Ready to Work begins at Sonoma Valley High School on October 5th. Click here for the schedule or contact RTW Program Coordinator, Gabby Petersen at Gabby@teenservicessonoma.org or 707-939-1452.
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A LETTER FROM CRISTIN
Not many people visit Tesuque, New Mexico on their vacations, but that is exactly what we did. My sister and I dragged our husbands to all six of the different places around Santa Fe that we called home from 3rd through 8th grade. The trip triggered a host of memories and provided an opportunity to reflect on my own personal journey.
(and was) a small, primarily Native American/Latino town. I was definitely in the minority - one of only three white kids in my class. My mom was a single mom and worked as a waitress at the restaurant in town.
We didn't have much money, and so at an early age both my sister and I figured out how to find odd jobs and get by with little. There was a thrift store down the road from the restaurant where we folded clothes on the shelves in exchange for a "new" used pair of jeans or other clothes that we needed.
It wasn't an easy childhood, but it was a good one. I value the struggles I had as a young woman and the journey I have taken. I see those same struggles in many of the youth with whom I have the privilege of working here at Teen Services. In some ways, I feel that I am completing a special circle in my life and hopefully helping our youth to begin their own journeys. I understand and respect them. I was one of them.
By the way, the restaurant where my mom worked was called El Nido, and for those of you who know a little about the history of Teen Services, you will recall that the Teen Center was originally called El Nido! I have definitely found home.
THE SUMMER BUILDING PROJECT
Kudos to the teens who, despite record temperatures, kept those welding torches going to complete their individual projects and who worked together to learn blacksmithing and construction skills as part of a seven-week Saturday program held at Hanna Boys Center. The sixteen graduates of the program (not all shown above) gained valuable work experience, met potential employers and industry representatives, and earned three elective credits that can be transferred to Sonoma Valley High School or applied toward the Welding Certificate Program at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Comments from teens, instructors, and parents reflect the success and impact of this program:
Alondra Perez, student:
I knew nothing about welding or forging before I took this class. It was an amazing experience, it got me thinking about my future.
Diana Planson, instructor:
I had so much fun working with these amazing kids! Everyone worked so hard, learned so much and showed off their skills building wonderful metal sculptures! They truly inspire me!
Jack Riggen, parent:
I think programs like this one are absolutely critical for kids like Bryce, who need something positive and productive to focus on as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of teen life. Sometimes that's all a kid has to help him get through, when more academic pursuits are challenging and seem out of reach.
Special thanks to the instructors: Mike Snowden, Hanna's vocational instructor; Anastatia Chiurco, a local blacksmith, who specializes in ornamental welding; and Diana Planson, who trains future metalworkers and welders and owns DC Metal Works. They clearly had as much fun as the kids and were so proud of all that the teens accomplished.
The Building Project was funded by a Community Grant from Impact100 Sonoma. For more information about the project,
NEW FACES AT TEEN SERVICES
Joelynn Lee - our new Administrative Assistant
Joelynn was born in Santa Rosa. After graduating from Piner High School, she lived abroad for many years and started a family. She recently graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College with an A.A. in History and is now continuing her education at Sonoma State University. Joelynn has worked with children most of her life - as a mother, mentor and childcare provider. She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for many years in addition to volunteering as a Girl Scout troop leader of older girls in Sonoma Valley for four years. Working as a role model and teacher with youth to improve their lives is her passion. She looks forward to bringing her knowledge of the community and her passion for helping youth to Teen Services Sonoma.
Veronica Vences - a new Board Member
Veronica was born and raised in Sonoma County where her parents settled after emigrating from Mexico to work in agriculture. Her family background played a significant role in fostering her commitment to help individuals reach their full potential by providing appropriate resources and guidance and equitable economic community development. Veronica received her Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University in both Economics and Urban Studies. After graduating, she worked for four years with the County of Sonoma's Human Services Department. She then returned to school and received a Masters of Arts in applied Economics from San Jose State University. Currently, she is the Director of Programs at La Luz Center, a member of Impact100, and a founding member of On The Verge Sonoma County. Her passion for community work comes from the support she received as a youth, knowing that those around her believed in her.
NEW LOOKS AT THE NO NAME CAFÉ
The school year is starting out fresh at the
No Name Café
- both inside and out.
Thanks to the donation of plants from Sonoma Mission Garden and soil from Soils Plus, the NNC now has a bit of greenery out front to add to the ambiance.
Our new glass-front food display refrigerator has been purchased and installed, thanks to funding from
The pasta dish is selling really well and thanks to volunteer Amy Hunsberger, students were introduced to the new Dragon Cookie (left), which sold out the first day. Our Lovin' Oven teens and volunteers are planning to make them available for special events such as homecoming.
Thanks to the generous donation of time, know-how, and energy of Gary Nelson, the Café is now making use of Square - a Point of Sale system that allows us to accept credit cards and design inventory tracking and management. These systems will generate more income for the Café, provide the teen employees with 21
century business skills and give Jared, our No Name Café Manager, the tools to better manage the business. We will also be implementing the Square system into our other micro-businesses - Thank you Gary!!!
LOVIN' OVEN UPDATES
Interested in cookie decorating? Amy Hunsberger of
will be showing us her techniques for fancy cookie glazing on Friday, September 15th at 3:30 at the Teen Center. Three of our Lovin' Oven teens have already been trained and will assist Amy in teaching the class. If you are interested, contact TSS Program and Volunteer Manager Francesca Fifis at
The Lovin' Oven continues to provide catering services for our local nonprofits, offering work-based learning experiences to teens in our Ready to Work program. Two recent examples:
If you are interested in hiring Lovin' Oven teens for a nonprofit event, please contact our
Lovin' Oven Coordinator Kenzie Finch at
or call 707-939-1452.
OTHER GREAT NEWS AT TEEN SERVICES
A gift from the Soroptomists:
Teen Services received $3,000 from the Soroptomist International Sonoma Valley to fund a new girls' program at the Teen Center. Thanks so much to Jean Hopeman and Marguerite LaDue (far right) for making this connection for us. The meetings will begin this month - stay tuned for updates.
A Visit to Google:
Eight teens and three staff drove to Mountain View to visit Google headquarters. We were met by TSS Board Member Tammy Samut who gave us a guided tour of numerous buildings on campus. Students were in awe of all the benefits of being a Google employee. Many expressed interest in applying for internships once they are in college, and some dream of getting a job there one day. Afterwards, Tammy treated us to a wonderful lunch and gave the teens some terrific swag that they were thrilled to receive.
All smiles at SVHS:
Teen Services was one of several nonprofits to gather in the pavilion at Sonoma Valley High School for the annual Volunteer Fair. A great way to learn more about programs and activities at local nonprofits and perhaps find a potential service project, more than 1,000 students, accompanied by their teachers, wandered from table to table talking to organization representatives. Our four program coordinators (Adrian, Gabby, Kenzie, and Jared above) were there with smiles, and they attracted quite a crowd!
Meals for SOS:
As mentioned in our last newsletter, TSS volunteers and teens meet each week to prepare meals for
Sonoma Overnight Support
clients. Though much of the produce is donated by Whole Foods, the protein portion is purchased, costing $20/month. Learning of this, Kiwanis Club member Mary Ellen Arnold reached out to her Meals on Wheels community for help. As a result, TSS has received $350 in donations, which covers 15 weeks of the expenses of this program. Thank you to all! And if you are interested in supporting this effort, just
to make a donation.
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS!
Bob and Carole Nicholas
Cathy and Chuck Williamson
Doug Mo and Dr. Marcia Charles-Mo
Elvin and Alycia Case
Gordon and Sharon Druehl
Jack and Hope Nisson
Kara Marie Britton
Mary Evelyn Arnold
Michael and Margaret Fuson
Robert and Joelynn Lee
Lovin' Oven Volunteers
Organizations and Businesses
Amy's Cookies, Amy Hunsberger
Hanna Boys Center
Sonoma Mission Gardens
See what's happening on our social sites: