“It was programs like TSS’s Art Wednesday that kept me on the right path and fueled my creativity so I was able to get to this point in my education.”
A little about me:
Age 23. I was born in Sonoma. My mom is the Superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District and my dad is a chiropractor.
I love to spend my free time shooting videos and taking photos. I have always been really passionate about creating stories through my short films, and I love editing them. When I edit, I forget about everything else in the world, and it makes me so relaxed and happy. I also love camping, hiking, and swimming in nature!
What I remember about Teen Services:
I first got involved with Teen Services when I was a sophomore in high school. They had an after school art program at the No Name Café called Art Wednesday and all of my friends would hang out to paint and draw.
Art Wednesday was so cool because they gave us free art supplies and taught us fun painting techniques. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, and it felt like a sort of club or family environment. It gave us all a chance to express ourselves, but it was also an outlet from the long school day. With so many art programs being taken out of federal funding, these types of programs are so vital for teenagers. It was always a fun productive way to spend my time after school.
One of my favorite memories was painting on different canvases and being able to take them home and show my friends and family. It was amazing how many different art supplies they had to choose from, and it was awesome trying different mediums I would have never tried otherwise. Cristin [Felso] was always so kind and helpful that she felt like a mentor figure for all of us at Art Wednesday.
What I gained from Teen Services:
I learned the importance of having a comfortable, supportive friends group. I look back on my incredible experience, and it makes me want to help teens like Cristin helped us. It is one of the main reasons I am so interested in nonprofit work as a future career path.
Teen Services made me extremely passionate about volunteer and nonprofit work because I can look back and see how much it positively affected me. It helped me understand how important it is to have art and creativity in my life. As a director I have to find ways to keep things creative and interesting. School [should be] more than just papers and tests and programs like Teen Services gives teens great artistic outlets.
Where I am now and where I’m going:
I am a senior at San Francisco State, graduating this spring . My major is Broadcasting and Electronic Communication Arts with an emphasis in television and video production. I just finished my internship with The Commonwealth Club of California, where I was able to learn live A/V skills and develop my networking techniques. It was incredible learning from such influential people as Kermit Roosevelt III, Cindy Crawford, Van Jones – former Green Jobs Advisor for the Obama administration, and United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
I think I had a general idea that I wanted to work in video production when I first arrived at Teen Services, but I only recently realized TV directing was my niche. One of my current goals is to become a TV director but eventually I would love to start a nonprofit for LGBTQ+ youth in the Bay Area.
What are you proudest of?
I think I’m proudest of my work ethic in school and my career. Like many young teens it was difficult for me to focus in high school because the curriculum didn’t suit my learning style. I believe general education is extremely important, but once I found what I was passionate about in college, it made me want to work my hardest and reach my highest potential. It was programs like Art Wednesday that kept me on the right path and fueled my creativity so I was able to get to this point in my education.