As we approach the final planning stages for the Summit here at Hidden Villa we are delighted to count you among our friends and give you an update on what some of what your contributions are making possible.
We will be hosting 24 teens from the REAL (Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership) program of the Redwood High School in Redwood City, CA for a 3 day and 3 night residential conference at our site here at Hidden Villa. These students are high risk youth who have come from very challenging backgrounds, and who are courageously and determinedly fighting to turn their lives around.
The core of the conference are intense interactive workshops on issues which confront the youth daily in their lives. These include deep work and healing on gender and racial bias and discrimination, privilege and oppression, sexual identity and cultural diversity and pride. The students participate in activities to learn to communicate clearly, to have a voice, to understand empowerment and to be activists in their communities. The underlying theme for all of this work is a sense of physical and emotional safety, respect for self and others and building team and community while here.
It is not all seriousness, however! The youth are provided plenty of opportunity for playing, resting, cow milking, chicken cradling, and roaming the farm and wilderness trails. Lots of community music and singing, storytelling, laughing and campfires fill the evenings along with a closing night of celebration of each other.
We are humbled and gratified to see some of the changes that result from these teens’ interaction with Hidden Villa. Such life changes include a number who are now enrolled in college (the first in their families) who were planning to stop attending and not even finish high school. Some have left gangs and the juvenile justice system and are doing well in school again. Several have been recipients of community teen leadership awards for outstanding activism on a social issue. Some have even become employees here at Hidden Villa!
We are grateful for the over 100 individuals who gave to support this program and its participants. These are talented, bright, and enthusiastic youth with great leadership potential who have much to offer themselves, their schools, families and our communities. Thank you for making it possible for them to take this one more large step toward realizing that dream for all of us!
Youth Development Programs Manager/Horticulturist Hidden Villa 22870 Moody Road Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
P.S. Stay tuned for highlights of the program upon its completion!