G.R.O.W.T.H. Project

The GROWTH Project is a training and employment program designed to introduce you to the field of landscaping through classroom and hands-on training. The GROWTH Project assists Behavioral Health Services (BHS) consumers to learn marketable skills, receive on-the-job training and mentoring, and secure competitive employment in the community. Moreover, GROWTH is a collaboration between UCSF’s Citywide Employment Services, MHSA, Behavioral Health Services (BHS), and Asian Neighborhood Design (AND).

GROWTH offers three months of classroom and hands-on training (8 hours per week) with a professional landscaper. Those who successfully complete the classroom portion of the training will have an opportunity to be hired for 6 months (8 hours per week, $15 per hour) to work on landscaping projects at public buildings in San Francisco. Students will learn how to choose the right plants for a landscaping project (especially drought-tolerant plants for our dry California climate!), how to plant and grow plants and keep them happy and healthy, how to design landscaped areas so they look beautiful, how to maintain landscaped areas using various tools, and how to get a job as a professional landscaper or gardener.

The ultimate goal of the program is for consumers to learn marketable skills for the workforce while being a part of the transformation of the BHS Mental Health Care System. Finally, GROWTH aims to create a more welcoming environment in the wait rooms and garden areas of BHS/DPH clinics that culturally reflect the communities they serve.

“I learned a lot, not only about horticulture but also about who I am. I’ve realized that this class made me more capable of overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, and succeeding at whatever I set my mind to.”

- Quote from a Program Graduate

Enrollment and Referral Process

Step 1 - Consumers that are interested in learning more about the GROWTH Project must attend one of the informational orientations listed below at Citywide Case Management (982 Mission Street, San Francisco) - 2:00 P.M. SHARP on:

Thursday, February 1st

Thursday, February 8th

Thursday, February 15th

Thursday, February 22nd

Thursday, March 1st

Feel free to share the Recruitment Flyer with others who might be interested:


Step 2 - Consumers that would like to enroll in GROWTH (after attending one of the informational orientations) must complete the Application/Referral Form which can be downloaded here:


(Referrer or Co-signer must have one of these professional credentials: MFT, LCSW, MD, PsyD, or PhD in Psychology). Please send signed and completed referrals to Ms. Kelly Rappleye at Citywide at [email protected] or fax 415-597-8004.


Step 3 - When the signed referral form is received by Citywide the applicant will be invited to an interview to discuss their goals and plans for the future.

Step 4 - The final step for enrollment in the GROWTH Project is to complete the T.A.B.E. assessment which will look at reading skill levels (this is not a test but an assessment that will not be use for cohort selection). At the completion of all the enrollment steps consumers will receive a phone call and letter stating their status in the program.

For more information please contact Ms. Kelly Rappleye at (415) 597-8055 or email at [email protected]. You can also read the GROWTH Project's Frequently Asked Questions:


GROWTH provides participants with:

  • 3-months of classroom and hands on training
  • The chance of selection for six-months of supervised work experience paid at $15/HR
  • On-going job placement support, job preparation, resume building, competitive job placement and employment retention services

GROWTH hands-on training in Permaculture, Landscaping, and Gardening may include (but is not limited to):

  • Landscape Installation Indoor/Outdoor
  • Garden Maintenance Indoor/Outdoor
  • Vegetable, Drought-Tolerant, Pollinator, and Habitat Garden Installation
  • Mulching, Soil Preparation, Watering, Weeding
  • Planting, Plant Transportation of Small, Medium, and Large Plants
  • Use of Various Garden Tools
  • Basic Irrigation Knowledge and Understanding
  • Basics of Permaculture
  • Plant Identification and Garden Design
  • Team Work and Work-place Collaboration

GROWTH services are intended to adhere to the Wellness and Recovery Model helping consumers to holistically improve their mental health and wellness. These services are intended to provide meaningful activities that foster a consumer’s independence and increase her/his ability to participate in society in a meaningful way.

Wellness Promotion

  • An increase in consumer engagement in clinic and clinical services
  • An increase in client satisfaction with services
  • An increase in consumers who have learned marketable job skills in landscaping and gardening
  • An improvement in general mental health through employment and esteem building
  • Increase in staff and provider moral