• Volunteer Orientation: Looking for a fun way to give back to your community? Our next Volunteer Orientation Meeting will be held Monday, February 6th at 6:00 pm in the No Name Café at Sonoma Valley High Room J-8.
  • Ready to Work: The Spring 2017 Ready to Work Sessions for Sonoma Valley High School begin on March 30th. For the full schedule, click here. For more information and to register, contact Francesca Fifis or call 707-939-1452.
  • Job Opportunities: Teen Services is accepting applications for a bookkeeping position. Contact Cristin Felso for more information.
  • Homework Club is returning to the No Name Café and we will soon have free homework help after school. Stay tuned for more information!

As you will see below, we started off 2017 in a whirlwind of activities - everything from hiring new staff, adding new services at the Teen Center, setting our calendar of Ready to Work courses, starting our remodel that includes beautiful "new" desks donated by Westamerica Bank, and even a nite of stand-up comedy. But perhaps my favorite part was learning more about the impact of our 2016 summer welding class and meeting one of the participants - George Storck - whom you will read about as well. I saw some of his amazing creations and the sparkle in his eye as he talked about them. That gave me cause to think of all of the individuals who have found greater confidence, a fresh start, or a new path because of Teen Services Sonoma.
Sometimes those paths lead right back to Teen Services, and many of our "alums" stay connected. Jenna Wyrick (highlighted below) has created videos for us about TSS programs, and Jerica Tercero, who owns two salons in Sonoma, volunteers her time with Cowboy Cab each year. Two current staff members also have early connections. Jared Cohen, our No Name Café manager, started his work career at the café at the age of 15, and he could be found at every teen music event at The Shop (more about The Shop below). Emilia Donovan, our Administrative Assistant, was also a devotee of The Shop when she attended Sonoma Valley High School.
So, amidst all of the activity, there are always times of reflection. I have been reminded that we are all part of an extraordinary, supportive community and that gives me cause to smile.
With special thanks to each of you who continue to be connected, and to others, an invitation to become connected. It feels good.


In our October newsletter , we described the success of our summer welding program held in partnership with Hanna Boys Center, and we continue to learn of its impact. Last semester, three of the students enrolled in the Welding Certificate Program at Santa Rosa Junior College, and the SRJC instructor was impressed with their skills, adding that they were "leaps and bounds ahead of the other students in the class." Two others attended the Metal Shop at Sonoma Valley High School. Their teacher, Mark Lea, applauded their skill levels and their ability to help the other less experienced students. These two boys are both seniors this year and are working with our summer welding instructor, Anastatia Chiurco, to build custom motor bikes for their Senior Projects.

There were also individual stories of growth and accomplishment including our youngest participant, George Storck (left), age 13 - now an aspiring welder. Cristin had an opportunity to chat with George and his mom about the program. George liked the instructors and the way the classes were run, and he really enjoyed digging through the bins of old rusty metal parts and figuring out what he could make from them. One of his first projects after the class was to create 10 metal flowers from recycled parts that he presented to his teachers as Christmas gifts, which they loved!
Cristin also found out that after the workshop, George got inspired to read because he told his parents that he wanted to earn money for a TIG welder of his own. He now earns credits towards his welder by doing extra reading. He is making good progress towards his TIG welder. George's mom reported: "It is as if a light bulb has come on for him." She is so grateful to Teen Services for providing such incredible opportunities for teens to gain confidence and skills they can use for the rest of their lives. 

The welding project was funded by Impact100 Sonoma as the first of what will become a series of vocational pathways. After reading of its progress, Impact100 President Wendy Hoffman stated: "It is so wonderful to learn how successful the welding program has been for so many students - some of whom have unique challenges. It sounds like the program is turning out to be life-changing for many teens."
And George? He is now busy collecting his own box of metal parts and saving money to purchase a plasma cutter - new projects are underway.

Early days at the No Name Café: back row board members Niels Chew, Chuck Harris, Steve Cohen, Dave Robinson; front row John Randall and Cristin Lawrence (Felso)

As explained in the history section of our website , Teen Services Sonoma had its birth as the merger of two organizations - Valley of the Moon Center (previously El Nido) and Operation Youth; but perhaps its heart originated from the intersecting visions of two men: Niels Chew and John Randall. Together they offered the first work program for teens when they set up a teen-operated music venue - "The Shop." Jean Hopeman, past board member and long-time supporter of TSS, described them as "courageous and unafraid to say and do the right thing. They were on the cutting edge of putting together programs for teens that were not thought of before in Sonoma. Who else would have offered a place for teens to have a band play? Who else would have started a teen run café or a teen run art studio where at the end of the school year, teens could sell their art?  Niels and John expected the teens to start practicing adult behavior. If the teens wanted a place to play music and dance, they were responsible for putting the whole thing together. When they made mistakes, they were expected to clean up the mess." Jean's daughter, Jennifer Ullman, reflected back to her teen years and said of Niels and John: "They were the first adults to treat us like adults. They helped us grow up."
She went on to describe the origin of The Shop, its structure, and its music, including mention of several of the teens who went on to have successful music careers. Of Niels and John, she added: "They really cared about us. They asked about our aspirations and shared their life lessons with us. They treated us like adults at a time when that is what we wanted the most."
John passed away in 2010 and Niels three years later. They contributed so much to the teens in the Valley. They and The Shop have left their legacy... perhaps it is time to bring back The Shop?

Mackenzie Finch will be joining Teen Services as the Lovin' Oven Coordinator. Mackenzie grew up in beautiful Monterey, California and enjoyed all that the area had to offer including the ocean, hiking, and proximity to fresh, local produce. She decided to head out of state for college and attended the University of Denver and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2016. A lifelong lover of cooking and food, she decided to follow that passion and worked on an organic farm in Alaska for a month in the spring of 2016 and then began working at a catering company and café in the Lake Tahoe area. She also has taken some culinary classes at Lake Tahoe Community College. She is looking forward to working at Teen Services Sonoma and relocating to beautiful Sonoma County! 

Gabby Petersen joins Teen Services as the Teen Center Coordinator.  Gabby was born and raised in Sonoma, CA. She graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2012 and enrolled in college at Saint Mary's College of California. There she received a degree in Sociology and Communications, graduating at the top of her class in 2016. After school, she joined AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps where she served as a team leader in Denver, CO; Ozawkie, KS; and Mesa, AZ. She has been very involved in the Sonoma community, volunteering at Hanna Boys Center. She loves giving back to her hometown and is very excited to begin work with the Teen Center - a job that will continue this passion!

Jeanne Montague has joined the board as Assistant Treasurer. Jeanne has spent over 40 years in the financial services industry, beginning as a corporate banker and now as an investment banker, where she structures merger and acquisition transactions for middle market companies throughout the Western US. As the Managing Partner of the firm in San Francisco, she has a special interest in food-related and women owned businesses. In 2011, Jeanne convinced her architect husband, Chad, to move to Sonoma, initially just part-time. Since then, they have both become very involved in renovating houses so much so that they are now on their fourth project where they are designing and building a new home from the ground up. Still working full-time, Jeanne likes the balance that comes from engaging in community activities. She is a past-board member of Impact100 Sonoma and supports many other organizations through volunteer work. She holds a BA degree from Connecticut College and an MBA in Finance/Accounting from Columbia University in NYC.

Jenna Wyrick                         Age 23
"It was programs like TSS's Art Wednesday that kept me on the right path and fueled my creativity so I was able to get to this point in my education."
Jenna is a senior at San Francisco State with a major in Broadcast and Electronic Communication.
Jenna has also given back to Teen Services by producing two videos about our programs. To view the videos. click here.
To read more about Jenna, click here.
Next month, we will feature another of our amazing alums.

We are pleased to announce two new services at the Teen Center in the Springs:
  • Our new Math Tutor:  High level math assistance will be available for teens from 6:00-7:00 pm every Wednesday.
  • Narcotics Anonymous Meetings have started at the Teens Center every Monday from 4:30-5:30 pm. Open to anyone aged 13-24 - a confidential place to ask questions and learn about coping with struggles.

On January 28th, a sellout crowd at the Krug Event Center mingled, laughed, sipped, and munched - all to support Teen Services Sonoma. The benefit event was put on by Crushers of Comedy, a stand-up comedy production company based in Kenwood, that promises that "you'll laugh out loud, learn about and drink wine, and eat delicious local food."  The crowd was not disappointed.
The wines were supplied by Cline Cellars and Muscardini Cellars and tasty appetizers including yummy spiced nuts, delicious tangy lemon bars, lovely fruit skewers, and decadent banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were provided by Teens Services' Lovin' Oven. The Krug Center also provided many local cheeses to add to the treats.
Guests were greeted by Teen Services volunteers and teens from the Lovin' Oven. The entire evening was full of big smiles and belly laughs all to support Teen Services' employment training and job placement programs provided to local youth.  Many thanks to all who joined us and to all who contributed to the wonderful event!

Please consider a gift from our wish list as we "spruce up" the Teen Center and continue our efforts to support teens and young adults with work-readiness skills and experiences that empower them to succeed. All donors will be invited to a spring Open House.
The Wish List
13x16 Area Rug $235
7x10 Area Rug $135
8x11 Area Rug $260
Vinyl/Bonded Leather sofa $500
Vinyl/Bonded Leather Club Chair $150
Vinyl/Bonded Leather Love Seat $400
Metallic Table Lamp $45
Floor Lamp with Glossy Noir Stem $90
Table Lamp, 2-Pack $110
Table Lamp, 2-Pack $80
2 Utility Cart/Free Standing Cabinets for Bathrooms $125 each


Barry and Ali Ansell
Jordan Ash
Lorraine Ashton
Donald and Ligia Booker
Amanda Burrows
Chris Argenziano and Donna Dambach
Mildred and Thomas Ferrando
J.L. Fleming
Monica Lucatero
V. McWilliams
A.F. Paniagua
Paul Peyrat
Sydney and John Randazzo
Tammy Samut

First Congregational Church
Rose Marie Piper Foundation
Women's Fellowship/First Congregational Church

Warren Roofing

A special thank you to the people and businesses who are donating services and supplies to our building remodel!
Dennis Jamarck Electrical Contracting
Golden State Lumber
Jason McClure Contracting Company
Optima Building Solutions
Sonoma Paint Center
Sonoma Raceway
Westamerica Bank

Save the Date for Cowboy Cab!

June 3rd, 2017
See what's happening on our social sites:
(707) 939-1452 |