BERKELEY -- Waterside Workshops at Aquatic Park is having a fundraiser Sunday for its programs that benefit troubled teenagers that includes boat rides, wooden toy-making for kids and food.
From noon to 6 p.m., the public is welcome at 84 Bolivar Drive where kids can assemble prefabricated wooden toys. Organizers are suggesting a $10 donation. Teen interns also have been busy making kitchen tools like cutting boards and cheese boxes that will be for sale.
For six years now, the organization has been teaching teenagers who have been in trouble with the law, or who are headed in that direction, how to build boats and bicycles and work in a cafe. This time of year they switch their skills to making the parts for toys that kids can put together during their holiday event.
Executive Director Amber Rich said the workshops are hoping to get enough donations to match a $10,000 challenge grant by the end of the year from the Miranda Lux Foundation.
Waterside works on a $200,000 a year budget, Rich said, which comes from a variety of sources and allows it to take in 30 teenagers a week to teach them something about using their hands, having responsibility and running a small business.
"The internship is run like a small business, so the first thing we do when the kids come in is give them responsibility," said Rich. "That's what makes us different. It's like they just got a job and they start working in that role."
Rich said a lot
"A lot of kids are very angry about their situation," Rich said. "They are very tired of the juvenile system. What I hear over and over again is that the social workers are just paid to care about them. That's how we are different. We're not social workers. We're running a small business that they become a part of."
For more information, check out www.watersideworkshops.org or call 510-644-2577.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.