Teen Action and Support Center

The Teen Action and Support Center (TASC) first opened its doors in 2005 and has been serving teenagers in need present in our community since.

TASC is a community organization focused on empowering teens to reach their full potential and make decisions on their own,” director of operations Jacqueline Perez said. “We want to increase visibility and community support for teens by connecting them with critical resources and positive mentorship. We want to provide an inclusive, physical space where all teens can find a sense of belonging.” 

TASC also offers support to teen mothers who are still in highschool through a program called First Steps.

“They come in once a month and do a psychoeducational group and provide girls with diapers and like clothes and goodie bags. They do different things on either nutrition, just parenting stuff in general, all kinds of support to make sure the girls are getting the support they need,” social worker Jennifer Keeling said. 

The workers involved in the First Steps program are very hands on and involved with the young women they are helping and mentoring. They make it a common practice to keep in contact with the mothers and have and provide open lines of communication for when they are needed at any time of the day, no matter the day. 

“We only see them once a month but even if we did need anything we can always text them because we have their numbers. They are always there when I need them, I can always rely on them,” senior Erica Martinez said. “They are like our moms now.” 

Although First Steps do not commonly continue to provide for teen mothers after they have graduated from high school, they do encourage and help young mothers find jobs, dream colleges, and scholarships to continue their journey in education. 

“The best advice they have given me is to stay in school and to graduate and to have a good future for my son,” Martinez siad. “They are actually helping us right now to get into colleges and get benefits.”

There is also a program called Thrive that provides alternative living arrangements for teens and young adults struggling with permanent housing.  

“If a kid comes to me and says something like ‘my parents are kicking me out of the house and I don’t have anywhere to go’ I can just call this person and then they will meet with that student on a daily basis and formulate a plan for the student to avoid homlessness,” Keeling said.

Despite the fact that TASC and The Station, and off shot of their main location, offers many programs for teenagers, they are always open to suggestions on new programs that are in demand. 

“It’s hard knowing that the supportive services we offer are necessary. I wish we did not have to deal with youth homelessness or resource insecurity,” Perez said. “I wish all teen parents received the support that they needed and that education was provided on how to keep themselves safe.”

Perez the head of operations believes that TASC is currently providing enough resources, but believes that they can always do more.

“Unfortunately, this is not the reality we live in, so ultimately, I wish we could do more to help teens who are experiencing hardships like homelessness and accessing resources to whatever is needed.  We are working on this though, in more ways than one,” Perez said. “TASC embraces teens as leaders and connects them to the people and the paths they need to not just survive but thrive.”

TASC is also offering a service called Day of Promise which provides teens obtain clothing for prom without any cost. 

“They were telling me ‘we have tons of false eyelashes so if you have any girls who would need them send them our way’,” Kelling said.

The workers and operators at TACS all recognize the challenges and struggles that teenagers are going through and will do the most that they can to help them. If TASC is unable to provide services to anyone over the age of 18 or even if they just don’t know how to help, they do know who can. So if there is ever a problem you are struggling with TASC can be the starting point in looking for help.

“I realized that my teenage years were probably the hardest years, and I recognize how important it is to focus on helping teens transition into adulthood with the knowledge they will need to succeed in life. It’s the least I can do for the generations that follow mine,” Perez said.