Services for Children & Youth

The mission of the Services for Children & Youth Department is to revolutionize the role of youth in society and to raise their expectations of respect and safety through role modeling, advocacy and education. Our programs are designed to empower at risk children and youth. We are working towards the time when all youth are treated with respect regardless of religion, race, class, age, gender, or sexual orientation.

We offer three different categories of programming for children and youth through preventative educationindividual mentoring, and support groups. All of our youth programming is gender-inclusive.

Warriors Youth Group
(Ages 12-18)

The Warriors 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, develop healthy relationships, interact with positive role models, and learn to problem-solve around challenges they experience in their everyday life. Through informational workshops, games, and discussions we explore healthy relationships, healthy expression of emotions, communication, and self-care while having fun. The Warriors Youth group meets weekly at the Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center in Santa Cruz from 5:30 - 7:00 PM.

“One thing I really liked about the group was the fact that it gave me a place to feel comfortable.”  –Youth, 14

“I learned to respect myself and others.”  –Youth, 13

 “I feel different after (Group).  Like, I'm more ready to live the rest of my life. This was really important to me,” –Youth, 15

 “I like that I can talk to the leaders about whatever is going on in my life.”  –Youth, 13

“We play games and do different activities each week, it’s fun!” –Youth, 12

One-on-One Mentoring
(Ages 12-18)

The mentor program is a fun way to provide support and build resiliency in young people. In the one-on-one mentor program, youth can meet with a trained staff advocate. The Youth Advocates offer a safe, supportive space to talk about challenging situations and learn problem solving skills.

“I can tell my mentor anything! We have so much fun too.” –Mentee

Kids Group
(Ages 0-11)

Trained volunteers provide a safe place for kids to play and engage with supportive mentors while their parent/guardian is participating in one of our support groups, financial literacy classes, parenting classes, or other services. Kids Club also provides additional opportunities for parent and child engagement through our weekly story time, which uses evidence based curriculum to promote healing for families.

Story Time
(Parents & Children Aged 0-6)

We have started a weekly trauma-informed story time that includes an evidence-based art therapy curriculum called A Window Between Worlds. This weekly story time is for children ages 0-6, their siblings, and their parents/guardians. The goal of Story Time is to provide a safe and fun space for families to enjoy books, songs, snacks, and art together. Story Time is intended to promote healing for the family unit by providing opportunities for art therapy, modeling healthy behavior, and giving children more opportunities for interactions with other children and safe adults. For more information, contact the Kids Club Supervisor at (831) 426-3062, ext. 238.


Preventative Education

Walnut Avenue offers gender-inclusive preventative education in the form of interactive workshops, both within its own home and also out in the community. Our youth advocates are happy to provide these workshops at no cost to our community partners, including schools and youth-oriented organizations: all we need is a time and a place! The youth advocates are also happy to tailor their workshops to the needs of their hosting organization to best meet the needs of the youth being served there.

For more information or to inquire about bringing in some of our youth advocates, please call our main office at (831) 426-3062, ext. 214.

Life Skills Workshops
Our Children & Youth department offers life skills workshops that stimulate discussion and awareness about a variety of important and often hard-to-discuss topics. These workshops encourage young people to critically examine themselves, their communities, and society as a whole.  Trained facilitators lead workshops in classrooms, after-school programs, group homes, and other community-based organizations. Our programs create an atmosphere that fosters self-esteem and self-awareness among everyone participating.

Healthy Relationships Workshops
The “Healthy Relationships” workshop series is a creative and interactive workshop which promotes healthy relationships and dialogue around issues of dating and domestic violence. This workshop has been created based on the high prevalence of teen dating violence and domestic violence across the United States and the world. Topics include teen dating violence, power and control, gender, and healthy communication with friends, parents, and dating partners. Facilitators create a comfortable atmosphere for youth to share and express their own values and beliefs around relationships. They are taught about local resources and ways to help their friends who may encounter teen dating violence or domestic violence.

“I really liked your program. I learned a lot, and it was really, really helpful. Thank you!”  –Workshop Participant

Interested in volunteering with kids and teens?

You can check out our Volunteering page for more information or call our main office at (831) 426-3062 and ask to speak with one of the supervisors of our youth services.

Funding for this program provided by

  • Appleton Foundation

  • CalOES

  • Kaiser Foundation

  • FEMA

  • County of Santa Cruz

  • City of Scotts Valley

It is the policy of Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center to provide equal employment, volunteer opportunities and services (EEO) to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices),national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (40 years and over), sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status, protected medical leaves (requesting or approved for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act), domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by federal, state or local law.