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Working -- Lisa Schoenle

-- Story by Mary A. Castillo, photo by TKTK


Dedicated to teens

It’s power hour time


After the bus drops them off, the teens of the Laguna Beach Boys &

Girls Club hurry through the back courtyard and line up at the door to

the Teen Center. Standing out to greet them is Lisa Schoenle, director of

Teen Youth Services to adults, but older sister and sometimes no-nonsense


mentor to the teens.

“The worst thing I could ever do is send someone to the ‘other side,”’

Schoenle said, pointing to the wall that separates the Teen Center from

the sixth grade and younger crowd. “So when someone cops an attitude,

that’s where they end up.”

But before her group gets started on writing the Mother’s Day cards

that they’ll pass out at a local retirement center or pile into the van

for a beach cleanup project, Schoenle gets everyone to settle down for


“Power Hour,” time dedicated to homework and reading.

Creating good citizens

For the most part “her kids,” as Schoenle calls them, don’t come here

to cop attitudes. They come to the Teen Center to participate in a

variety of projects and programs organized by Schoenle.

“I want the teens to become responsible, caring citizens who are

concerned about their community and others,” said Schoenle, who has been

with the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club since 2000.


A big part of her job is to organize and run five core programs that

emphasize leadership and character development, health and life skills,

the arts, education and career development and sports, recreation and


“Lisa goes way above and beyond,” said Will Robinson, assistant

director of teen youth services. “She’s here easily 10 to 12 hours a day

setting up programs and events to keep the kids away from the things that

can get them in trouble.”

Close ties

The Laguna Niguel resident first joined the Boys & Girls Club of

Capistrano Valley after moving from Minnesota in 1999. With five years of

teaching experience under her belt, Schoenle wanted to continue working

with kids but on a more one-on-one level.

“As a teacher I couldn’t always interrupt class and counsel a student

who I knew was suffering through a fight with their best friend,”

Schoenle said.

However, it’s clear as Schoenle checks in on each and every teen in

the room, that her relationships with her charges are built in mutual

respect and admiration.

Ashley Garcia, a 12-year-old member of the Surf Breakers Keystone Club

said, “She helped me become a person who wants to help rather than just

sit around and do stuff for myself.”