2010-10-07 / Community

TeenAssist card offers help in crisis

By Stephanie Bertholdo bertholdo@theacorn.com

Teen Assist cards that list support hotlines for teenagers facing a crisis are being distributed by the Conejo Valley/Las Virgenes Future Foundation.

Executive Director Karen Malatesta said the foundation has delivered the wallet-size cards to high schools, teen centers, libraries and other locations where teens gather. The cards provide a directory of crisis, support and youth volunteer hotline numbers for area teens in trouble.

Teen Assist cards originated as a project by students who participated in the foundation’s Youth Congress in 1995. Youth Congresses allow students to conceive of new ideas and present them to their peers in workshops or seminars.

“Each even numbered year, the phone numbers are verified, new entries are added and a fresh supply is printed,” Malatesta said about the card revisions.

The foundation updates the cards to include new information and replenish the inventory at areas where teens are most likely to find them.

A volunteer opportunity section was added in 2008 as a response to interest shown from area youths to become involved in their community.

The cards contain contact information for teens facing many issues, including alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, pregnancy, job hunting and volunteering. The cards were designed by Drew Cartwright of Barry Ridge Graphic Design.

Malatesta said Cartwright completes each revision of the cards as a community service project. A grant from the city of Calabasas paid for the printing and lamination of thousands of cards, she said.

The Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation is a regional think tank whose board of trustees is made up of community leaders who look toward the future regarding a variety of issues and segments of the community. The foundation has been providing services and learning opportunities for youths, seniors and the entire community for more than 38 years.

Malatesta said the Future Foundation has “planted the seeds” that have led to many key developments throughout the region. The development of a regional art museum, which is slated for Thousand Oaks, was born out of a study by the foundation.

A complete list of projects is available at www.clvff.org.

Organizations and individuals interested in receiving or distributing Teen Assist cards or learning more about the Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation can call the foundation office at (818) 880-1054.

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