Teen Services empowers local youth
Sonoma Valley Teen Services (SVTS) was born from a merger of the Valley of The Moon Teen Center and Operation Youth. SVTS provides skill-based programming for teens of Sonoma Valley.
Programs are experiential, hands-on and inspirational, and are designed to reinforce and foster students’ academic and career interests through involvement with the community and our local businesses. The SVTS mission is to empower Sonoma Valley youth to make positive choices for their health, safety, education and future.
Programs include the Valley of the Moon Teen Center, a free drop-in center with a fully equipped gym, basketball court, computer lab, homework assistance, leadership and environmental education opportunities, art and fitness classes and a daily meal.
The new Skills For Life Program was made possible through funding from Sonoma Impact 100, and is designed to engage Sonoma Valley youth in gaining experience for a sustainable future. Job preparation courses prepare teens for success in the work place while introducing them to career options that encourage engagement in their current academics as well as interesting them in continued education. Some of the seminar courses currently offered are: Food Safe Handling, Employment 101, Financial Literacy which includes a Careers in Banking segment, and Resume and Interviewing with more courses to be added in the near future.
Also part of the Skills For Life program is the “Ragazzi” Pop Up Restaurant. Students get 20 hours of training working alongside talented community volunteers such as Anea Kamahale, a trained chef; Teresa Alampur, a sommelier, hospitality professional and educator; and Richard Treglia, an executive chef. SVTS teens learn how to run a restaurant from the back to the front of the house as well as the business aspects involved.
Pop-up restaurants can appear anywhere, from someone’s house to a warehouse to a museum to an unused or empty restaurant space. The idea is that the restaurant appears suddenly and disappears after the event.
SVTS also oversees the operation of three teen-run businesses, providing local teens with real-world experience of running a small business as well the opportunity to earn some income. Those businesses include The Lovin’ Oven, where teens create tasty treats to sell at local farmers markets; the No Name Café, a smoothie and snack bar located on the Sonoma Valley High School campus; and The Shop, a teen-run events venue on Eighth Street East where teens can experience creating, booking and marketing an entertainment event.
For more information about SVTS call 939-1452 or email Cristin_lawrence@comcast.net. And join us for “Cowboy Cab,” a fun-filled, country casual benefit for Sonoma Valley Teen Services featuring country swing music with Hall of Fame recipient Tommy Thomsen, hors d’oeuvres prepared by Margie Brooke, vintage wine tasting and a live and silent auction. Cowboy Cab is Saturday, May 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $100 and can be purchased at Pharmica, Readers Books, Mary’s Pizza Shack, Unique Salon and the Valley of the Moon Teen Center.
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Cristin Lawrence is SVTS administrative director.