• Teen Services Sonoma Launches LOCA! See article below for details about the Lovin' Oven Culinary Academy.
  • Record Enrollment: Ready to Work classes began at Creekside and Sonoma Valley High Schools with a record enrollment of students. Mark your calendars now for their graduation, October 25 th , 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Vintage House.
  • Interview Clothes Needed! With a record RTW enrollment, we need additional clothing donations to make sure that our teens look their best for their job interviews. Click here for info.
  • Holiday pies and cookies: Stay tuned for a special email with information about our yummy pies and cookies for the holidays! 

We just celebrated 10+ years of TSS at 17440 Sonoma Highway with friends old and new; we have a record number of teens enrolled in our Ready to Work courses at both Sonoma Valley and Creekside High Schools; we have two amazing additions to our staff; we are gearing up for our annual pie sales; AND we are launching LOCA! 
It may sound crazy, but LOCA stands for the Lovin' Oven Culinary Academy. Our teens thought it was a cool name and so do we. As we've worked through the transition from losing the No Name  Caf é  at Sonoma Valley High School and the consequent impact on the Lovin' Oven that supplied fresh food to the  Caf é , we saw an opportunity to restructure Lovin' Oven to provide more training for teens. 

We are excited to have Paloma Apgar on board as our Chef/Instructor to teach the course; we have the support of the Culinary program at the high school; and most importantly, we have received a very generous gift from Chuck and Cathy Williamson to launch the program. Our goal is to provide training and practical experience to prepare teens, for higher paying jobs in the hospitality industry. We are thrilled by the responses from our culinary partners and our teens. 
Now that I've been with Teen Services for a whole year, I'm continually buoyed by the high level of energy from board, staff and our teens. Now I know why it was so difficult for Cristin Felso to leave and how lucky I am to serve as ED of this extraordinary organization. 

Thank you so much,


Teen Services Sonoma is excited to announce the launch of its Lovin' Oven Culinary Academy (LOCA). Beginning October 14 th , the Culinary Academy will offer a free 30-hour program four times each year. The program features in-depth training and practical experience including: ServSafe food handler certification, knife skills, commercial kitchen/equipment basics, cooking techniques, and front-of-house hospitality training. LOCA students will have various opportunities to gain real-world, hands-on experiences with food preparation and service through preparing meals for the homeless or catering private events hosted by TSS. 

After completing the program, teens will receive a Culinary Certificate, a $100 stipend (for attending all classes) and a guaranteed stage (trial shift) with our culinary and hospitality business partners including Ramekins, the girl & the fig, and caterer Chef Bryan Jones. These partners enthusiastically support the program including Jennifer Worsham Human Resources Manager at the girl & the fig whose response on learning about the Academy was: "We would love to be a partner with your new culinary academy program! It sounds like a great opportunity for the teens, and we would be so thrilled to be a part of it." 

Teens are also excited about the academy and responsible for the name LOCA. Jonathan Beard, who teaches the culinary classes at Sonoma Valley High School, also expressed enthusiasm. He is recommending the academy to any student who plans to work in the food industry telling them: "You will learn industry specific skills that will help you find work in restaurants, hotels, and other food-related businesses. Interested in front of the house (bussing and waiting) or back of the house (cooking and food prep)? This is the program for you."

We appreciate all the support and enthusiasm for LOCA within the community and in particular for the generous gift from Chuck and Cathy Williamson that allows us to launch LOCA this week!

Friends old and new gathered at Teen Services Sonoma's Open House on Thursday, September 19th... a great time to enjoy delicious foods from the Lovin' Oven, a memory-jolting slide show, lots of smiles and conversation about the amazing Teen Services' journey.

Special recognition was given to several of the key players who were so instrumental in securing our current building: Jean Hopeman, Jere Starks, and Art Fichtenberg; to our first Executive Director, Rebecca Hermosillo; and to founders John Randall and Niels Chew. If you are interested in the amazing details summarized by Art, please read his personal recollections:  
How the Valley of the Moon Teen Center Got Built OR It truly does take a village.

To all who have traveled with us along our journey, we cannot thank you enough!

You can read more about the history of Teen Services Sonoma on our website and for more photos from the event,  click here!

Paloma Apgar - Lovin' Oven Chef/Instructor

Paloma was born and raised in Glen Ellen in a community of home cooks who introduced her to a wide range of international dining. Her professional culinary career began 17+ years ago in the North Bay, working for Mark and Terri Stark of Stark Reality restaurants. Paloma has extensive experience working in restaurants, wineries, and catering operations including as the Special Events Chef for Elaine Bell Catering Company. Most recently, she was the Winery Sous Chef at Robert Mondavi Winery, preparing fine cuisine for a wide range of events, managing the kitchen, planning menus and assisting in budget management and the large vegetable garden. Paloma is excited to begin working with teens in her hometown. For her, mentoring youths is a deep, profoundly felt passion, and she is excited to be involved with an organization that recognizes and supports local teens. 

Cynthia Pacheco - Teen Center Coordinator

Cynthia was born in New York City and moved to Novato at the age of 15. She began attending Novato High during her sophomore year where she was involved in programs such as Girls Who Code, Engineering Club and 10,000 Degrees. After graduating from high school, she moved to San Francisco to work at the Larkin Youth Center where she mentored hundreds of teens and young adults in preparing for work and school. Cynthia is a Computer Science major with a focus in Game Design, currently attending Santa Rosa Junior College and hopes to transfer to SFSU to continue her degree. She has been a resident of Sonoma for a little over two years and is looking forward to reaching out and helping youth make a difference in our community.

Cynthia takes over from TSS alum Norma Martinez who is now a Junior at Sonoma State University, managing a heavy class schedule with a double major in Psychology and Spanish.

Record Enrollment in RTW

The fall Work Readiness courses began at both Sonoma Valley and Creekside High Schools on September 26 th with record numbers. The current total enrollment is 58, with 47 at SVHS and 11 at Creekside. Students will be learning what makes a good employee; exploring their personal strengths and creating their resumes; learning about business standards, the hiring process and where and how to get a job; money management; and preparing for an interview. Graduation will take place on October 25 th 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Vintage House. Hope you can join us.

Special thanks to our Fall Job Coaches: Barry Ansell, Manny Bazan, Sandy Drew, Chriss Fife, Amy Gill, Ellie Klevins, Jody Leeds, and Dave Waldron and to Joelle Smith of SHE NOMA, who makes sure that all of our teens have just the right outfit for that first job interview.

New Computers at TSS

Thanks to generous donations from Exchange Bank and Adolfo Mendoza , Teen Services upgraded its technology, purchased new computers, and implemented a new data-tracking system so we can better capture youth outcomes. Program staff can use the data to improve current program offerings and better meet the specific needs of Sonoma Valley teens.

Operation Bicycle Lookin' Good


Thanks to another generous gift, the teens and staff at Operation Bicycle are all smiles with their new aprons donated by Sarah Costello of Corporate Coutour. Now, tools are handy and clothes protected and there is a new professional look. Thank you, Sarah!!

New Grants for Teen Services
In addition to gifts mentioned above, we are pleased to announce the receipt of three additional grants supporting our programs: $1,000 from Jack London Yacht Club for kitchen equipment; $5,000 from Grainger, Inc. to support the Bike Mechanics course at Operation Bicycle; and a $4,000 Umpqua Community Grant to support our Work Readiness courses. Many thanks to all.


Barry Ansell Bryan Jones John Riley
Manny Bazan Ann Iverson Val Robichaud
Simon Blattner Ellie Klevins Mara Roche
Shelley Burns Leslie Kraynak Judy Scotchmoor
Jim Carruthers Brenda Lanoue Denise Silveira
Steve Cohen Jody Leeds Joelle Smith
Sarah Costello Sheryee McCormick George and Shelly Sorani
Rayne Dessayer Chris Miller Tom Sours
Sandy Drew Jeanne Montague Barbara Talbott
Chriss Fife Christine Murray Susan Tam
Cam Fraser Gary and Elsa Nelson Lori Thoreson
Amy Gill Chad Overway Dave Waldron
Helmut and Sharon Emke Maureen O'Neill John and Judith Walsh
Hewitt Jackson Marcia Petersen Ann Whitehurst
Pat Meier-Johnson Valerie Pistole Chuck and Cathy Williamson
Exchange Bank
Glen Ellen/Kenwood Rotary
Grainger, Inc.
Jack London Yacht Club
Optima Building Services
Umpqua Bank
Wells Fargo
Teen Services Sonoma - a safe, caring place where all are welcome.
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