Teenage school friends smiling to camera, close up

Teen Resource Guide

Teenage school friends smiling to camera, close up

It’s here! Every spring Growing Up in Santa Cruz publishes an annual guide to resources available to teens (and their parents) in the Santa Cruz County area. Our goal is to provide an accessible, helpful list of resources to help teens and families navigate the complex needs of teens in ways that promote healthy avenues for growth, exploration and development. The resources in this guide offer support for dealing with academic, peer pressure and relationship issues, as well as recreational, job training and volunteer opportunities.

We encourage you to share this guide with your teen and post a copy up in your house so your teen has easy access to the resource list. As some topics may be difficult for teens to request support with, we also suggest giving a copy of this guide, and especially of the phone and text hotlines at the end of the guide, to your teen.

Health Counseling and Support


Alanon’s Alateen Family Groups are a fellowship of family and friends of alcoholics and drug users. At Alateen meetings, teens that have parents or friends who are alcoholics can discuss their problems in an environment without adults and in complete anonymity. At Watsonville High School, students may attend Alateen meetings during the school day on campus. Please contact the school for information on dates and times of meetings. Please call Alateen for updated times and other locations

Autism Family Network Santa Cruz
2927 Leotar Circle
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Autism Family Network Santa Cruz is dedicated and committed to “Bridging the Gap” within our communities for those individuals on the Autism Spectrum and those with Special Needs by providing education, resources, special events, public awareness, acceptance and inclusiveness for all. We strive to assist our community for the supporting of Autism Awareness, Acceptance and Activities while empowering individuals to embrace our differences and motivate inclusiveness. Autism Family Network is about inspiring and motivating those in the community to “Be The Difference” for individuals on the Autism Spectrum and special needs.

Camp Recovery Center
Scotts Valley

The Camp is a chemical dependency program that provides a wide range of services for adolescents. The Family Program consists of lectures, videos, discussion and group activities. Residential treatment takes place on 25 wooded acres and offers counseling, group therapy, relapse prevention education, 12-step meetings, art therapy and recreational activities.

Dignity Health Medical Group
1820 41st Avenue, Suite D, Capitola

Dignity Health Medical Group— Dominican is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the Santa Cruz community. Our board-certified pediatricians and family practitioners deliver comprehensive care for teens and young adults, offering a range of services from preventative health care (including the HPV vaccine) to the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic diseases. Additionally, our Urgent Care Center is open seven days a week (365 days per year, including holidays) from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Conveniently located on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz, we offer same-day treatment for non-emergency medical conditions such as flu, colds, cuts, and fractures.

1_GUIDE bennedictNannette Benedict DDS & Associates
5015 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley
Teenagers and their parents will enjoy our newly expanded space. We have the latest high-tech instruments which I enjoy showing teenagers, including CAD/CAM crowns with 3-D imagery and a 3-D printer. We can use Invisalign with teenagers! They can enjoy their own playlist with our headphones or watch programs on the IPad mounted over the chair. We are open 5 days a week and have 2 specialists: periodontist and endodontist to better accommodate families.

FOOD WHAT is a youth empowerment and food justice program using food, through sustainable agriculture and health, as the vehicle for growing strong, healthy and inspired teens. We partner with low-income and struggling youth to grow, cook, eat and distribute healthy, sustainably raised food and address food justice issues in our community. Teens can participate through spring internships, summer jobs, fall business management opportunities and through community events on the farm.

Nueva Vista Community Resources
711 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz
The Familia Center is a Latino-based community resource center that offers both recreational and educational programs for youth. Homework help, academic help and support are provided. Occasional field trips, recreational activities and outings are also available.

Planned Parenthood
1119 Pacific Ave., Suite 200, Santa Cruz
398 South Green Valley Rd, Watsonville
24-hour Facts-of-life Hotline
Planned Parenthood also provides educational services through schools and community agencies and has a peer education program. Planned Parenthood also sponsors support groups. For more information about any of our programs, please call (831) 758-8902, ext. 213. A 24-hour Facts of Life Hotline, 1-800-711-9848, and our Teen Wire website, teenwire.com, also provide general information regarding reproductive health and birth control methods.

Pregnancy Resource Center of Santa Cruz County
1570 Soquel Dr. Ste 3, Santa Cruz 95065 or
138B Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 95060
831.475.2200 or 831-454-8481
Pregnancy Resource Center was founded in 1983 and continues to serve the women, families and students of Santa Cruz County with competent, compassionate FREE medical care. Our services include abortion options, pregnancy tests, ultrasound, counseling, parenting classes, material assistance, housing, post-abortion recovery, to name only a few.

Salud Para La Gente
204 East Beach St., Watsonville
A primary health care network with 12 clinic sites, including 7 school-based clinics in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. It also offers Gay and Proud, a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans- gender youth that provides a safe environment to socialize, develop self-esteem and leadership skills, and share information about identity and relationships. This program involves mostly monolingual Spanish speaking youth ages 14-19. The clinics also provide confidential pregnancy and HIV testing.

Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition
1070 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition offers many opportunities for community members interested in smoking and other tobacco issues that impact our county. The Coalition also has lots of information on how to quit smoking. Call to request educational brochures or a list of classes in Santa Cruz County.

The Sensory Toolbox
[email protected]
This is the place for education and resources about autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder. With all of the growth and transition that happens in the teenage years, sensory issues can become problematic in new and unexpected ways. As a community, we tackle your child’s everyday sensory challenges, from creating sensory strategies to finding treatment services. Diana is a registered occupational therapist who specializes in pediatric sensory issues. You can read her sensory tips, find products, and get a free Sensory Toolbox guide at thesensorytoolbox.com

Survivors Healing Center
Survivors Healing Center is a safe and confidential place for survivors of child sexual abuse. Our goal is to empower those victimized by sexual abuse and to prevent sexual abuse of children and youth in our community. We provide a safe and supportive healing environment Shifting from sexual violence to a trauma in- formed culture based on safety, trust, collaboration and empowerment.

1_GUIDE UltradermUltraderm | California Skin Institute
3311 Mission Dr., Santa Cruz 95065
(831) 272-0936
There are many opinions on the internet about skincare and ingredients such as salicylic acid, antioxidants, benzoyl peroxide, or glycolic acid. Ultraderm | California Skin Institute is a premier dermatology practice in Santa Cruz helping teens with their acne, eczema, melasma, and more. Trust our board-certified dermatologists and specialists to take the guesswork out of your skincare routine and customize a treatment plan based on your skin type and needs. We are accepting new patients. Visit our website or call to make an appointment.

Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center
303 Walnut Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831- 426-3062
Warriors Group provides youth aged 12-18 with the support they need during their teen years. We provide a safe space for youth to build their self-esteem, learn skills to form healthy relationships, interact with positive role models, and learn to problem-solve around challenges they experience in their life. Through informational workshops, games, and discussions we explore healthy relationships, communication, and self-care while having fun. Once a month, we also host a dance class, movie night, and a culture night! Warriors youth group meets weekly at the Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center in Santa Cruz from 5:30 – 7:00 PM.

YMCA of Watsonville
27 Sudden St., Watsonville
The YMCA offers a variety of programs for young people that combine fitness, education and entertainment while focusing on developing positive self-images and leadership skills. These programs include aquatics and karate classes, Night Hoops basketball league.

1740 17th Ave, Santa Cruz
[email protected]
YouthSERVE is dedicated to connecting youth, ages 11-17, with rewarding community service projects across the Santa Cruz County. Under the direction of adult volunteer leaders, YouthSERVE volunteers contribute their talents to making positive change in our community.

Youth Services
709 Mission St., Santa Cruz
241 East Lake Ave, Watsonville
Youth Services is a component of Encompass Community Services that serves families and adolescents by helping them find positive solutions to the wide range of challenges facing youth today. They offer numerous programs at their two locations, some at no cost and others on a sliding scale. There are weekly therapy groups as well as a one-time use program. Youth Services works closely with the juvenile justice system as well as city schools and various community service agencies. Many more services and programs are available, please call or visit the website for more information.

Recreaction, Entertainment, and Enrichment

Adventure Sports Unlimited
303 Potrero Street, #15, Santa Cruz
Adventure Sports Unlimited (ASU) is the premier store for aquatics instruction in Santa Cruz. We teach infants through adults the joy of water through our Swim School. Our Ocean programs introduce families to our magnificent marine environments through the Seafood Foraging, and Kelp Pickling. We explore the world-renown underwater landscape of Monterey and Carmel Bays through our Open Water Scuba courses. It all starts in our custom-built aquatics facility with our tropically heated pool including Jacuzzi, and classroom. We want to make your entry into the water world truly enjoyable. ASU-you deserve it!

Cabrillo Extension Summer Youth Camps
Summer 2020 brings more camps for TEENS! All new this summer is Girls Build, Kids Build, Young Triton Running Camp, Small Metals, Glass Arts Camp, Advanced Guitar, World Cuisines, Cooking Around the US, Junior Tennis, Python Programmers, 3D Game Labs with Unity, Generative Art & Web Apps in JavaScript, Make Your Own Movies—Storytelling through Digital Media, Make Your First Multiplayer App, and many more! Back by popular demand is Girls Code, Virtual Reality, SS ROV Camp (underwater robotics), Aerial Arts, Mini Mermaids Running Camp, Sports Camps, and Youth Leadership Academy. Join us for one week—or all summer long!

Four Points Youth Camp 
Pacific Cultural Center, Veteran’s Memorial Building, Orchard School, Aptos 
[email protected] 
Four Points Youth Camp is a new summer day camp with activities designed to broaden every camper’s horizon. Serving campers in grades K-8, our activities include sports, arts and crafts, technology, and traditional camp games. These activities are designed to cater to each age group. With new unique themes each week, every camp session is a fresh experience.

French Tutoring
Sophie Veniel
Customized French tutoring specializing in middle and high school students. Learning French can be one of the most rewarding educational opportunities. As a French native, I am passionate about teaching and sharing my language skills. I offer simple steps to understand grammar, build vocabulary to gain confidence in speaking while learning at your own pace. I offer on-site and online lessons via Skype.

1GUIDE_GatewayGateway School K-8
Where Experience and Innovation Meet
Santa Cruz, CA
Gateway School’s Middle School offers a dynamic, challenging education that prepares teens for the fast-changing world by focusing on scholarship, citizenship, and compassion. Using neuroscience and research to inform our program, we teach reasoning, collaboration, kindness, and the other essential skills that lead to academic excellence and personal integrity. Small class sizes, individual attention, robust electives, and a unique approach to Science Fair ensure that Gateway Middles School graduates are well prepared intellectually, socially and emotionally to meet the challenges of college preparatory high schools and beyond. We invite you to join us for our School Day Tour on April 14 to experience our dynamic classrooms in action.

Good Shepherd Catholic School
Preschool – 8th grade
2727 Mattison Lane
Santa Cruz 95065
Welcoming children of all faiths for over 55 years, our highly qualified faculty and staff provide a well-rounded curriculum that is project-based and faith-driven. Spanish, art, and coding classes are part of the school’s curriculum with technology integrated throughout the school day. The school’s focus on community service gives the students numerous opportunities to learn and practice Catholic social teachings firsthand. Students may participate in the school’s highly successful interscholastic sports program including golf, flag football, basketball, lacrosse, and soccer beginning at grade two. After-school care is available until 5:30 PM. Please join us at our Middle School Information Night on Wednesday, March 18 at 6:00 PM. For more information, call 831.476.4000 or visit our website at gsschool.org.

International Student Services Santa Cruz
[email protected]
Host Families being sought now. The making of a friendship between families here and overseas is an amazing experience providing enriching connections for a lifetime. Getting to know about our world through their eyes and the sharing of cultures makes the world smaller and creates an understanding in love and acceptance. It is a lot of fun! Make a friend you can visit. Here’s the info to have this happen for your family: Summer groups from Italy & France, visiting for two & three weeks. High School Term kids from Italy & Germany. Student interests: Tennis, soccer, art, Scouts, cooking!

Kirby School
Grades 6 through 12
425 Encinal St, Santa Cruz
Kirby School empowers students to shape their futures with confidence. Our independent, non-sectarian middle and high school has been preparing students for college for 25 years. In classes averaging 12 students, teachers are responsive to each learner’s strengths and interests. Our rigorous academic and arts curriculum, intensive study paths, and inspiring faculty challenge each student based on their interests and readiness, rather than grade level. Kirby graduates go on to attend excellent four-year colleges and universities.

Mount Madonna School, Pre/K-12
491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna
Mount Madonna School: bridging tradition and innovation, where individuals are honored and community is celebrated. Offering a play-based hybrid Pre/K program on a 375-acre forested campus, mixed-grade buddy activities, environmental education, performing and visual arts, competitive middle and high school athletics (2019 D-V California state girls volleyball champions!). excellent academics, and unique learning journeys. We strive to prepare well-rounded human beings who succeed in college, value collaboration, form meaningful relationships and engage with their communities, nation and the world. Transportation available, with convenient bus stops throughout Santa Cruz County. Accredited by CAIS and WASC.

1_GUIDE NIKE CAMPNike Sports Camps at UC Santa Cruz
1-800-NIKE-CAMP (645-3226)
Train with Division III UC Santa Cruz and top local coaches on the UCSC home turf in summer 2020. Improve your skills, make new friends, and experience what it’s like being a student athlete at one of California’s top summer camp destinations. Youth, adult, day, overnight, week, and weekend programs offered.

City of Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation Department
831.420.5270 Online registration opens Saturday, April 11 and Monday, April 13 for in person and phone registration for City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation summer programs. Register for our popular summer camps and junior guards for an active, fun-filled summer. For the adventure-seekers, there’s stand up paddling, kayaking, and rock climbing. Nurture your creative side with dance and art camps or expand your knowledge with science and LEGO camps. Go to santacruzparksandrec.com to view our activity guide or call 420-5270. From the beach to parks and everywhere in between, there’s something for everyone!

SC Publuc LibrariesSanta Cruz Public Libraries
224 Church St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The Santa Cruz Public Libraries offers a safe environment after school and tools that support student success. We provide homework centers with computers, printers, and Wi-Fi; online and in-person homework help; 24/7 access to research tools; and project-based STEAM programs. There’s always something fun happening at SCPL, including arts, crafts, and activities; and books, movies, and music in multiple formats. Join the Advisory Council of Teens (ACT) in East County to get involved with the library and earn Community Service Credits. Find yourself in the Library!

Santa Cruz Soccer Camp
For over 30 years our vision of joy and adventure remains. Almost all coaches have been young players who joined the harmony and magic of the camp, and have graduated through our Leadership Development Program. From the inspiration and resonance experienced at Delaveaga Park during 10- week-long summer camps, the coaches and directors are in service to the new paradigm celebrating the Evolution of competition.

Santa Cruz Waldorf School, PreK-8
2190 Empire Grade, Santa Cruz
[email protected] 
Santa Cruz Waldorf School nurtures the whole human being in every individual, cultivating capacity of head, heart and hands. We offer a rich and balanced curriculum in which intellectual and artistic development are both vital and fully integrated. Specialty teachers work alongside class teachers to provide students with diverse experiences in language, movement, music, arts, athletics and gardening. Our magical, rural campus is nestled in the redwoods above USCS. Our community is warm and joyful. We are committed to protecting childhood, supporting each individual, respecting nature and all life. Santa Cruz Waldorf School cultivates self-directed, empathetic and free-thinking individuals with the courage and capacities to serve an ever-evolving humanity.

Thomas Farm Films
9515 Soquel Drive, Suite 213
Aptos, CA 95003
Located on an organic farm in Aptos, Ca—Thomas Farm Films is a non-profit organization that educates children how to make movies. From script to screen, our hands-on curriculum promotes creativity, self-confidence, and critial thinking…resulting in short films that will be screened together at local theaters in Thomas Farm Film Festivals! ALL children can learn the craft, as we offer partial & full scholarships for those in need.

LGBTQ Resources

Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) in Santa Cruz County

A Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) or Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) is a student-run club which provides a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex & questioning (LGBTIQ+) students and their straight allies to meet, sup- port each other, talk about issues re- lated to sexual orientation and gender identity, and work to end homophobia and transphobia.

Queer Youth Task Force (QYTF)
Chair: Stuart Rosenstein

Dedicated to improving the quality of life for all LGBTIQ+ youth in Santa Cruz County, as well as children and siblings raised in homes where LGBTIQ+ people live. Projects include: Queer Youth Leadership Awards; Safe Schools Project, Transgender Teen Project; Leadership Development Program; and Adult Ally Project. Middle School & High School Internships Available.

The Diversity Center
(The Santa Cruz County LGBTIQ+ Community Center)
1117 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

The Diversity Center is the LGBTIQ+ community center of Santa Cruz County. Services provided include a drop-in and meeting space; a lending library of over 2000 books; resources; a cyber center; youth weekly “Meet-Up” events in South & North County; senior programs; transgender programs; and a LGBTIQ+ Resource Directory. Visit the website for open hours.

Crisis Phone Numbers

AIDS Hotline

California Youth Crisis 24-Hour Hotline

Domestic Violence 24-Hour Hotline


National Runaway Safeline
24-hour hotline-will relay messages

Parental Stress Hotline 831.724.2879

Sexual Assault 24-Hour Hotline

Teen Line – Teens Helping Teens
Text TEEN to 839863

Quit Smoking

Suicide Prevention Services 831.458.5300

This is by no means a complete list of all the teen resources and programs in Santa Cruz County. GUiSC is not responsible for any errors or omissions, nor does inclusion in this listing constitute our endorsement of a program. Please call to verify the information listed.