Our History

Founded as San Francisco Presbyterian Orphanage & Farm when a young widow died, leaving behind three young children. The orphanage initially opened in a small rented house in San Rafael.
Captain Robert Dollar, a philanthropist and global shipping/lumber magnate, donated the money to acquire 20 acres in San Anselmo. The new home was designed and completed on January 8, 1900 and ultimately housed just over 100 boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 16.
Kent Estate hosted the first Grape Festival, a beloved annual fundraiser that would continue for 105 years, supported first by community members and then the Guilds of Sunny Hills (in their heyday numbering 38 active guilds and 1,500 volunteers).
Captain Robert Dollar donated an additional 42.6 acres of pasture land to enlarge the farm.
Organization became informally known as “Sunny Hills.”
Bargain Box thrift shop founded by the Junior Auxiliary guild to support Sunny Hills.
The expansion of foster care and government aid after WWII changed the needs for institutional care. In response, the Child Welfare League of America requested that Sunny Hills begin a program to provide highly-individualized care for troubled adolescents.
Residential cottages for up to 40 adolescents and the administration buildings built on San Anselmo campus.
Name legally changed to Sunny Hills Children’s Services.
The Bargain Box moved to a permanent home on Irwin Street in San Rafael in 1989. James R. Sylla School opened on the Sunny Hills campus to provide special education to the adolescent residents.
Bank of Marin Golf Tournament established by J. Patrick Hunt (founder of Bank of Marin).
Merged with Children’s Garden of California and name changed to Sunny Hills Children’s Garden Family & Children’s Services. Added the Marin Academic Center to the agency's program offerings.
Name legally changed to Sunny Hills Services.
The 105th and final Grape Festival held at Larkspur Landing (the festival skipped a year during WWII).
After 100 years of serving Sonoma County youth, offices established in Santa Rosa and expanded services to include YouThrive.
Merged with Bay Area Youth Centers (BAYC) in Alameda County and expanded services to include Real Alternatives.
Our Space founded.
Irene M. Hunt School (formerly Marin Academic Center) dedicated.
TAY Space opened in San Rafael.
Earned The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation. Re-accredited in 2019.
Rebranded as Side by Side to better capture the essence of our relationship with the youth that we serve across a diverse array of programs.
Virtual services launched across agency to contend with COVID-19 pandemic and innovative outreach tactics including online FIFA soccer tournaments and art contests started to keep youth engaged.
Side By Side was re-accredited by Joint Commission.
Side By Side now serves more than 2,500 youth and their families in six programs across Alameda, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties.
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