At 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2016, The Shop will roar back to life in its new location at Hanna Boys Center, hosting a drug-and-alcohol-free Reggae/Reggaeton evening for teens 14 to 18 years old and featuring local artist, DJ Cali.
"The Shop is an important part of the history of Teen Services Sonoma (TSS). Although it closed nearly four years ago, nothing has replaced it. People continue to talk about what it provided for youth here in the Valley, said TSS Executive Director, Cristin Felso. "At a recent meeting with Hanna Boys Center, we were discussing ways to partner to give teens positive outlets with meaningful engagement, and we hit on the obvious answer: resurrect The Shop."
The idea took hold and the resulting Shop rebirth is a collaboration between Teen Services Sonoma and Hanna Boys Center.
Originally founded in 1999 in a dusty warehouse on the outskirts of Sonoma as a senior class project for budding garage bands, The Shop grew into a popular teen music venue. It was run by teens for teens, hosting live bands, open mics, music competitions, and interactive cult movie screenings. Every weekend the teens worked the door, ran the sound-board, managed the stage, sold concessions, and booked bands. The Shop gave local kids a much-needed outlet of their own in a city that catered mostly to adults and tourists. It offered youth a safe outlet where they could express themselves and feel a sense of ownership.
After a 13-year run, it sadly closed its doors in 2012 following the deaths of two beloved and key figures: Operation Youth founder John Randall, who oversaw and mentored the all-teen board, and entrepreneur Niels Chew who was complicit in donating and securing The Shop location.
No longer housed in a dusty warehouse, The Shop has found it's new home in Hanna's brand-new, state-of-the-art auditorium. However, staying true to its roots and mission, the 2016, re-imagined Shop is being run by a newly-minted board of directors comprised of 11 teens (both boys and girls), ranging in age from 15 to 17 years old. They attend meetings, discuss issues, make decisions, and are steering the new venture on their own terms.
The excitement surrounding opening night is palpable. Plans are well underway for the reggae-inspired evening, and board members are eagerly discussing food options, dress-codes and safety precautions. The Shop's own Code of Conduct states clearly that each teen is responsible for his/her own actions and that drugs, alcohol, and aggressive behavior will not be tolerated.
While The Shop is teen-run, there is a loyal and extremely active group of adult volunteers, Shop alumni, chaperones, and Hanna staff, who meet with The Shop Board and plan to attend every event, ready to offer assistance if necessary.
"Security and safety for the teens is paramount" said Hanna Boys Center Executive Director, Brian Farragher. "We want everyone to have a great time in a highly-supportive and positive environment. Hanna's own campus security will be on hand all evening, but keeping a very low profile."
Cristin Felso added, "We'll also be offering Teen Safe Ride on the event night. Kids can get vouchers from us at the event for a free, safe, taxi ride home."
The March 12th date is initially a one-time event - a test to see if the program is still viable given its new location and the millennial generation. Will the teens be able to step up, take charge, and bring The Shop back to life? The light, enthusiasm, and spirit in the young faces of the teen board would indicate: Yes, The Shop is set to roar.
Event Date: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday March 12, 2016
Teen Services Sonoma (TSS) provides a friendly environment in which teens develop their skills, self-confidence, and potential to become productive adults. Located in Boyes Hot Springs, it is both a safe haven and a place to learn. TSS offers youth a fully comprehensive "Ready to Work" program that includes work-readiness skills, work-based learning opportunities, mock job interviews, job placement, and coaching services. TSS guides teens on the pathway to a positive start in the workplace and prepares them for college, career, and life success.
Established in 1945, Hanna Boys Center provides residential treatment and educational services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to 100+ boys ranging in age from 13 to 18 years old. These boys often come from crisis-filled homes and communities, mostly in California, and have made a commitment to get their lives on track.
Hanna Boys Center relies solely on private donations and does not solicit or accept funds from any government or public funding agency, nor from the Catholic Church.