The GreenHouse

The mission of The GreenHouse is to cultivate a thriving community by nurturing the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical development of youth and families and inspiring them to grow to their full potential.

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Address: PO Box 348138
Sacramento, CA 95834
County or Parish: Sacramento
Primary NTEE: Youth Development 
Sub NTEE: Youth Centers & Clubs 
Executive Director: Rena Crocker
Contact Email:
Primary Phone: 916-402-7978
The GreenHouse is an innovative community enrichment center located in the heart of a neighborhood with one of the highest concentrations of children living in poverty in Sacramento. A Sacramento Bee article on the 2000 Census showed that there are over 550 kids living in low-income housing on one-square block in the Gardenland/Northgate neighborhood of Sacramento; the highest number of youth per block in a six-county area. The GreenHouse staff and 30-40 weekly volunteers, including neighborhood parents, serve 70-80 youth weekly through several high-quality programs for elementary-aged children and teens, focused on academic enrichment and leadership development. The organization also serves more than 500 people per year through community-wide events; events that are planned and led by teams of GreenHouse youth and parents. Launched in 2001, The GreenHouse has been building partnerships with local schools, churches, businesses, media outlets, and elected officials for sixteen years in order to further our mission of helping youth in the community grow to their fullest potential.

Imagine growing up across the street from a park that is too dangerous to play in...or sharing a three-bedroom apartment with nine people...or not having books, school supplies, or a quiet place to do homework. The needs of this low-income neighborhood are obvious: generations of poverty, addiction, oppression, and crime have left families feeling hopeless and forgotten. Recent immigrant families move in with little education, limited family networks, and few opportunities for economic mobility. Drawn to serve this community, some volunteers from a local church began going to Niños Park on the weekends to play games and build relationships with kids and their parents. After hearing their stories and seeing their potential, these volunteers began to dream about a place that could represent health, hope, and renewal for this community. This dream became reality in July 2002 when The GreenHouse was born. The GreenHouse was formed to help unlock the inherent resources of this neighborhood and transform it from one that is merely surviving into one that is thriving. By providing families with opportunities for education, leadership development, social-emotional health, and spiritual growth, The GreenHouse is nurturing the seeds of renewal in this community.
We are currently seeking funding for all of our youth programs (after-school tutoring, mentoring, teen youth group, leadership development team, and summer day camp). We provide all of our youth programs free of charge to the low-income families that we serve in the neighborhood.

Funds provided to The GreenHouse through the Big Day of Giving help offset the costs of essential items like educational materials, program snacks, enrichment field trips, life skill building workshops, college readiness programs, ongoing insurance costs, staffing, and facility maintenance. All funding is directly in support of our high-quality youth programs. Join us as we celebrate The GreenHouse's 15 years of investment in community transformation!
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Unrestricted - 100% of funding donated through the Big Day of Giving goes directly to support our high-quality programs for under-resourced youth.
  2. Funding: Program - Program specific funding helps offset costs for our teen and elementary after-school and leadership development programs.
  3. Volunteers - We are always in need of committed volunteers for tutoring, leading workshops, or helping to mentor youth.
  4. Funding: Other - Sustainable funding is required to support the broader infrastructure that keeps The GreenHouse running - things like facility maintenance, liability costs, and administrative costs.
  5. Board Members - We are seeking board members who are committed to our mission and to this neighborhood.
Who were the adults who had the greatest positive impact in your life when you were growing up? Did they see gifts and abilities in you that you might not have seen in yourself? Did they advocate for you and open up their world of connections for you? Or was it just as simple as letting you know that you matter, that you are cared for, and that you have a purpose?

The youth of our neighborhood are susceptible to several risk factors, including: criminal activity, drug use, drug trafficking, gang affiliation, teen pregnancy, and apathy towards school. Some of the youth have already engaged in illegal activity and are on probation; some are teen moms or dads; some are failing their classes. Nearly all of the youth know someone who is in a gang and many of them know someone who is in jail. At The GreenHouse we come alongside families in this neighborhood with friendship and practical supports, to build a common vision with them for their children's long-term success, and for the transformation of their own community. Not only do our staff invest in the lives of the 70-80 youth we serve weekly; we are also a portal to 40 weekly volunteers from local colleges, churches, high schools, and businesses who help tutor, lead workshops, and form caring, mentoring relationships with neighborhood youth.

All of this takes place in The GreenHouse's facility, located in the heart of the apartments that we serve. Being located "on the block" provides a sense of shared life - of being friends and neighbors- which enables us to build trust and walk with families at a deep level. When children get off the bus from school, we're here. When families experience stress, trauma or conflict, we have the relational ties to support them. When kids experience conflict with siblings or friends, we know all the players involved. When dangers flare up in the neighborhood environment - crime, drug-dealing, trash dumping, violence - we see it. Being located in the heart of the neighborhood positions The GreenHouse to provide a unique level of in-depth, holistic partnership and support over the span of years.

This whole-life approach is at the heart of The GreenHouse model. In partnership with families, local schools, churches, businesses, elected officials, and volunteers from many walks of life, we seek to help this community's young people grow to their fullest potential, breaking the cycles of poverty in this community.

Rena Crocker, Executive Director