Teen Services Sonoma has been selected by the North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) to a 2017 Leaders of the North Bay Award in the category of Empowering the Latino Community.
“This honor would not be possible without the love, energy, and expertise of so many amazing people who have been part of our history and our success,” said Cristin Felso, executive director of the Springs-based nonprofit. “I will be accepting this award next month with two of them: Rebecca Hermosillo and Jean Hopeman.”
Hermosillo, (now with Congressman Mike Thompson’s office, was the executive director of the Valley of the Moon Teen Center (originally called El Nido) in 1995. “She recognized the need for a safe haven for Latino youth, a place where boundaries and tough love were coupled with respect and acceptance to help teens make good choices, Feslo said “She instilled a sense of family with her nightly dinners at the center, and guided four young Latinas in the formation of the Lovin’ Oven – TSS’s first micro-business.”
Hopeman, who combined a successful banking career with a Spanish language and literature major and a master’s degree in Latin American Affairs, “became our rock,” Felso said. “Seeing that our teens needed to make money but did not know how to get a job, she started conversations with local employers to see what they were looking for in employees. This was the first step toward what we now call our Ready to Work program.” Hopeman served on the board, and was responsible for writing grants to fund the organization.
The award will be presented at a November 3 luncheon in Santa Rosa. The other 2017 honorees are:
“Many thanks to our forever friend, Steve Page, president of Sonoma Raceway, for nominating us, and to NBLC for selecting us for this honor,” Felso said. “It belongs to many, especially our teens.”