At Touchstone Climbing, we are dedicated to being an active member of our neighborhood and to giving back to our community. Since we first opened, it has been a high priority for us to reach out to individuals and groups in the communities that we serve. We are committed to offering youth-at-risk and adults-in-need a unique experience where they can push beyond their own preconceived notions of their limits to explore a potential which might otherwise go unrecognized. We are also committed to supporting local schools and other charitable events through donations to a wide variety of fundraisers. Here is a partial list of the groups that Touchstone has made donations to in the past year.
Chinatown Youth Community CenterMission HighPathways for SuccessImmaculate Conception AcademyBayview YMCAPaul RevereArchbishopSEO ScholarsBurton High SchoolCanon BarcusLick WlimerdingSFSU -Grow through AdventuresFriends SchoolCASA -Children's After School for ArtsIslamic SchoolGateway High SchoolWind SchoolKings Canyon Middle SchoolSanger Boys & Girls ClubWomens EmpowermentOptions For YouthMalcolm X Elementary SchoolHearts Leap SchoolPet Network Humane SocietyPark Day ScoolRoss Valley Nursery SchoolThe Saklan SchoolOakland TechGerman International School of Silicon ValleyPiedmont Children's ChoirProspect SierraHighlands PreschoolBAM PTABlue Skies for ChildrenDisabled Sports USA Far WestMadera Elementary SchoolJoaquin Miller Elementary SchoolEcole Bilingue de BerkeleyBuddhist Church of OaklandJefferson School PTAEl Cerrito PreschoolChildhood Illness SupportEmerson FundVenetia Valley PTAThe Principled AcademyBay Area Rescue MissionWalden Center and SchoolElla Baker Center for Human RightsMonteverde SchoolFamily Catholic EducationChildren's Health GuildLe Conte Elementary PTACamp Kesem berkeleyMontclair Community Play CenterEast Bay Agency For ChildrenEggsterExpanding Your HorizonsGolden Bear Rec CenterNorth Oakland Community Charter SchoolAssociated Parents Club of PiedmontI Run 4 Cal 5kAffordable Housing Assoc.Leukemia and Lymphona SocietySun Valley SchoolSchool of the MadeleineHayward High SchoolGlobal ExchangeSt. James Christian SchoolSt. BaldricksBerkeley Budhist TempleWomens Daytime Drop InFamily bridgesYESHabitot Childrens MuseumThe Berkeley SchoolMarin ElementaryBerkeley Youth OrchestraEscuela BilingueGoodwill IndustriesSWE Society of Women EngineersCEIDJohn Muir SchoolThe Berkeley Chess SchoolMedicine in ActionWillard Middle SchoolPeter Pan NureryAsian Health servicesAsian American Cancer Support NetworkOakland east bay gay men's chorusBerkeley Humane SocietyOakland Fire FightersMustard SeedWind SchoolMustard SeedTherapeutic Rec. ServicesWomens EmpowermentCHP/SWAT
2011Contra Costa Interfaith HousingOakland TechSF Friends SchoolClovis Boys & Girls ClubWellsprings AcademyLa Piccola Scuola ItalianaGirl VenturesClovis Boys & Girls ClubCAVAContra Costa Interfaith HousingGirl VenturesOakland TechOakland School for the ArtsFresno Co. Search & RescueFresno County Sheriff's Dept.10,000 DegreesSaint Paul's ParishSF Friends School St. Francis' Episcopal ChurchYoung Women's Development Scuderia WestSF Bicycle Coalition's Winter FestOakesMission GraduatesCentral elementary School Environmental Traveling Companions SF Hep B FreeCal PrepMarchus SchoolGirl VenturesSF Friends SchoolChildren's HospitalFresno Police DepartmentOakland TechOakland School for the ArtsJoshua IsraelB.O.R.P.Bayview BeaconRES (Redefining Educational Services) SuccessOakland TechOakland School for the ArtsGrow Through AdventureClovis Boys & Girls ClubAll Stars Project Inc.Egise & Ecole Norte Dame Des VictoireGlenridge Nursery SchoolLa Cultura CuraPathways for KidsSaints Cyril & Methodius School/ChurchThe Imagine Bus ProjectSF Friends SchoolTurning Heads Sewing & Fashion Design Program
Want to go climbing and help save lives? (The correct answer is 'YES!')On Saturday, May 25 Berkeley Ironworks is hosting a Climb-A-Thon to raise funds for the Women's Cancer Resource Center and the HERA Foundation. This amazing event is all thanks to the hard work of long time desk staffer Clari. "I've lost three sisters to cancer, and when I was diagnosed it came as a shock. Combining my love of climbing with raising money for such an important cause is my way of fighting back." Clari has been in remission for over a year, and is doing well!
The Women's Cancer Resource Center creates opportunities for women with cancer to improve their quality of life through education, supportive services and practical assistance. The HERA Foundation seeks to stop the loss of women from ovarian cancer by promoting Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness. Both organizations have provided countless services to women with cancer and are important to support.
"This event will be a fun chance to get in a ton of climbing for a great cause. Remember Jog-a-thons? The structure is very similar," said Clari. To participate, climbers can collect pledges per climb, or a flat amount for participating in the event. Pledge sheets, along with envelopes for money, are available at the front desk at Berkeley Ironworks. Register, collect sponsors, and then climb or boulder your heart out! You can register as a group or individual. A minimum of $50 per participant must be turned in at the time of the event. Everyone is encouraged to come out and climb! Raffle tickets are on sale now at Berkeley Ironworks, and prizes include So iLL swag, Jim Thornburg guidebooks, and more! We are also looking for volunteers with belay cards to belay. Be sure to email Clari at
When it comes to raising money for cancer - everyone is a winner. But Touchstone Climbing will be offering prizes for those who raise the most money to sweeten the deal.
1st Place- 3 months free membership
2nd Place- 2 months free membership
3rd Place- 1 month free membership
We're so happy to be hosting such an important fundraising event! Encourage your friends to come out and climb to CRUSH cancer!
In late February, Eric Foley, the case manager at the Hatien Center for the Blind, brought several visually impaired students to the climbing gym. The students climbed by feeling the textures of the walls and the holds.
On March 15th, Women's Empowerment, a non-profit based in Sacramento, made their 50th visit to Pipeworks. We were able to catch up with leaders and participants in this amazing program to get the scoop on their partnership with Pipeworks.
"Sacramento Pipeworks has been working with Women's Empowerment since 2004," said Pipeworks manager Vaughn Medford. "They are headquartered only a couple blocks away from the gym, so it is not unusual to see a group of women 10-15 power walking over to the gym on Fridays. They use the gym to work out in the weight area and do cardio. The members have become accustomed to seeing the group, and we're all supportive of such an important cause."
Recently, Ben Kumli, a faculty Lecturer for San Francisco State’s Recreation, Parks and Tourism Department, brought nearly twenty students to Mission Cliffs. The students had a great experience climbing at the gym with many of them speaking about the supportive environment and the challenges they were able to overcome. "They are still talking about how awesome it was!" said Kumli.
Ever wonder what happens to the ropes after the gyms use them? Touchstone repurposes retired ropes in various ways.Recently, Mission Cliffs donated some ropes to a local Boy Scout Troop unit 29, based at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. The troop has approximately 30 boys, ranging from 11-17 years old, and 5 adult leaders who help run the program.
"The core mission of the Boy Scouts is to teach character, citizenship, and fitness, and we often use the outdoors as our classroom," said Troop Leader Brian Chu. "As someone who knows the lessons that climbing can teach about courage and perseverance, I wanted to share that with the boys, None of them have been climbing before, so it'll be an exciting experience for all."
The boy scouts use the retired ropes to practice knots and belay technique before venturing to the climbing gym. "If it goes well, we'll plan an outdoor trip to Pinnacles or Castle Rock this summer," said Chu.
Recently King Middle School visited Berkeley Ironworks and had a chance to give climbing a try! The middle school children sent back these thank you cards along with some glowing reviews.
"Omgosh I had so much fun even though I didn't go all the way up. Thank you for letting us use your beautiful gym" -Mia
"Thank you so much for having us! It was like the funnest field trip. :) -Amanda
"Thank you Ironworks for giving me the opportunity to face my fears. Letting us rock climb was a chance to experience something new. It was a lot of fun and I hope I can come again!" -Emma
"Thank you for letting us climb! I really enjoyed it. I was the guy in the blue sweats." -Jovan
"I had so much fun! It helped me get over my fear of heights." -Mark
"Rock climbing rulez!" -Aamna Ahmed
One of Touchstone's founding principles is supporting local communities. All our gyms regularly open their doors to local schools and organizations to give kids a chance to climb. In December a group of children from Guadalupe Elementary School visited Mission Cliffs in the city and had a great time climbing with their teacher. Donna, the manager of Mission Cliffs, was trilled to receive the following Thank You letters in the mail.
Here are some of our favorite excerpts from the thank you letters we received. "After a few climbs I got enough confidence to climb those walls 40 feet high!" -Alex"I had a great time rock climbing at Mission Cliffs today. And thank you for belaying for me too. This is so far my favorite field trip of all time." -Raul "Thank you for being our volunteer. You gave us some really hard walls to climb. Nothing that I couldn't handle. I want to make rock climbing a hobby of mine. I really loved those two hours of my life." -Kevin"Thank for for being my belayer. Thank you for not letting me fall. Well I did fall because I was tired, and then you told me to stand up. Thank you because you did not let me give up." -Ruby"Before we got to Mission Cliffs I was really shaky and scared. The first 2 walls were really scary and I coudn't climb to the top. Then I got confident and on the last 2 walls I got to to top! Thank you for belaying me." -Ingrid"Thank you for beleying for us. Without a belayer I would have been dead." -Jonas"Thank you for letting us rock climb at the gym. If you wouldn't have let us climb I wouldn't have had my first experience. Now my life is rock climbing." -Carol"When I went climbing indoors I felt scared going down but determined going up." -Raymond Teaching kids to climb for the first time is such an amazing experience and we're so glad to be a part of the community in the Misson. If you've brought a group to one of our gyms, please share your photos or stories with us!
A few weeks ago, 12 kids from the Children's Hospital Adaptive Sports program headed over to MetalMark in Fresno. The program provides recreational and athletic experiences for those with disabilities. The kids that came out had an excellent time, fighting their way up the walls.
This young girl was a parapalgeic who managed to campus her way up the wall. The individuals in the groups have physical and health impairments ranging from cerebral palsy to spinal cord injuries. Through hard work and determination, the kids learn that they are able to have athletic lives.
The students have taken multiple trips to MetalMark and plan on returning again soon. This truly inspiring group had a blast at MetalMark.
On Wednesday, January 18th, a group of young adults from the Bridges School in Martinez headed over to Diablo Rock Gym. The group learned the basics of rock climbing. They were taught basic rock climbing technigue, knot tying, and the importance of belaying safely.
"We have been coming here for years. The participants always talk about this experience more than any of our other outings,"said the facilitator from the Bridge School. "They are always asking when the next visit will be. Thanks so much for having us."
Groups like these come to Diablo Rock Gym and the other Touchstone gyms often. They are a great chance to spend time with a group building team skills and cooperative behavior. They are also a ton of fun.
Wellspring Academy Heads to MetalMark
Climbing is a great way to get into shape and have fun. With movement that requires strong muscles from fingers, back, to calves, rock climbing provides the exercise needed to lose weight and tone your body. Recently, MetalMark had a group of students from Wellspring Academies, a weight loss boarding schools for overweight teens and young adults. The school focuses on helping students change their lifestyles to maintain a healthy body and mind.