In response to the extended isolation inflicted on residents throughout the pandemic, Marin County officers are utilizing a $100,000 grant fund to assist psychological well being via out of doors recreation.
The county’s Breathe/Respira neighborhood grant program, which was established in 2014 to make park entry extra equitable, is making awards of as much as $8,000 obtainable to neighborhood organizations to carry their applications into county parks.
This system was initially designed to beat such obstacles as the price of accessible transportation. Whereas that’s nonetheless the case, Max Korten, the county parks director, stated, “we all know that this 12 months has been actually difficult.”
“The shutdown left everybody feeling remoted and other people’s psychological well being suffered,” Korten stated. “We figured that the parks are a spot the place folks can get out and join in a secure open house.”
The parks division teamed with Dr. Jei Africa, the director of Marin County Behavioral Well being and Restoration Companies, to determine residents who may benefit from this assist.
“Research and anecdotal data point out kids to seniors, particularly from communities of shade or those that have been taking part in emergency response roles, are combating elevated stress, melancholy and substance use,” Africa stated. “Parks and out of doors exercise have been proven to have a optimistic impression on psychological well being. Via this partnership, we are able to present instruments and assets that complement optimistic advantages of going outside and assist with restoration from the pandemic in addition to construct resilience in preparation for future disasters.”
Lots of the grantees in 2020 needed to delay their applications or pivot to on-line applications as a result of pandemic.
Gregory Katzan, director of the Marin Metropolis Group Companies Corp. Empowerment Membership, a psychological well being restoration group, stated it slowly has been capable of set up journeys to parks. Go to websites to this point embody Paradise Park, McNears Seashore and Stafford Lake.
“At the moment, it’s a lot extra very important than we might have ever imagined,” Katzan stated.
For a lot of membership members, the park excursions have been their first foray again to social life for the reason that COVID-19 disaster struck final 12 months, he stated.
“It’s actually vital to get folks out of their properties and again into the behavior of in-person socializing,” he stated. “Getting outside with associates is mentally therapeutic, enjoyable, and to take action in these lovely settings is therapeutic in each sense of the phrase.”
Age-Pleasant Sausalito has additionally acquired a 2020 grant. The group plans to make use of the funding to host a senior honest at a park to showcase facilities reminiscent of strolling trails that may very well be interesting to its members, stated Sybil Boutilier, chair of the group.
Boutilier stated the funding can be getting used to subsidize tai chi courses that target fall prevention and arthritis restoration for older adults. Group picnics to the park are additionally within the works.
Thus far, Boutilier has organized a docent-led journey to Ring Mountain, the place members realized concerning the grasses and flowers within the park.
“Folks have been simply thrilled,” she stated. “Being in nature the place you might be simply allowed to loosen up in a brand new approach, it expands your view and sense of being an individual on the planet.”
The grant fund is supported by Measure A, the parks tax accredited in 2012. Purposes are due by June 17. Extra data is at bit.ly/3c3CwWz.