Teen Services receives Impact100 grant
Rebecca Hermosillo, Cristin Lawrence and Tim Boeve of Sonoma Valley Teen Services
Adrian Hyman/Special to the Index-Tribune
Thanks to the $100,000 Impact100 grant, the youth of Sonoma, particularly those who may not be college bound, will have increased access to job skills through an innovative new program of Sonoma Valley Teen Services.
Sonoma Valley Teen Services was formed last year when Operation Youth and the Valley of the Moon Teen Center merged. Their Skills for Life program was democratically selected as the grant recipient during Impact100's annual meeting on Saturday.
The program will helps teens develop business skills and find apprenticeships to guide their career paths.
"We're delighted," said Tim Boeve, president of the Teen Services board. "It's a huge, huge shot in the arm for us."
The program has already proven effective. Teen Services runs the No Name Café at Sonoma Valley High School, where students train to become baristas and gain an understanding of the food service industry, from making drinks to handling cash. Over at the Teen Center, four students successfully launched the Lovin Oven, making baked goods and prepared foods they now sell at the Tuesday night farmers market. Demand is now so high, Lovin Oven recently brought in more teens to help with the baking, employing even more students in a time when there are few job prospects.
"It's something we already know works," Boeve said. "It's already proven to be successful."
Boeve said the funds would be used to help both Lovin Oven and the No Name Café.
In the application, Boeve explained how these two lines of business could eventually turn into revenue streams for Teen Services to use to continue funding the program when the grant funds have dried up. In addition, Teen Services plans to expand the Skills for Life program to offer apprenticeships in industries such as automobile mechanics, sound system installation and other areas teens have expressed an interest in exploring.
"It's a simple idea, giving them the experience to succeed," Boeve said. "We want to link up that interest and drive with those who have expertise to teach."
Grant money will be used to raise to full-time status Teen Services' two part-time employees, Rebecca Hermosillo - the executive director of the Teen Center - and Cristin Lawrence, who oversees the programs established by Operation Youth.
"This is exactly what the organization needed," Boeve said. "We didn't have the staff power to develop this program until now."
Impact100 was formed in 2009 when 100 women came together and each promised to give $1,000 to form a $100,000 grant to be given to a Valley nonprofit. After thoroughly vetting each of the proposals, a handful of finalists are selected to make a presentation during the annual meeting, after which each woman gets to vote for the project she'd like to see get the funds.
The funds are given every quarter and reviewed by Impact 100 to ensure they are spent appropriately.
"We need to be good stewards with the member's money," said B.J. Bischoff, communication chair for Impact100.
Last year, the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley received the grant to launch its College Bound program to help provide members with comprehensive support to get into college.
"The Boys & Girls Club presented Saturday. They had four of the kids in the College Bound program speak about what impact meant to them," said Bischoff. "That made all of the women feel wonderful."
This year, the organization attracted 157 members, meaning Impact100 was able to give away $57,000 Greater Impact Community Grants ranging from $3,500 to $15,000, which were also selected by a democratic vote. The recipients were:
• Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH) received $15,000 to improve its clothing room.
• The Sebastiani Theatre Foundation got $3,500 to replace a fire door.
• The Sonoma Ecology Center received $7,000 to bring electricity to the Sonoma Garden Park.
• The Sonoma Valley Community Health Center got $9,000 for equipment for new exam rooms.
• The Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance got $7,500 for the Girls Empowerment Fund.
• The Women's Initiative for Self-Employment received $15,000 for micro-enterprise training.
Impact100 is launching its membership drive for the new fiscal year. Any woman who joins by Dec. 31 will be invited to vote for next year's grant recipient. To learn more, visit www.impact100sonoma.org or call 939-5007.