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.


Gateway School K-8
Santa Cruz, CA
Located on the westside of Santa Cruz, Gateway School provides students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade with an exemplary education. Our Middle School offers a dynamic, challenging education that prepares teens for the fast-changing world by focusing on scholarship, citizenship, and compassion. The Kindergarten through 8th-grade model allows students to become leaders and engage in age-appropriate activities which leads to higher levels of self-esteem and academic achievement. Our graduates have an inquiring spirit, are confident, act with grace and courtesy, and stand up for those who need help. If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to visit our website or schedule a tour to experience all that Gateway has to offer!

Kirby School
Grades 6 through 12
425 Encinal St, Santa Cruz
Kirby School empowers students to shape their futures with confidence. Our independent middle and high school has been preparing students for college for over 25 years. In classes averaging 12 students, teachers are attuned 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. Ranked one of the top STEM schools in the nation by Newsweek. Kirby graduates attend excellent four-year colleges and universities.

Mount Madonna School
Preschool-12th grade
491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna
Mount Madonna School (MMS) prioritizes the social, emotional and physical well-being of its students, while emphasizing academic excellence, positive character development and creative self-expression. MMS strives to prepare well-rounded human beings who succeed in college, value collaboration, form meaningful relationships and engage with their communities, nation and the world. Now enrolling for fall 2022. Financial aid and transportation available, with bus stops throughout Santa Cruz County. MMS does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, medical condition, gender identity or gender expression.

Santa Cruz Montessori
Ages 18 months – 14 years
Main Campus (Primary and Elementary)
6230 Soquel Drive, Aptos
Winston Campus (Young Children’s Community and Jr. High)
244 Cabrillo College Drive, Soquel
Established in 1964, Santa Cruz Montessori is a non-profit school serving children 18 months to 14 years.  Our beautiful classrooms and outdoor environments engage the children’s senses as they learn.  Based on a deep understanding of child through adolescent development, our programs meet the interests and needs of our students, engaging and challenging them to do their best. Our Junior High program, Wavecrest, supports 7th and 8th grade students to develop self-discipline, confidence and peer connections through collaborative learning and community involvement. Students work weekly at Live Earth Farm and develop an understanding of their personal vision through community involvement and a challenging academic experience. Now accepting applications for Fall 2022

SLVUSD Charter School
325 Marion Ave, Ben Lomond
Since 1993, San Lorenzo Valley School District’s SLV Charter School has offered a range of programs that support a variety of learners. Active learning, parent involvement, and student voice are key components of our programs. In addition to supporting all academic areas, charter programs foster student creativity, social-emotional development, and the pursuit of individual student passions. Built on a foundation of strong ongoing teacher, student, and parent connection, SLV Charter boasts a wide variety of program structures including one 5-day a week program (6-8), six 2-4 day a week homeschool-hybrid programs (K-12), and an independent studies program (K-12).


Adventure Sports Unlimited
303 Potrero Street, #15, Santa Cruz
We teach infants through adults the joy of water through our Swim School. Our Ocean programs introduce families to our marine environments through the Seafood Foraging, and Kelp Pickling. Explore the world-renown underwater landscape of our local bays through our Open Water Scuba courses. It starts in our custom-built aquatics facility.

Be Natural Music
740 Water St, Santa Cruz, CA
(831) 515-8369
Learn and perform Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Motown, Pop & more at our two locations: Santa Cruz and Cupertino. We offer ongoing private Music Lessons, Real Rock Band classes for teens, & young adults, Workshops, and Summer Music Camps. We offer lessons on voice, piano/keyboard, guitar, bass, drums & percussion, saxophone, clarinet, ukulele, harp, theory and composition. Summer camps, kid & teen musicians showcase their talent & creativity as they compose original music, script music videos, and record their song on stage! The final high-quality music video is posted on our YouTube Channel to jump-start your kid’s career.

Community Boating Center, UCSC
790 Mariner Park Way
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
The UCSC Community Boating Center has been teaching local juniors how to sail for over 30 years. All classes are hands-on, co-ed classes, ages 8-16 and are taught in RS Quests, RS Visions, and Lasers. Students learn the basics in the protected Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor and progress to the beautiful Monterey Bay. Enjoy sailing in a safe, fun, and supportive environment with knowledgeable, experienced staff. Sign up today! (Adult classes are also available!)

Diversity Center
1117 Soquel Ave.
Santa Cruz, Ca
[email protected]
Each year, The Diversity Center reaches approximately 10,000 individuals through our onsite programs, outreach and education events, our work with school-based Gay/Straight Alliances, and our Triangle Speakers program. We fulfill our mission to advocate for, support, and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community by: Developing LGBTQ+ youth leaders in local middle and high schools, who help teach acceptance and promote positive LGBTQ+ messages to their peers; Creating connections, building community, and reducing isolation among LGBTQ+ seniors, veterans, youth, and the Latinx communit; Teaching acceptance and providing support for transgender individual; Educating the community at-large about key legislative issues that impact LGBTQ+ rights and equality

Happy Giving Hands
FB @ HappyGivingHandss
IG @Happy.Giving.Hands
[email protected]
Santa Cruz youth fighting period poverty with education, donation, and love. Local period product shelf at SLV tri-campus, near the cafeteria. Do you need period products, want to get involved in community service? Send us a message! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for information on our next period product collection drive!

Mountain Music School
(Formerly known as B Sharp)
216-A Mt. Herman Rd, Scotts Valley
(831)201-9605 (text or call)
Mountain Music School offers lessons in piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, and more! Our students and their families enjoy an enthusiastic, lighthearted atmosphere brought by our qualified instructors. Our philosophy is that lessons should be fun, and foster a lifelong love of music!

Monarch Services
233 East Lake Avenue
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 722-4532
550 Water Street Suite J-3
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-4030
All of our crisis intervention and prevention services are available in Spanish and English and are culturally sensitive. Printed materials are also available in both languages. Our outreach efforts have concentrated on poor Latino neighborhoods with residents that have several barriers to seeking services, including language, literacy and legal status issues, and cultural biases. We are extremely proud of our success in serving this special population.Empowering individuals, families and our communities to take action against violence and abuse.

Redwood Music Teen Camp
Community Music School
[email protected]
Weeklong overnight camp for teen musicians ages 12-18 begins June 13th. This full-immersion Celtic music experience is for players of violin, viola, flute, pennywhistle, pipes, recorder, harp, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, accordion, small keyboards, and cello. Students practice and perform in instrument-specific groups, with the entire ensemble, and in lots of informal jam sessions. Other activities include crafts, ping pong, movie night, Scottish dancing, a talent show, and a final concert. Information, COVID precautions, and registration online at CommunityMusicSchool.org.

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, www.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.

Santa Cruz Public Libraries
224 Church St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The Santa Cruz Public Libraries support teens throughout the County with safe spaces after school, bilingual homework help, reading comprehension tutoring with certified teachers, project-based learning, free WiFi, and lendable laptops and hotspots. Programs include JavaScript coding, Dungeons and Dragons, Chess Clubs, Teen Zine Club, Minecraft, and Afternoon STEAM. Teens can develop as leaders, steer library programs and spaces, and earn volunteer credits with our Advisory Council of Teens (ACT), which meets monthly in Capitola and in Felton. Of course, there’s print and online resources to help with schoolwork, find a great read, and just have some fun.

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.

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.

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

Sexual Assault
24-Hour Hotline


Teen Line
Teens Helping Teens
Text TEEN to 839863

Quit Smoking

Suicide Prevention Services

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.