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.

Community Bridges Family Resource Collective
La Manzana Community Resources

521 Main Street, Ste. Y, Watsonville
Live Oak Community Resources

1740 17th Ave., Santa Cruz
Mountain Community Resources

6134 Highway 9, Felton
Nueva Vista Community Resources
711 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

The Family Resource Collective works with individuals and families in Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley to build safe, healthy, and compassionate communities through education, resources, and advocacy. We offer a variety of bi-lingual, bi-cultural services to meet each family and individual’s needs. Our programs and services include food distribution, mental health counseling, parent education workshops, youth tutoring, and more.

“I like to come to the Nueva Vista afterschool homework program because I like to get help from the volunteers, they’re all so nice!” ~ Sophie, participant at Community Bridges’ Nueva Vista Community Resources

Dientes Community Dental Care
1830 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz
1500 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz
100 Pioneer Street, Suite D, Santa Cruz
1430 Freedom Blvd., Suite C, Watsonville

Dientes Community Dental Care is a full-service dental provider located throughout Santa Cruz County. We practice whole family dentistry including children, teens, adults, and seniors. Our patients are cared for by experienced pediatric and general dentists. As a non-profit dental service, our focus is on high-quality, affordable dental services, including exams, x-rays, fillings, sealants, and root canals. We accept Medi-Cal and we have affordable sliding scale fees for uninsured patients. We offer bi-lingual services. Se habla Español! Dientes, creating healthy smiles for over 30 years.

Gateway School K-8th grade
255 Swift Street, Santa Cruz
Gateway School has provided students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade with an exemplary education for over 50 years. 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. Visit www.gatewaysc.org to register for a tour and experience all that Gateway has to offer!

Jim Booth Swim School
Harvey West pool in Santa Cruz and Watsonville

Be a water wonder! Lessons for all ages! From our Little Otters swim class for parents and their babies to Aquaphobics, our adult beginner class, the whole family splashes together at Jim Booth Swim School. Little Otters is a gentle introduction to our 94-degree pools that will make you confident that you are guiding your infant to a happy water experience. Our lessons emphasize quality swimming in an exciting class taught by our caring, well-qualified teachers. The whole family can swim at Jim Booth Swim School!

Mount Madonna School
Preschool-12th grade
491 Summit Road, Watsonville

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 2024. Offering flexible tuition and transportation, 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.

Redwood Music Camps
[email protected]

Young musicians explore the music of Ireland, Scotland, and more! For players of violin, viola, flute, penny whistle, recorder, harp, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, accordion, small keyboards, and cello. Students practice in instrument-specific groups, and with the entire ensemble. Crafts include making your own bamboo flute! Teen Camp (June 10-15) is a one-week sleepover camp for ages 12-18 in Aptos. Kid Camp (July 22-Aug 2) is a two-week day camp for ages 7-13 in Scotts Valley; a family concert is on Saturday, August 3rd at 10am. Information and registration is online at CommunityMusicSchool.org.

Santa Cruz City Schools
Sam Rolens
[email protected]

At Santa Cruz City Schools, students find belonging, room to explore & high expectations. In Transitional Kindergarten & Kindergarten, students are welcomed into education with a play-centric, curiosity-driven experience. In Elementary, students learn in classrooms, gardens, kitchens, art studios, and in the field–and in our after-school enrichment programs. In Middle School, we encourage independence and emotional development as students push themselves academically. In High School, we provide countless opportunities: more AP classes, more athletics, more artistic and performance outlets, more leadership opportunities, more community connections and more supports to launch students into their next adventure in college or career excellence

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

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 2024.

Santa Cruz Waldorf School, PreK-8
2190 Empire Grade, Santa Cruz
[email protected]

Our middle school program serves as a vital bridge into high school, where students not only expand their academic, physical, organizational, and social skills but also develop the capacity to enthusiastically and empathetically engage with the world around them. In addition to our foundational curriculum, Spanish, art, physical education, handwork, gardening, music, drama, and cyber civics are taught. Students partake in adventure-filled overnight field trips, a diverse array of electives, and the culminating 8th-grade project where they delve into an area of personal interest under the guidance of a mentor, empowering them to cultivate their passions and deepen their self-understanding.

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.