In Marin / CURRENTS
Ambassadors of Hope
In 2003, a program Zara Babitzke created for young adults at
nonprofit Sunny Hills Services lost funding. Instead of moving on
to another social service job, she took a leap. In 2005 she founded
the Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity project (AHO) to
help homeless youth ages 18 to 25 in Marin. Having been home-
less at one point herself, Babitzke (pictured left with Larkin
Bond, a member of the Youth Team) based the AHO model on
personal experience, the learning of 21st-century skills, and
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. AHO differs from other programs
in that it is self-directed by the youth; also, an 86-member AHO Alliance for Youth service partner network
acts as a safety net, and each participant is paired with an adult ally. The organization itself is multifaceted:
for instance, its Youth Connect, a one-stop resource event for homeless and at-risk youth, provides basic life-
sustaining services like housing assistance, employment opportunities, legal aid, medical and dental care
and much more. T wenty-five previously homeless young people and their peers devised the concept and met
weekly for nine months to plan this annual event, which in a single day offers services that would other wise
take more than a year to acquire. “So many people in the world are discarded when there isn’t an advocate
or family member to fight for them when they’re most vulnerable,” Babitzke says. To date, over 1,654 young
adults are no w in stable housing, working one to three jobs each and going to college as a result of the AHO
Youth Team–led projects. ahoproject.org K.P.
• PADDLE Choose
between a SUP board
and a kayak and go
for an evening jaunt
on Friday, June 9.
After departing from
101 Surf Sports, participants will paddle
around San Rafael’s
waterways at their
leisure with a guide at
their side. Low-light
be attempted and
free pictures will be
available electronically after the event.
• HIKE Explore the
wonder and beauty
of Mount Tamalpais
on Saturday, June
10. Participants are
asked to wear layers
and sturdy shoes and
to bring a small flashlight and water. All
hikes leave from the
lot, are about two
miles long and last
about two hours.
• KAYAK Launch
at Miller Park boat
ramp next to Nick’s
Cove and paddle
through the tide
channels to the
of the Point Reyes
Harbor seal, bat
ray, leopard shark,
osprey, river otter
and sea lion sightings
are not uncommon
here. See for yourself
June 9 and 10.
CON TINUED FROM PAGE 25
The parade started in 1974 as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named
Michael Gonzales. Since then it has grown into
a display of floats, giant puppets and masks
with more than 1,000 parade participants.
SOLSTICE IN TIMES SQUARE:
MIND OVER MADNESS YOGA
Ne w York City
For the past 15 years, thousands of yogis from
around the world have been traveling to Times
Square to celebrate the summer solstice with
free yoga classes in the middle of the city.
Here people often begin the day by picking
flowers and making wreaths for the maypole,
which is a key component in the celebrations.
The maypole is raised in an open spot and a
traditional ring dance takes place around it.
This Slavic holiday with pagan roots was
named for the Slavic goddess Kupala and was
originally conceived as a fertility rite. Women
weave garlands of flowers and float them on
water to predict romantic success.
AND ST. JOHN’S DAY
Estonia and Latvia
These are two of the most important days in
the calendar, marked by bonfires and parties.
Traditional diversions include jumping over
bonfires and flower-picking.
Whether it’s down the coast or on
a different continent, people across
the globe commemorate the start of
summer in varying ways. Read on
to find out how they do it and gather
inspiration for your own festivity.
Residents always boast about daytime activities in Marin, but the fun
doesn’t have to stop when the stars come out. In fact, there are numerous
monthly adventures that take advantage of the full moon glow. Here are
three to partake in throughout the county. K.P.