• The workforce agrees, training for soft skills is the #1 priority! 4,000 professionals can't be wrong. Ready to Work is on top of it and ready to expand its services! See Becky Jo's letter below.
  • Operation Bicycle new location: Don't forget to visit the new location 207 Nino Marco Square (right on Sonoma Highway). Open Wednesdays through Sundays from 12-7 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Holiday hours -  The Teen Center will be closed for the holidays, December 24th - January 1st.  

Our mission is to provide teens and young adults with work-readiness skills and experiences (i.e., soft skills) that empower them to succeed.  A recent survey of 4,000 professionals nationwide from LinkedIn Learning identified these skills as the most important thing to teach prospective employees.  "[T]he pace of change is fueling demand for adaptable, critical thinkers, communicators, and leaders." 
When I attended my first Ready To Work (RTW) Graduation in October, I was astonished at the level of confidence shown by the teens who had completed the RTW classes covering essential soft skills including workplace etiquette and culture; time management and communication; getting a job - resume, references, applications and cover letters, networking and interviewing; customer service, and money management. I could see that they were definitely ready to work.
Also at that graduation, I learned of a local employer who had to let one of his teen employees go. Apparently "things just weren't working out." However, he told the young man that if he took the RTW course and brought in his certificate of completion, he would give him his job back. That is quite an endorsement.
We know our work is more important than ever and we are committed to expanding our services to include more teens and young adults with appropriate training and experience for their work success. Your support helps make this happen.

With thanks,


So, what does it take to bake nearly 200 pies?  A lot of help for starters, and that is just what Teen Services got! Volunteers of all ages (13 teens and 11 adults) joined the Lovin' Oven crew over a two-day period to think in measurements of pounds - not tablespoons - and gallons - not cups. By far the biggest challenge was the pecan pies: heat up gallons of sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses; whisk in pounds of butter; add the egg yolks; scatter the pecans throughout; and pour into the shells. Jiggle a bit, bake, and cool.  

And amidst all the laughter, 60 pecan, 60 apple-cranberry crumble, and 77 pumpkin pies were assembled, baked, cooled, packaged and labeled - all ready for pick up. Kudos to Carol Hoover for keeping everyone on task and smiling.  
And, of course, thanks to all the volunteers and to all of you who ordered our pies - in particular to the business owners and realtors who purchased numerous pies to give to their customers and clients.

Norma Martinez (right) is our Teen Center Coordinator. She is also one of our alums. Two years ago, she reflected on her arrival in 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. She enrolled in our Ready to Work program, secured employment at La Casa Restaurant, and also worked at the No Name Café and the Lovin' Oven. "The safe environment [at TSS] made me feel comfortable and I felt like I belonged."
Today she is a sophomore at Sonoma State University majoring in psychology and Spanish. Because she benefited so much from Teen Services, she loves the opportunity to give back and especially enjoys the chance to interact with teens at the center.
One of those teens is Silvia Flores (left), a sophomore at Sonoma Valley High School, where she is enrolled in the agriculture program and enjoys most of her classes including Honors English, though she is not so keen on Geometry. As a freshman, Silvia heard about Ready to Work (RTW) and decided to sign up. She was amazed at what she learned, all the new friends she made, and the opportunities she was given. Silvia worked at Lovin' Oven (LO) until she was offered a catering job at Ramekins, but volunteering is also important to her. She still volunteers at LO on Tuesdays to cook meals for the clients of Sonoma Overnight Support and she helped to serve at one of the community events following the fire last year.
Silvia also helped Norma with some of the administrative tasks associated with RTW and describes Norma as "amazing, funny, and a great listener... someone you can really talk to about anything." Silvia credits the RTW program and all of the support she has received at Teen Services as responsible for "breaking my shell" - especially Cowboy Cab last year, where she was really nervous but learned that she actually liked meeting people! And now what makes Silvia smile? "Working hard!"
Norma and Silvia are two of hundreds who have benefited from Teen Services Sonoma and our Ready to Work program. 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 and that teens and young adults like Norma and Silvia are able to follow their personal journeys.  

1. Wondering what holiday gift to send to Uncle Joe or that person who has everything? Consider a simple card with a powerful message. Contact Joelynn- or 707-939-1452.


2. And for the more mature audience.... Consider a direct charitable contribution from your IRA. This option becomes available once you've reached age 70½, counts toward your Required Minimum Deposit (RMD) for the year, and isn't included in your taxable income. Be sure to consult with your tax advisor for details. 

3. Or if you fancy a more traditional approach, feel free to send a check to Teen Services Sonoma, 17440 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, CA 95476 or use a credit card to donate on-line  HERE.

And remember - thanks to a challenge grant from Chuck and Cathy Williamson, if you make a new donation or increase your past donation (even a little bit), $500 will be added to your gift. This challenge grant expires on December 31, 2018!

Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance mentors and mentees joined the Lovin' Oven crew to prepare a meal for Sonoma Overnight Support clients. With so many helpers, we were able to deliver entrée, salad, and dessert!
Holiday cookies are next on the agenda! Our Lovin Oven teens will be training adult volunteers to decorate Christmas cookies after school 4-6 pm on Thursday, December 13 and Friday, December 14 and two shifts on Saturday, December 15 from 9 am-noon and 1-4 pm. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Francesca Fifis, .
The Girls Group is returning to Teen Services Sonoma! Sponsored by the Soroptimists of Sonoma Valley, this program provides a great opportunity for middle school girls to hang out, have fun, and allow themselves to dream. Stay tuned for more news about this in 2019, but if you have any questions, please contact Norma at
 or 707-939-1452.

Bob and Marilyn Albright
Marcia Caruthers
Steve Cohen
John Coleman
Ted Cutler
Gemma Gallovich
Ed and Jan Davis
Rayne Dessayer
Sandy Drew
Ted Eliot
Osias Encarnacion
Chriss Fife
Ruth Fotouhi
Pam Gilberd 

Patricia Grillos
Constance Grizzell
Valerie Henderson
Susan Holman
Josie Hoover
Amy Hunsberger
Dawn Hunter
Deb Kweller
Jody Leeds
Carmen Lopez
Marney Malik
Norma Martinez
Bradley McCullough

Larinda Merkins
Debbe Noto
Diana Olding
Maureen O'Neill
Pat Pulvirenti
Elisa Stancil
Jere V. Starks
Charmaine Starks
Gregg Stubbs
 Stephanie Stubbs
Roy Tennant and Gina Cuclis
Dave Waldron
Rick Ward
Zac and Amy Weinberg

Jackie Alcaraz
Faith Alvarado
Fernanda Avalos
Lilli Baca
Christian Bandt
Rodrigo Barrera
Eduardo Barrera
Ian Bridant
Connor Brown
Paola Calderon
Richie Crispi
Natalie "Athena" Curiel
Jimena Echeverria
Jonathan Escalera

Diego Flores
Silvia Flores
Eileen Frost
Zitlaly Garcia
Gabby Kutza
Holly Lee
Marisol Mackey
Evelyn Martinez
Travis Martinez
Alan Mata
Amaury Nieves
Victoria Palominos
Bryan Perez
Vanessa Perez

Sandy Pulido
Christopher Rivas
Diego Salazar
Jonathan Santoyo
Garet Severson
Soni Sherpa
Emma Stambaugh
Sean Tomany
Maria Torres
Jack Turner
Aleiah Tzintzun
Octavio Urcino
Brianna Videz
Bethany Whitty
Ashley Zaragoza
Carolina Zarate

Optima Building Services
Warren Construction and Roofing
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