue to donate succulents and drought-tolerant native California plants to expand the gardens. And our next monthly clean-up and planting is scheduled for Saturday, December 12, 2015 from 1 – 3 pm if rain doesn’t force cancellation of the event. As always, new and returning volunteers are welcome to join us; for more information, please contact Paul Signorelli (

N.B.: For additional reflections in the second anniversary of the completion of the Hidden Garden Steps mosaic, please visit the Building Creative Bridges blog.