Teen Services Blog

Category - General
Posted - 12/11/2020 07:08pm
The Lovin' Oven Garden
Our winter garden is flourishing!!  Take a look!

Our thanks to the Kiwanis of Sonoma Plaza plus Janet Engelbrecht, Mary Clark Janis, Nancy and Dave Roche, Tom Sours, and Robert Young!

Category - General
Posted - 12/11/2020 04:19am
Join the Cookie Jar Challenge!



Help us fill the cookie jar! 

Our goal is $100,000 and we are more than halfway there! 

Your gift matters! 

All donations will support our teen programs.

$50 - Covers 3 hours of a teen's work experience in one of our social enterprises

$100 - Provides supplies and staff for 10 teens to participate in live Cooking with Paloma, learning how to cook simple, healthy meals at home with kits provided by TSS

$250 - Purchases supplies for each teen to complete 30 hours of instruction in the Lovin' Oven Culinary Academy

$500 -  Allows 10 teens to participate in web development training and learn about careers in the tech industry

$1,000 - Provides 4 teens with 8 hours of bike mechanics training at Operation Bicycle and a refurbished bike of their own

$5,000 - Delivers 10 hours of work readiness instruction to 12 teens who gain the soft skills needed for successful employment

Thank you for your support


Category - General
Posted - 11/23/2020 12:43pm
24 Sonoma Valley Teens ‘Ready to Work’

Final_RTW__3__1.JPGTwenty-four Sonoma Valley teens received their Ready to Work Certification after completing the 10-hour course in which they learn how to get their first job and become successful employees. The course, now virtual, covered: job search resources and strategies, resumes and job applications, business/employer standards, basic financial literacy and money management, interview attire, and real-world interview experience with local employers with real positions to fill.

The course is enhanced by a group of local businesses that participate in mock interviews with the teens, although some teens even get hired even from the mock interviews. Participating businesses for the current graduating class include: Groskopf Warehouse and Logistics, Mary's Pizza, Nugget Market, Operation Bicycle, Redwood Credit Union, Safeway, Sonoma Golf Club, Teen Services Culinary Garden Program, and Wells Fargo. Ready to Work would not be possible without the generous support of these local businesses.

Course graduates have access to a volunteer job coach to support them in their search for gainful employment and are provided with complimentary interview attire courtesy of the SHENOMA and local thrift store, Bon Marche.

Category - General
Posted - 11/23/2020 12:28pm
Operation Bicycle Gift Certificates

bike.jpgLooking for the perfect gift for a bike enthusiast?

Gift cards are now available for sales or services at Operation Bicycle. Gift cards can be applied to any purchase, including service, parts, accessories, and bikes.

Just click here!



Category - General
Posted - 11/01/2020 02:39pm
Paloma wins... twice!

paloma_and_JLYC_1.jpgOn Sunday, October 25th, Chef Paloma picked up our check at the 2020 Jack London Yacht Club (JLYC) awards in their Grant Drive-Through Distribution Event. To add to the celebratory atmosphere, grant recipients were encouraged to decorate their cars for the festivities and drive by the judges and JLYC Commodores Jim Burch and Ana Dominguez, who were stationed on the Jack London Saloon porch in Glen Ellen.

With cash prizes at stake, leave it to Paloma to be creative and bring along a little friend.

Yep – we got 3rd place with the comment from Ana: “Your cuteness, zero-waste mode-of-transportation, and enthusiasm was not missed by our judges! (the little guy in the basket helped too)”

Category - General
Posted - 09/18/2020 06:09pm
Community Support for Teen Services
We are so very grateful for the support offered by the community, especially during these challenging times. Special thanks go to:
  • Rotary Club of Sonoma Plaza for a grant of $1,500 which will allow us to purchase a much-needed washer/dryer for Lovin' Oven.
  • Jack London Yacht Club for a grant of $1,734 to purchase kitchen utensils and equipment for Lovin' Oven.
  • Glen Ellen/Kenwood Rotary Club for a grant of $2,000 to support our new distance learning program for Sonoma Valley teens.

Category - General
Posted - 09/18/2020 03:47pm
A new face at Operation Bicycle
Cian_2.jpgTeen services Sonoma welcomes Cian Lacy to serve as Assistant Manager at Operation Bicycle!

Cian was born in Santa Rosa and has lived in Sonoma for much of his life. Cian graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2016 and is currently pursuing a major in philosophy at Santa Rosa Junior College. He has been a very active member of the community, working every summer as a camp counselor, teaching performing arts skills to kids 15 and under. Cian has always wanted to be a part of a nonprofit organization and assist in its function, and he is thrilled to help people with whatever they need. Once Cian receives his bachelor degree in philosophy, he hopes to travel the world helping others by joining the Peace Corps.

Needless to say, Adrian is delighted to have him on board!

Category - General
Posted - 09/14/2020 03:50pm
Special delivery - Gossett style

bob___paloma_1_1.jpgEvery week, Teen Services can expect a special visit and a smile from Bob Gossett. With COVID restrictions in place, students have been unable to tend the gardens at Flowery, Altimira and Sassarini schools, so Bob stepped in. He has been maintaining the gardens, harvesting the produce, and delivering the veggies to nonprofits in the Valley. We are one of the lucky ones!

Bob shows up 2-3 times each week with a basket full of amazing produce for Chef Paloma who then creates a delicious and nutritional meal for the homeless clients of Sonoma Overnight Support.

Thank you, Bob!  We are so grateful to you and the smiles that you bring to others.

Category - General
Posted - 08/08/2020 07:14pm
The Tree Is Up!

Tree_1.jpgThanks to funding from Creative Sonoma and Sonoma Plein Air Foundation, a unique sculpture resides outside of Operation Bicycle in Vailetti Plaza in The Springs – a sculpture with a story.

Dubbed The Tree of Possibilities, this 13-foot kinetic sculpture is made of recycled bicycle parts and culinary items representing our two social enterprises: Operation Bicycle and the Lovin’ Oven. It was created by metal sculptor Marty Munson, assisted by two teens - Alondra Perez and Leila Whitney. Together, the three determined the general design of the tree and the teens learned about weight, balance, form and space, as well as a variety of welding techniques. Hanging from the tree are flattened spoons and metal leaves imprinted with words about teen hopes and dreams for the future.


To read the full story, click here.

Category - General
Posted - 08/08/2020 07:01pm
Ready to Work goes virtual

To kick off the new partnership between Boys & Girls Club and Teen Services, we held a socially-distanced Ready to Work RTW course at The Club at Maxwell Village over the past two weeks. The small group setting was a perfect chance to pilot a new video version of RTW recently developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This version has great flexibility as it can be used in conjunction with a Zoom meeting or (as in this case) simply providing an additional instructional modality to keep the content engaging.

jennifer_video.jpgThe latest version of the RTW course now includes information for students on their workplace rights to freedom from discrimination and harassment thanks to Elizabeth Kristen from Legal Aid at Work.

While students always look forward to the capstone portion of the course – THE INTERVIEW – we realized that the requisite hand shake practice would not be very applicable during COVID. So we modified the practice in a rather amusing way… we all scrubbed our hands, put on gloves, and took the teens outside to practice a proper adult introduction with a firm, confident handshake. We're optimistic that this invaluable social skill will regain its relevance someday soon! 

We'd like to thank Joelle Smith of SHENOMA and Anna Bimenyimana of Bon Marche for providing a free, personal shopping experience to our grads after hours!  

Category - General
Posted - 06/19/2020 06:01pm
Stretching our legs!
Staff from Teen Services and Boys & Girls Club shared a hike on the Montini and Overlook Trails with nine teens. Great to be back with the teens - great to stretch our legs - great way to test out new COVID protocols!

Category - General
Posted - 04/06/2020 09:54am
Teen Services helps out the community

Paloma_head_shot.jpgEven though we are currently unable to provide our usual programs directly to teens, we have re-purposed our resources to fill specific needs in the community.  


Providing meals to those who need them most... With the expertise of our Chef Paloma, we are using our Lovin' Oven commercial kitchen to increase the number of meals we provide to the homeless through Sonoma Overnight Support, providing our famous cookies to La Luz for distribution to their clients, and working with our nonprofit partners to provide healthy packaged dinners for those in need.


Helping people get exercise and have dependable transportation... Operation Bicycle remains open for drop-off repair services, so people can continue to use their bicycles for both recreation and transportation. Many who use Operation Bicycle's services depend on their bikes to shop or get to work as well as for exercise.  


In both efforts, we are strictly following Covid-19 protocols for the health and safety of our staff and our customers.

Category - General
Posted - 04/06/2020 09:39am
Cowboy Cab 2020 cancelled
Sadly we have had to cancel our 2020 Cowboy Cab event. We will miss seeing you there, enjoying your friendship, watching our teens in action, and hearing their success stories. Cowboy Cab is always a fun event full of smiles. It will return.

Cowboy Cab is also a major fundraiser for us. Without it, we need your help.
Thanks to generous gifts from Chuck and Cathy Williamson, the TSS Board, and our Cowboy Cab Sponsors, we are able to match all funds raised over the next two months up to $50,000! 

Help us continue to empower Sonoma Valley teens - make a contribution today and turn $50,000 into $100,000!

Category - General
Posted - 03/12/2020 04:21pm
LOCA celebrates Cohort #2

Loca_grads_1.jpgFamily and friends gathered at the home of Chuck and Cathy Williamson to celebrate the accomplishments of our second LOCA cohort. Each teen finished 30 hours of culinary instruction culminating in the preparation and serving (and enjoyment!!) of a delicious risotto. During the training, they also served a special Dinner for 8 for some TSS friends and catered the Spring RTW graduation.
It was definitely time for a reversal of roles and Paloma was more than happy to be the chef and serve a variety of pizzas to the LOCA graduates, friends and family. Of course, the pizzas used fresh ingredients selected from the Williamson’s garden.

Congratulations go to Clarissa Escobar, Silvia Flores, Leilio Lis (aka Ely); Jenny Molina, and Giovanni Stechman.

As Paloma awarded a certificate of completion, a chef’s knife, and a $100 stipend to each graduate, she smiled and said “Go forth and cook well” – encouraging them to enjoy cooking for family and friends and to be sure to call upon her for references and connections to local restaurants and caterers.

Category - General
Posted - 03/12/2020 04:13pm
Congrats to our Spring 2020 RTW Graduates
On Friday, March 6th, Ready to Work Certificates were awarded to each of the graduates from Sonoma Valley and Creekside High Schools who completed 10 hours or work readiness training. There were rounds of applause - followed, of course, by appetizers and cookies prepared by LOCA. Read more...

Congratulations go to: Ashton Andi, Grace Atkinson, Aidan Blackwood, Charlotte Bridant, Liam Dudy, Jayden Fulkerson, Joanna Grippi, Gianna Gruenhagen, Madison Hammond, Sofia Iniguez, Leilio Lis, Cristian Moreno, Morgan Phillips, Carlos Gutierrez Rodriguez, Dominic Rossetti, Diego Salazar, Armando Santos, Veronica Santos, Jack Savage, Maya Suazo, and Sebastian Ward.

Category - General
Posted - 03/12/2020 04:08pm
The Tree of Possibilities


Thanks to funding from Creative Sonoma and Sonoma Plein Air Foundation, a unique sculpture is taking shape at the studio of artist and sculptor Martin Munson. Each week Alondra Perez (left) and Leila Whitney (middle) join Marty to learn the skills involved in creating a 9-foot, kinetic sculpture made of recycled bicycle parts and culinary items. Together, the three determined the general design of the tree and the teens have learned about weight, balance, form and space, as well as a variety of welding techniques. The end result will be the Tree of Possibilities on which will hang flattened spoons and metal leaves imprinted by teens with words about their hopes and dreams for the future.

All Sonoma Valley teens are invited to create the leaves and share their sentiments. Stamping will take place at Teen Services, Sonoma Valley High School, Mentoring Alliance locations, Art Escape, and Boys & Girls Club (The Club) later this month. For exact dates, contact the project manager, Pat Meier-Johnson.

The tree will be installed outside of Operation Bicycle in Vailetti Plaza and the ribbon cutting will take place on Saturday, April 25 at 1:00 pm. Plan to join us and enjoy the Tree of Possibilities!

Teen Services extends its thanks to Marty Munson and our funders as well as award-winning artist Pat Meier-Johnson who serves as the project manager and her husband, film maker and journalist Russ Johnson who is documenting the entire project. This has been an amazing team effort.

Category - General, Cowboy Cab, events
Posted - 01/11/2020 04:44pm
Save the date for 2020 Cowboy Cab!

The date is set, so mark your calendars for our 2020 Cowboy Cab!
Saturday, May 30, 2020
6:00 - 10:00 pm
Hanna Boys Center Auditorium

Category - General
Posted - 12/13/2019 08:33pm
Teen Services welcomes Sandra Santiago to the staff
Teen Services is pleased to announce that Sandra Santiago has joined the organization as the Teen Center Coordinator. As such, she will have the opportunity to interact directly with all of the teens who come to the Center, making sure that they are welcomed and are connected to the programs that most interest them.

Sandra_2.jpgSandra was born in Los Angeles and raised in northern Virginia where she later attended a teen center service that helped shape her views growing up. She went off to work with preschoolers while she was in high school, and eventually started her career in the financial industry for 6 years. More recently, she drove across the country to move back to northern California and went to school to receive her cosmetology license. Sandra is extremely excited to join the Teen Services Sonoma team where she hopes to inspire and encourage our teens to aim high and dream big. 

Category - General
Posted - 11/04/2019 07:15pm
Congratulations to the 2019 Fall Ready to Work Graduates!


The smiles were plentiful and with good reason as Becky Jo Peterson, Teen Services Sonoma Executive Director, welcomed teens, family members, staff, board members and friends to celebrate the accomplishment of 48 amazing teens. The event was held Friday, October 25th at Vintage House.

Instructor Jennifer Blackwood explained the course to the guests, and with Casey Richter TSS Program Director, congratulated the students on the skills they have learned and the confidence they have gained. With a smile on her face, Jennifer asked the students what they learned about the interview process, and they all immediately sat up straight.

Congratulations go to: Kaya Akins, Joshua Alcaraz, Marisol Alvarez, Vince Basada, Adrian Cabrera, Vanessa Carrillo, Cross Collins, Victor Corona, Ennio Dada, Javi Dorantes, Yasmin Esper, Daphne Fedor, Agustin Fernandez, Alex Filippi, Katherine Fonseca Rodriguez, Dayana Gomez, Lupita Gutierrez, Nathan Gutierrez, Val Gutierrez, Sandra Hagstrom, Zachary Hammond, Eddy Haro, Alex Hipkiss, John Hoffman, Rosie Houghton, Diego Jaramillo, Patricia Jimenez, Tommy Long, Beatriz Lopez, Chases McNeilly, David Mendoza, Marisol Morales, Dominic Pisani, Carlos Ramirez, Alonso Robles, Alonso  Rodriguez, Ava Rowley, Prisila Ruiz, Uli Saiz-Tapia, Gabe Schaus, Max Sinclair, Spencer Spotts, Giovanni Stechman, Lucas Stevenson, Mia Sweeney, Owen Vanzant, Nataly Vargas, and Natalie Wetzel.

For more information and additional photos, click here.

Category - General
Posted - 10/24/2019 05:18pm
LOCA students respond to the challenge!


Yesterday our inaugural LOCA students had their first test… cooking on their own under the guidance of chef Paloma, Iron Chef style. To evaluate the progress of her students, Paloma challenged the students to create an entree; working as a team to create the side, then individually they were quizzed on their ability to sear and properly cook a pork chop. Paloma gave the students a basket of mixed ingredients to pick from. Chef Paloma was incredibly impressed by their choice of an autumn cabbage salad with lightly blanched carrots, fresh pear, parsley, and a shallot vinaigrette.

Chef Paloma said, “Their choices surrounding this dish showcased perfectly what I’ve spent the last 2 weeks teaching them.  I’m very proud of the students and delighted to see how much they’ve soaked up the knowledge I’ve given them so far.” Paloma asked each student to create a spice rub for their porkchop, and she was thrilled by how unique each one was, and they were spot on with balancing many different flavors. 

All in all, our LOCA students nailed their first cooking assignment, and we are eager to see what else these talented young cooks have in store for us!