Happy Hollow and Kaiser Permanente Partner to Bring Smiles to Foster Youth

Event: A Day at Happy Hollow

Date: February 10, 2024

Location: Happy Hollow, San Jose, CA

Population Served: Foster Children (all ages)

Event Highlights: 

On Saturday, Feb 10, Happy Hollow Foundation hosted dozens of foster youth and their Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to a free day of fun at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. Thanks to a healthy-living grant funded by Kaiser Permanente, the day included free parking, free entrance, and a free meal from the Picnic Basket restaurant. 

Under perfect weather, CASA Volunteers and foster youth made their way to the entrance gates, where they were welcomed with a tote bag, snacks, an activity booklet and pencils. Once attendees had their tickets scanned, our youth sprinted over to Happy Hollow’s park ride areas, Five Point Forest and Giggle Grove. Laughter, thrill, and screams of joy filled the park as kids experienced each ride. The spots that were a top hit amongst our foster youth who explored these areas were:

  • Pacific Fruit Express – a fruit cart-themed roller coaster perfect for our little ones who were 36 inches or taller. 
  • Redwood Lookout – a kid’s park covered with trees and towering slides. 

After all the fun rides, it was time to redeem meal coupons and recover energy for the next part of our adventure. Attendees had a variety of options to choose from at the Picnic Basket dining hall’s CASA Day Meal menu. From cheeseburgers to vegetarian and vegan options, the menu had meal accommodations for everyone. 

With renewed energy, CASAs and their youth transitioned over to the animal kingdom. At Zoo on the Hill, foster youth delighted in petting goats and seeing turkeys, parrots, lemurs and more all up close. To continue exploring animal life, at Zoo in the Hollow, kids identified Chacoan peccaries by yelling out, “Pumba!” Besides identifying their favorite animals, our foster youth learned about fennec foxes, African spurred tortoises and turkey vultures. 

The excitement of our youth’s experiences is captured by what our CASA Volunteers had to say: 

“Happy Hollow is a dream come true for children. My youth is most excited about the roller coaster, this was our first stop and I have a feeling it will also be our final stop.” – CASA Sylvia Delagarsa 

“My youth loved Happy Hollow! The event was a perfect mix of physical activity (big playground), novel activities (fun rides!) and learning experiences (lots of animals). My youth got to show off his new reading skills- he found the “you are here” on the map. This is HUGE for a kindergartener and we’re so proud of him!” – CASA Katie Gioioso

Activities like these, where foster youth can experience physical activity, healthy nutrition and access to nature are critical to our goal of combating the effects of experienced trauma. We could not accomplish these goals without the support of community and corporate partners like Kaiser Permanente and Happy Hollow Zoo and Park, who connect us to resources that provide our youth with positive childhood experiences. With great smiles in our hearts, following the tremendous success of our visit to Happy Hollow, we hope to continue visiting and creating long-lasting joyful memories for the youth we serve. 

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring a youth-related event, please contact our development department at development@childadvocatessv.org.