Falandes named Volunteer of the Year
Annie Falandes has been a volunteer at Sonoma Valley High School’s No Name Café for almost six years. Through the Art Wednesday program, she has helped hundreds of students find happiness through art. Through her work, she has uncovered additional needs of the teen community at the high school and worked hard to find creative ways to meet those needs. She has marshaled considerable resources for these students, including finding tutors, counseling, new clothes, paid employment and helping a number of youth apply for and go off to college.This year, Falandes has focused on meeting the needs of even more students by recruiting a cadre of volunteers. Now there are caring, adult chaperones in the cafe before, during and after school. This makes it possible for student workers to earn money working in the café, for 100-plus other students to have a warm, dry and safe place to be before and after school (the No Name is the only indoor seating for students during these times), for students to have the outlet of art on Art Wednesday and free tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Said Teen Services Director Cristin Lawrence, “Annie is helping to set up a support system for our youth that is literally changing and improving their lives in a major way.” Sonoma Valley Teen Services honored Falandes with its first-ever Volunteer of the Year award earlier this month in a celebration at the Holiday Art Boutique and Bistro at SVHS. Pictured are Lawrence (left), and Falandes.