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About

OUR MISSION: Waterside Workshops engages youth and the community through hands-on learning in bicycle mechanics, wooden boatbuilding, and outdoor education. Waterside is a safe place for youth to feel heard, gain confidence, develop work skills, and access the tools and resources needed to lead healthy, sustainable lives.

Our Story

In 2007, a group of artisans, tradespeople, mechanics, teachers, and environmentalists came together to form Waterside Workshops. Our founding staff and board members are from a variety of backgrounds whose lives have all been greatly influenced by their exposure to handcrafts and skills. Independently, each of these individuals watched woodshop, metalshop, and other vocational programs disappear from the public school system. We saw a need to offer youth a non-traditional educational space to learn and practice core educational skills including math, reading comprehension, verbal, and written skills along with job-training and employment experience.

Over the first few years of operation, we transformed neglected City-owned buildings at 82 and 84 Bolivar Drive into active workspaces that offered programming in bike mechanics and wooden boatbuilding to neighborhood youth and community members.

In 2008, in partnership with our neighbor, the BORP Adaptive Cycling Center, we received a grant from the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council to rebuild our dock, allowing us to offer public boat rentals and youth boating programs.

In 2015, we leased another City-owned building down the street at 90 Bolivar, which allowed us to double the size of our Street Level Cycles program with a dedicated youth education and Community Open Shop space.

Since our founding we have steadily grown our programs and impact. Thanks to generous support from the community we now serve over 300 youth each year across our internships, classes, and partnership programs.

Our Annual Impact

44

Youth participated in our job-training internship programs

72

Youth participated in our classes and partnership programs

157

Youth received a refurbished bike through our bike giveaway program

273

Total youth served

Our Programs

Waterside Workshops provides job training, individual wraparound support, and outdoor recreation for Bay Area youth. We offer internships and jobs for youth in our three social enterprises: a community bike shop, a boat shop and boat rental facility, and a youth-run cafe.

About The Berkeley Aquatic Park

The Berkeley Aquatic Park is located in a dense urban area that provides 67 acres of flat water, miles of bicycle paths, and a diverse population of migratory birds. The Aquatic Park has two water sources: tidal water from San Francisco Bay and fresh water from storm water that drains into the lagoon.

When Waterside opened its doors in 2007, the Aquatic Park was in a state of disrepair. Alongside our youth, we have become the stewards of Aquatic Park, hosting volunteer trash pick-up days and educating our youth about how to take care of the park and the wildlife that calls it home. We work closely with the City of Berkeley Parks Department and other Aquatic Park stakeholders to help improve the park.

After the construction of our dock, we have been able to provide public boat access to the Aquatic Park.