Chop’s Teen Club is a multi-use recreation facility designed for teens. Chop’s is located in downtown Santa Rosa and is open opposite school hours to give teens a safe and productive place to belong and participate in activities, programs, workshops and workforce ready courses when they are not in school. Chop’s Teen Club has been open and serving teens since October of 2001.
When Charles “Chop” DeMeo passed away in 1995, he left the bulk of his estate to the Community Foundation Sonoma County (CFSC), to benefit the teens of Santa Rosa and homeless mothers. Charles “Chop” DeMeo saw teens as assets to the community and wished to build a bridge to the future by creating a productive environment for teens to thrive. With the portion of funds designated for teens, the CFSC formed a nonprofit and the teens decided to name it CHOP’S to honor the man who made the Teen Club possible. Later the words “Teen Club” were added to the name for clarification. Today, we are proud of our name, “Chop’s Teen Club” and think Charles “Chop” DeMeo would be too!
Membership is open to teens in grades 7-12 with a Santa Rosa address or who attend a Santa Rosa school. The cost is at least $1.00 per year. We encourage families who can afford more to pay what they think is suitable for an annual membership. Chop’s Teen Club is open opposite of school hours.
The interest from the DeMeo Memorial Endowment Fund pays for about 52% of our 2016 budget. Chop’s staff and Board of Directors work diligently throughout the year to fundraise for the remaining 48%, which represents about $360,000. Our fundraising efforts allow us to keep the membership at $1.00 per year so no teen is turned away for lack of finances.
Chop’s Teen Club has approximately 1,100 members. We entertain 20,000 teen visits annually, with an average of 60 daily visits during the school year and 90 visits during the summer.
To become a member, a teen needs to complete the Member Form, have a parent or guardian sign it, and agree to the Chop’s Code of Conduct. The Member Form can be downloaded from the website under the Forms section or it can be completed at Chop’s Teen Club. Once the form is completed, the membership fee of at least $1.00 is paid (we encourage families who can afford more to pay a fee they think is suitable).
The teens are well supervised at Chop’s Teen Club. When Chop’s is open for drop-in activities, each program area has a staff mentor assigned to oversee that area. There is also a supervisor that acts as a rover throughout the building. The supervisor is available to trouble shoot issues, take people on tours, connect with and mentor the members, and provide overall supervision. All staff have been trained in youth development and make it a priority to ensure everyone is emotionally and physically safe. The Chop’s member behavior guidelines are based on respect for self, others, the equipment and the facility. Members are given ample opportunity to follow the behavior guidelines. If a member decides not to follow the behavior guidelines, an Incident Report is completed and the parent or guardian is notified with a phone call. If a member receives two Incident Reports within a month, the member is suspended for at least one week. A notice of concern is mailed to the home and a parent meeting with Chop’s staff and the member is required for the teen to re-enter Chop’s. At the parent meeting a behavior contract that outlines the expectations of the member are agreed upon and signed. Our goal is to help each member be successful and every effort is made by staff to support each teen in achieving success.
Chop’s employs 5 full-time and 18 part-time staff. All staff must pass the Department of Justice fingerprint clearance and have First Aid and CPR certification. They are trained in youth development and the Chop’s Teen Club behavior guidelines. The staff is committed to Chop’s Teen Club core values (see “What is the Purpose of Chop’s Teen Club?” below). They share the philosophy that the different program areas are vehicles for empowering youth to be their best selves. All staff members have gone through the selection process and have been chosen based on the unique talent they bring to the Chop’s Team. Staff members are selected based on qualifications related to program needs.
Our mission is “to provide a safe, fun and productive place where teens engage, connect, and discover their true potential”. We are a prevention-based organization that is open opposite of school hours to give teens a positive place to go when they are not in school. Chop’s Teen Club uses the youth development asset model as the foundation for program planning. The model acknowledges that all youth progress through critical developmental transitions, and that optimum healthy development is best achieved by promoting assets or strengths in youth, families, communities and schools. Based on the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, Chop’s Teen Club focuses on three core values:
- Providing and Demonstrating Caring Relationships
- Setting High Expectations
- Opportunities to Shape Their Future
We provide the following activities and services designed to meet the unique needs of teens:
- An “out of the school day” drop-in program for teens that focuses on respect for self and others and on developing a sense of belonging. Chop’s provides a safe place for teens to connect with friends and be mentored by staff, as well as participate in FREE activities such as sports including basketball, climbing wall, volleyball dodgeball and more, art, sewing, technology activities including maker projects, homework tutoring, music lessons and more.
- Enrichment classes and workshops designed to promote health while teaching and improving skills in the following focus areas: Art, pottery, sewing, sports, tutoring, technology, music, sound recording, culinary, dance, field trips, and more.
- Workforce Ready Programs like the Awesome Pretzel Cart Work Ready program which focuses on work readiness skills, hands on work experience and career exploration guidance, Barista Training Certificate Program that teaches employable skills for work in a coffee shop, Culinary & Catering Program focusing on culinary basics and career guidance and exploration in the field of Culinary Arts, Digital Video Making, an introduction to digital video and basic camera operation, Beginning and Advanced Photoshop, financial literacy workshops that focus on how to save money, investments, safe banking practices, etc. and our interactive career focused website called JobsMadeReal.com., featuring videos of people doing their jobs, where teens gain a real understanding of different career paths and what type of education and training are needed for them.
- Opportunities for teens to help prepare, cater and assist at the following events: Back to the Future Gala Fundraising Event, Art Gala, Open House, and others.
- Leadership opportunities including Interact (Jr. Rotary), Youth Empowerment Council, Member Council, Youth Empowerment and Leadership Conference, volunteering, etc.
- Evening activities on the weekends including open mic nights, comedy nights, movie nights, LAN parties, dances and much more.
Yes you can if you are an organization that qualifies for the Welfare Exemption. We provide rental space when we are not open. Please call us at 707-284-2467 for more information.