• Bring a smile: Did you know that during these holidays (and all year long!), each time you shop at, you could be supporting Teen Services Sonoma through their AmazonSmile Foundation? To learn how you can participate, click here.
  • Volunteer Orientation on December 8th at 6:00 pm. Meet us at the No Name Café on the campus of Sonoma Valley High School to learn how you can support teenagers in career development, culinary skills, repairing bicycles, homework assistance, and much more! 
  • Holiday cookies: If you liked the pies, try our delicious Holiday Cookies! Order from our website from December 6th through the 12th.
  • Job Opportunities: Teen Services is accepting applications for the following positions: Full-time Teen Center and Employment Service Coordinator and part-time Bookkeeper. Contact Cristin Felso for more information. 

Some days, smiles seem hard to come by, but not at Teen Services. Those were actual giggles coming from the kitchen as volunteers joined with teens to get those pies ready for our annual Holiday Pie Sale. Then there were the extraordinary numbers coming in from sales at the No Name Café and the enthusiasm of the students who attended their first Ready to Work class at the high school. And the individual teens and young adults who come in to say thank you and to let us know what they are up to. Not a day goes by when there is not cause for smiles. We just have to remember to look.

Somewhere along the way, each of those smiles began with your help. We have much to be grateful for and investing in the youth of Sonoma Valley is an extraordinarily important investment. We need your help. Our teens need your help. I hope I can count on you to continue your generous support.

With thanks,


The pecan pie volunteers: Jose, Steve, Chris, Shannen and Donna
So what does it take to bake 250 pies?  A lot of help for starters, and that is just what Teen Services got!  Starting on Saturday morning, the first tasks were to bake the pie shells and fold and label the boxes. Two Sunday shifts tackled the pecan pies - heating up gallons of sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses; whisking in pounds of butter; adding the egg yolks; scattering the pecans throughout; and pouring into the shells. Jiggle a bit, bake, and cool.  

Monday morning was apple-cranberry crumble day. Tasks in the kitchen: grind the cranberries, add sugar, peel and grate the ginger root, pre-bake the already peeled and sliced apples, and melt 12+ pounds of butter for the crumble. Meanwhile the "crumble" volunteers were checking their math weighing out the right amounts of granulated and brown sugars to mix with cups of cinnamon and ginger before adding the melted butter. Then came the assembly before baking.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning were the pumpkin pies. Pretty straight forward until you start thinking of the amounts.... 12 pounds of brown sugar for every 25 pies!! In the end, 250 pies were ready for pick up!  Kudos to Francesca Fifis for keeping everyone on task and smiling.  And a special thanks to Anastatia Chiurco for the recipes, Steve Cohen of Fresh Starts Culinary Academy for his guidance, and to all of the volunteers (listed below).

Part of the apple-cranberry crumble crew: Susan, Pat, and Lorraine

And, of course, thanks to all of you who ordered our pies - in particular to the business owners and realtors that purchased numerous pies to give to their customers and clients: Dino Digiulio of Body Best Collision Center, Christine Benson of Coldwell Banker, Dr. Marianne Kramer of Sonoma Developmental Center, and Tom Wurst and Nada Rothbart of Sotheby's International Realty Sonoma.


Eight employed teens and $800 in sales in a single day!  The No Name Café at Sonoma Valley High School is setting all kinds of records this year. With such an increase in sales ($600 - $700 each day), Jared Cohen, the No Name Café (NNC) manager, is now holding monthly staff meetings that systematically focus on a variety of business and customer service skills. He began with teaching the basics of customer service during which the teens role-played handling a sale with a customer at the register - remembering to smile, stating the amount owed to the customer, and counting change back.

The NNC monthly metrics for October were impressive:

  • Total sales (before expenses) = $ 12,737.75

  • Total hours worked by teens = 126.25

  • Total number of Lovin' Oven cookies sold = 4010

  • Total number of Lovin' Oven pesto pasta sold = 112

The café continues to gain popularity with its high school customers, provides effective work-based learning opportunities for teens, and even manages to pay some of our bills - definitely a win/win situation!


Esther Oros            Age 21

"Teen Services taught me that there is no right or wrong path in life; it doesn't matter where you come from or the obstacles that life has placed before you. Work hard and work well, because there truly is a beauty in doing so."

A full-time student at Santa Rosa Junior College, majoring in Biology, and working as a receptionist for State Farm Insurance.

To read more about Esther, click here .

Next month, we will feature another of our amazing alums.

Welcome Francesca!

Francesca Fifis was born and raised on the east coast. She holds bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and political science from the American University in Washington, D.C. After a 28-year career as a television news producer, Francesca moved to Sonoma and began volunteering as a mentor chef with the Ceres Community Project in Sebastopol. That experience inspired her to attend Bauman College where she became certified as a natural chef. In 2013 she opened a branch of the Ceres Project in Sonoma engaging hundreds of adult and teenage volunteers to grow and prepare healthy meals for clients facing life threatening illness. When Ceres moved to Santa Rosa, Francesca became a natural chef instructor at Bauman College but missed working with teenagers. She is excited to be joining Teen Services Sonoma where she hopes to improve the lives of young people and build an even bigger community of volunteers.


Norma remembers when she first came to the U.S. "I had to overcome a feeling of rejection by people for not being born here and not knowing the language. I felt underestimated." Just before her freshman year, her brother signed her up to volunteer at Teen Services. "The safe environment made me feel comfortable and I felt like I belonged."  Norma found a variety of ways to help out at TSS and also enrolled in our Ready to Work program focusing on the food industry. We hired her to do catering and to prepare cookies for the No Name Café at the high school and then she secured employment at La Casa Restaurant. During this time, Norma also found herself.

Now a senior preparing to go to college, Norma has discovered her real passion - helping young children - and plans to major in psychology with the eventual goal of becoming a social worker. "Teen Services was always there for me, making me realize that I would like to be there for those who need support during their most crucial times."
Norma is one of hundreds of teens who have benefitted from Teen Services Sonoma and our Ready to Work program. Last year alone, 148 teens were enrolled in our courses and 100 graduated with Ready to Work certificates. Of those graduates, 21 enrolled in college and 39 were placed in jobs within the community. 

We offer this program at no cost to any Sonoma Valley youth who chooses to enroll, but we need your help.  Please consider a generous donation to support Teen Services Sonoma to ensure that this course remains free of charge for the students and that teens like Norma are able to follow their personal journeys.  


Angora Ridge Foundation- Zac and Amy Weinberg 
Christine Curry Design
Terry Garbin
Margaret and Phillip Handin
Barbara Talbott and John Riley
Women's Fellowship - First Congregational Church

And Special Thanks to:
  • Earl Broderick and his team who presented us with a $10,000 check from the September charity golfing event. Earl is a long-time and much-appreciated supporter of Teen Services.
  • The Rotary Club of Glen Ellen/Kenwood for providing some new tools and equipment for Operation Bicycle.
  • Whole Foods for donating Thanksgiving dinner that fed 25 teens at a very special celebration at the Teen Center.

And Our Pie Makers:

Chris Argenziano, Lorraine Ashton, Susan Baldwin, Isamar Botello, Shannen Casey, Donna Dambach, Rayne Dessayer, Brigitte Doneux, Barrie Eddy, Linda Goldman, Norma Martinez, Eric Mayfield, Pat Meier-Johnson, Marcia Petersen, Linda Ransom, Jose Rojas, Judy Scotchmoor, Stephanie Stubbs, Mauricio Tapia, Elizabeth Taylor, and Alejandro Torres
Save the Date for Cowboy Cab!

June 3rd, 2017

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