Come One Come All
A Message from General Manager Robert E. Doyle
September – October 2017
EBRPD’s mission is to preserve and protect open spaces and make parks accessible for all generations to enjoy. With the incredible diversity in how people use parks, coupled with the rich and growing cultural demographics found right here in the East Bay, we wondered “How could EBRPD play a greater role in connecting people across cultures through shared experiences in nature?” Enter the EBRPD Multicultural Wellness Walks.
On a recent Saturday morning, some 100 people gathered at Tilden Regional Park’s Jewel Lake and “threw their cares away.”
“What’s bothering you these days?” asked a park staffer, engaging the diverse communities EBRPD serves. “My credit cards!” said a middle-aged Latina mother. “My homework!” shouted a 7-year-old Korean boy.
The all-ages, multiethnic group then whooshed their hands in the direction of the lake, laughing and sighing with relief as their cares fell away.
This fun exercise was just one of many activities that took place during the Multicultural Wellness Walk, a regular outing organized by EBRPD to welcome and introduce people from all backgrounds to the parks.
While there are some language barriers and varied fitness levels, the walks are designed to transcend differences, with stops along the way to make bird calls, practice chi gong or dance Zumba and yes, laugh a lot via “laughter yoga” – all things that can be shared in a universal language. These interactions break down stereotypes and fears, helping build greater understanding and appreciation.
With the generous support of Kaiser Permanente and the Regional Parks Foundation, the Multicultural Wellness Walks are just one of many innovative ways that EBRPD builds bridges across diverse cultural, socio-economic and religious communities to create lasting connections between peoples and nature. However you choose to experience nature, we’re glad you do. See you on the trails.