Aug 102014
 

trisha & ryanOne year ago today, we were thrilled to have been a small part of Trisha & Ryan’s wedding celebration.  In honor of  their first anniversary, we thought we’d share some images from their spectacular wedding day. You’ll see, as we did, that this is couple with great style & grace.

What an inspiring wedding and reception.  A perfect combination of tradition, fun and comfortable elegance.

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The photos you see here were captured beautifully by JustinElement Productions.

 

Their epic day of celebration began at Pacific Palms Resort where Trisha and Ryan prepared (and played) a bit with their attendants pre-ceremony.

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A traditional wedding ceremony (tissue time) was held at St. Denis Catholic Community Church. This couldn’t have been a more spiritually meaningful or stunningly beautiful location.  Not to mention the cutest flower girls & ring bearers ever.

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Trisha and Ryan enjoyed their first brief photo-op as Mr. & Mrs. while en-route to their reception in downtown Los Angeles.  Here they are heading over to MOCA (The Museum of Contemporary Art) -

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And the pièce de résistance…  the awe-inspiring Vibiana.

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The reception was as magical as you might imagine of this glamorous couple.  With wining and dining, dancing and romancing – the celebration was picture perfect.

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Aug 032014
 

Whatever you want to call them —  we think Fruit of the Heirlooms are one of summer’s most delicious gifts from the garden.  Sure, they can be odd-shaped & come in strange color combo’s, but they grab attention at the farmers’ market, in the produce aisle, and on our tongues!  So, while we may not agree on pronunciation, you will enjoy a few facts about this flavorful fruit and some tasty ways to use them in your kitchen, from our own Executive Chef, Shahan Mouradyan.  Bon Appetit!

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One of the most utilized and favorite ingredient among chefs all over the world is fresh-for-the-picking right now, during the heat of the summer.  Intro fade-in…   the heirloom tomato.   This vibrantly  colored, sweet, and refreshing ball of joy is one of the most versatile ingredients when in season.  Weather is warm?  Perfect – let’s make a Cubed Heirloom Tomato Salad with fresh-shaved Grana Padano Cheese, thin sliced Fennel, Kalamata Olives and White Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Breezy Summer night?  No problem – let’s put together a Pasta Primavera with lightly sautéed Heirloom Tomatoes, Summer Squash and fresh-picked Basil.  Whatever you are in the mood for, the heirloom tomato is going to be a great addition to your table.  With its bright, spirited, playful colors and sweet flavor, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and your guests’. 

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(photo from: www.loveandlemons.com)

Some of you might be asking; what is the difference between a regular tomato and an heirloom tomato?  For starters, the heirloom tomato is much more dynamic and flamboyant than your everyday tomato.  Beautiful varieties such as the Green Zebra, Ananas Noire and German Red Strawberry will stand out over any average, run-of-the-mill red tomato.  The heirloom tomato also has a rougher and more rugged look to it, with odd and intriguing shapes that will make even the most experienced grocery shopper stop and admire in their perfectly ripened glory. 

The name “heirloom” comes from the types of seeds that are used to grow the plants.  Heirloom seeds are passed down from generation to generation and date back for decades. You will often see heirloom beets, radishes, apples and all kinds of fruits and veggies trying to entice people with their heirloom names. 

Over the years, the heirloom tomato has gained a lot of popularity.  This may be because more and more chefs are using them on their menus because of their look and flavor.  Perhaps also because of the relatively new “foodie” culture we have developed here in the United States.  Ten years ago, if I had given the average person an heirloom tomato, they would probably think it was deformed or sick and throw it away. 

My grandfather has a vegetable garden and loves growing his tomatoes every summer.  Awhile back, I gave him some heirloom seeds to plant (the Ananas Noire variety, which has a beautiful golden color with hints of red and green slurred throughout the tomato).  A few months later I came back to see how the plants were doing, and sure enough he said that they were bad, deformed, and “weird”. Needless to say, he threw away about a 100 pounds of this golden produce.  As you can imagine, I felt like a little kid that had his stash of candy taken away from him.  I was devastated. 

Since the heirloom tomato has now become more of a household name, growers have been producing some of the most beautiful varieties of the tomato that we have seen in years.  Baby heirlooms have been a hot item and are perfect to use for a Caprese Skewer with fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Opal Basil and a light drizzle of Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar from Modena.  Besides the baby heirlooms, growers have slowly started cross-breeding the already pretentious tomato.  Their efforts are resulting in some of the most ravishing produce you will ever see.

Because we’re now in the heat of the summer season, keep an eye out for all types of heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers’ markets.  They’ll sell out quick, so get them while you can!  If you have never tried them, I highly suggest you take one home, slice its beautiful and juicy flesh with a serrated knife, put it on a arctic-white platter and season it ever so gently with Himalayan Rock Salt and fresh-cracked Pepper.  Your mind, body and soul will thank you forever, and, I promise that you won’t feel the same way about a perfectly red, round, boring tomato ever again.

Shahan Mouradyan
Executive Chef @ Above All Catering & Events

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Jul 072014
 

We see a lot of weddings and really get a kick out of all the little twists on tradition that are unique to every one of them. With instant inspiration available via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites, couples have become incredibly creative at putting their own personalities into the party.  We are loving it!

One tired tradition in desperate need of an update is, the Wedding Guest Book.   Seldom has it ever come out of a moving box let alone trigger great memories of an amazing day.  So….   it happened.  Modern couples are designing new and improved Guest Book ideas that aren’t even a Book.  (Well, sometimes it’s a book, but you know what we mean.)  Instead, it’s a creative combination of each pair’s own interests and personalities.

Why not have a “signature” style for collecting guest signatures?  We do it for cocktails.  The sky’s the limit, but here are a few ideas that may spark some of your own great guestbook concepts…

Where in the World Did Your Guests Come From – and – Where’s the Next Great Place to Visit?

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We fell in love with this stroke of sharpie genius at a recent wedding we catered in Malibu for Hilary & Mike.  Not sure if it was their idea or inspired by their amazing Coordinator, Charley, from Bluebell Events.  In any case, it was awesome.  (photos by:  Holly Ireland Photography)

It’s Kind of a Book.  But Better.

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This photo-journal took the place of a traditional guest book at Trisha & Ryan’s wedding.  It’s almost time for their 1st year anniversary and they will no doubt be looking back at this journal to enjoy their engagement photos and read all the special wishes from their friends & family.  (photo by:  Justin Element Productions)

Be Our Guest.  (click links below graphic for each source)

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  • Photo Strip Fun – if you’re thinking of renting a photo-booth, this is a great way to get your guests to sign-in.    And for you to see how silly they can be.
  • Foundation of a Good Marriage - friends & family sign Jenga game pieces and help you build a lifetime of memories.
  • Guests Uncorked – a little wine before they sign is a pretty nice idea.  But you may want to start sipping before the wedding to ensure enough corks!
  • Postcards from Your Peeps  – why sign on a line when you can send a card?  Collect whatever themed postcards suit your style.  Vintage cards are shown here, but you may have a special vacation or destination in mind.
  • Personalized Poster – either you, or a clever Etsy artist can custom design and color-coordinate a Tree of Life or other wall art that guests can hang their names on.
  • One for the Record – if you have a special song, artist or group, get the vinyl and some metallic sharpies.  Then display in the coolest way at home.
  • Table Talk – you know those colorful cards meant to initiate conversation?  Print some up with interesting questions that your guests can answer & sign on the back.  “What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard today?”
  • A Day to Remember – display a nice calendar and note your Wedding Day in the appropriate box.  Ask guests to find their individual birthdays & sign.  Now, don’t forget to send them a greeting when their day arrives.
  • What’s Old is NewAgain – set up a spot for someone to snap Polaroids of guests holding  chalkboard messages to you.  Super cute, and they can sign on the space below the picture.  (After the photo is dry and you can remove your thumb!)
  • Pieces of the Puzzle –  have your favorite photo made into a puzzle so guests can sign the back-side of each piece.
  • Fly Some Flags - and each guest signs one.   Again, you or a crafty someone can create a poster that will make your wall pretty after the party.  Great idea for nautical themed events

Signing Signage

If you opt for a Guest Book without the traditional ruled paper inside, remember to tell your guests what line  they should sign.  Just make it easy and clear as to how you would like them to commemorate their attendance at your awesome event.

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Jun 202014
 

We get it – it’s only June and we’re talking all crazy-like about planning your personal and business holiday parties.  It might sound nutty, but dates & locations book up very early.  A bit of planning now will help secure the best, most interesting and budget-conscious options for later this year. 

If you will be hosting during the holiday party season, allow us to provide fantastic venue, menu and fun options, so you can… kick-back and enjoy the summer!

(click on any image to contact us)

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Holiday Party Venues

Holiday Party Menus Holiday Party Fun

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Jun 132014
 

It’s time to toss-out the tie and give Dad a Father’s Day gift that will speak to his heart (straight through his stomach).   We’re big time foodies ourselves, so we thought you might enjoy some cool gift ideas that are quick and easy to pick up, wrap up, and knock Dad’s socks off!

 

fathersday _ aboveallcateringTHE SMOKING GUN – $99.95 @ Williams Sonoma

This cool tool infuses food and drinks with natural smoky flavors like applewood or hickory.  Great with fresh fruits, vegetables, teas, cocktails, spices, meats, cheeses, and a lot more.  What Dad wouldn’t love to add this kind of flavor to his food?  How about we let smokin’ hot Chef Michael Voltaggio, tell you why this gift is great…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dmt1cyT_fVo&feature=youtu.be

 

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THE CHILLSNER – $28.56 @ Amazon.com

You get 2 one-of-a-kind beer chillers in its own gift box with this deal.  What’s even better?  It keeps Dad’s and his BFF’s beer cold for as long as it takes them to drink it.  Just freeze the chillers then put it in most standard long neck beer bottles and let the sipping begin.  Sidebar:  Corkcicle and Amazon direct are authorized sellers, so buyer beware if you purchase elsewhere.  The good news is that shipping is free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

 

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CUISINE R-EVOLUTION MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY KIT – $58.99 @ Brookstone

This lab-kit and instructional DVD sounds a little spooky, but it will actually teach your father how to transform liquids such as honey into jelly-like cubes, gelify chopped produce into flavor-packed beads, or maybe even morph melted chocolate into a delicate powder or spaghetti-like strands. Who knows, Dad might just be a creative genius so why not let him play with his food!

 

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MLB™  ADULT APRON – $29.95 @ Williams Sonoma

Score with a Dad that loves food AND baseball.  Get him a uniform that will save his shirts & spread some spirit at the same time.   Pick any American League™ or National League™ team logo for this generously sized apron made of thick cotton twill that’s durable enough for many seasons to come.  If baseball’s not his thing, there’s plenty of other options too.

 

 

 fathers day_aboveallcateringSPLASH-PROOF SUPER-FAST ® THERMAPEN ® – $96.00 @ ThermoWorks (also found on Amazon)

Not the cheapest cooking thermometer on the block, but it is one of the top professional tools that’s great for home use too.  Super-fast and highly accurate.  Use it for practically anything that needs to be cooked or chilled (meats, fish, casseroles, re-heated foods, breads, cakes, deep frying and candy).  Dad doesn’t need 3-second precision readings to make him a great cook, but according to celebrity chefs and food writers, it will make him a better cook.

 

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SKILLET SAMPLER – $34.99 @ SkilletStreetFood.com

Every time Dad opens up one of these jars of greatness, he’ll be reminded just how loved he really is.   The Skillet Gift Sampler is packed with 5 four-ounce jars of their famous: Original Bacon Spread, Fennel Black Pepper Bacon Spread, Thai Coconut Pumpkin Ketchup, Chipotle Pumpkin Ketchup, and Apple Vinegar Brown Sugar Pumpkin Ketchup.  Yep, you had him at Bacon.  Share Skillet’s recipe database with Dad, for delicious inspiration.  These condiments will do a number on his head and his mouth!  (If it’s too late for shipping, the Original Bacon Spread  has been seen at Costco.)

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HIMALAYAN SALT TEQUILA GLASSES – $39.95 @ Sur la table

Okay, this is unique, right?  It’s a set of 4 shot glasses designed specifically for your father’s favorite tequila.  They’re hand-carved from a single piece of pink Himalayan salt which adds a subtle note to his drink of choice.  Also fun for serving mini-frozen margaritas, gazpacho shooters, etc.   Believe it or not, the salt is naturally antibacterial, so a quick rinse in cold water is all that’s needed for cleaning.

 

 father's day_aboveallcateringFOODIE FIGHT:  A TRIVIA GAME FOR SERIOUS FOOD LOVERS – $15.90 @ Amazon.com

It’s all fun and games, until the loser has to wash the dishes!  Dad will love this because everyone will want to play along.  It’s an addictive trivia game with over 1,000 questions on topics ranging from culinary science and celebrity chefs to food history and exotic cuisine.   This will be a friends, family and father favorite!  You can probably find it in a local book or game store too.

 

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Jun 082014
 

Not only is our own Executive Chef Shahan a culinary genius, it appears that we have some serious talent among our family, friends and fans as well.  In fact, this beautiful plate of pasta perfection was created by Kiera, a niece of Above All Catering owners, Gary & Kristi Rodgers.  We thought you might enjoy the recipe below.  And, thank you Kiera!

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Ingredients

For the lemon oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 3 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of grated zucchini or fresh arugula
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/8 cup roasted pine nuts

 For the shrimp:

  • 1 Ib shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 diced shallots
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Optional : 1/8 teasp. of red pepper flakes

Directions

For the lemon oil:

In a bowl, mix the olive oil and the lemon zest & optional red pepper flakes. Set aside.

For the pasta:

Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add the pasta and stir occasionally for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and save about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Keep this water warm.

In a skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, parmesan cheese, roasted pine nuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the grated zucchini.

Strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can now be thrown away. Add a little of the cooking water to desired consistency. Add the chopped parsley/zucchini to the pasta and toss to combine.

Serve immediately.

BON APPETIT!

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May 232014
 

The summer season is about to kick-off on this long holiday weekend with bbq’s, picnics, reunions and fun outdoor get-togethers.  On Monday, of course, we pause to remember what Memorial Day is truly about. That is, to reflect on and appreciate our family, friends and all the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces to protect our freedom.

It seems the perfect time to mix up some fruity and family-friendly Sangria that’s full of Stars & Stripes!  We have taste-tested and definitely approve!  This is a  perfect, refreshing treat for this weekend’s events.  Here’s how to make a #PatrioticPunch that everyone will love.  (photos and recipes from mom.me). 

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Patriotic Punch (Kid and Adult Versions)

Ingredients:

(Fruit)                       Strawberries * Blueberries * Pineapple * Lemon

(Alcoholic)              1 bottle Dry White Wine * 1/2 bottle (750 ml) Peach Schnapps * Sprite or 7-Up to top off

(Non-Alcoholic)     Cranberry Juice * Sprite or 7-Up * use both juice & soda in equal parts

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Directions:

  • Slice Pineapple into rounds, each about 1 inch thick.
  • Slice Strawberries into quarters, lengthwise.
  • Slice Lemons into rounds (for garnishing glasses).
  • Cut the Pineapple using star-shaped cookie cutters in a variety of sizes.  TIP – the center of the pineapple can be tough, so it’s easiest to try and cut around that part.
    (If it’s still hard to get the cookie cutter through the pineapple, just make the best indent you can, then use a knife to cut it out.  The cookie cutter will give you the definition of the star.)

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  • Mix the liquids together in pitchers.  If making both the adult and kid versions, be sure to separate the pitchers and label well!  NOTE - white wine works well with these fruits because it isn’t as overpowering as red wine.  You get the fresh, subtle flavors and can see the fresh fruit inside the drink.  The soda adds a nice carbonation.  Because the Soda and Schnapps are very sweet, it’s best to use a Dry White Wine.
  • It’s time to place the fruit in the pitcher:  Blueberries first as they’ll sink to the bottom; Pineapple Stars go next because they will float; then add the Sliced Strawberries which will rise to the top.  Let the fruit sit in the liquid for at least an hour or two so it can soak up all the flavors.

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When ready to enjoy:

  • Put the pitcher(s) out for your guests, or, portion the Sangria out into cups or glasses.  As you can see, clear glasses are great for enjoying the Stars & Stripes of this Sangria!  Either way, use a ladle to provide fruit in each portion.  After a good stir, the fruit should settle in the same order as you see above.  Lemons are a nice garnish and adds some tart to this spectacular, crowd-pleasing drink.

Cheers to a fun, safe and memorable holiday weekend!

 

 

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Apr 112014
 

Boost Productivity.  With Food.

We can all agree that enhancing good will (and productivity) in your workplace is exceedingly important.  But, for many businesses, the incentives and perks of yesteryear are no longer economically feasible.  So what does your business do to keep staff happy and performing at their peak?   One highly effective way to boost business on a lean budget is through food.  You can enhance staff energy & morale with complicated and expensive things, or… you can feed them.

Even the occasional lunch, breakfast or special treat can go a long way toward improving employee happiness & performance.  So, whether routine or project-based, fuel your team with good food to reap great rewards such as:

Energy
& Efficiency – For early startbusinesscateringers, extra efforts, long hours, every day expectations.  Staying at work saves time, improves communication and fosters teamwork.

Engagement & Effectiveness – Better meeting, training & event attendance.   Involved, alert and productive minds are fueled by foods such as lean protein, vegetables, salad, high-fiber carbs (and a treat!).

Excellence – Appreciated & valued employees produce best.

Business Never Tasted So Good

Feeding your staff (and clients) has proven benefits and is a cost-effective way to appreciate and value their contributions.  Below are some opportune times and ways to motivate & inspire them to do their best work.  What ideas do you have?

* Bring it On Breakfast

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* Meals on Monday (start off right!)

* Staff and/or Customer Conferences

* Business and Board Meetings

* Company Picnics

* Grill Outs and BBQ’s

* Lunch & Learn Trainings

* Holiday Parties

* Ice-Cream Socials

* Team-Building and Retreats

* Recognition Luncheons

* Daily Deli Lunch (with rotating menu)

* Special Events

* Product Launches or Performances

* Customer Appreciation

* Fiesta Friday

* Luau at Lunch

* Open House

* Fund-Raisers

Great Food = Better Business

Above All Catering & Events has just released all new Corporate Menus that offer flexible, affordable and highly delicious options.  We’re happy to help customize and rotate meals to suit a variety of tastes, dietary restrictions, and budgets.

Whether your needs require full-service or drop-off delivery, our staff will provide high quality cuisine with professional, courteous, and discrete service you can depend on.

Just click the photo or link above to take a look at our tried and true customer favorite dishes as well as some new and exciting additions that promise to satisfy everyone’s discerning palate.  Give us a call.  We’ll treat you and your business like family!

 

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Apr 052014
 

You can cook your Easter Eggs up in a variety of ways, but there is a tride and true method for Hard Boiled Eggs and it’s Easy!

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Plan to re-purpose your Easter Eggs into something tasty after the hunt?  Don’t get peeved when it’s time to peel,  just buy those incredible edibles a couple weeks early and store in the fridge.  With age comes wisdom and easier peeling.

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Mar 172014
 
photo by - Travis Schneider

photo by – Travis Schneider

It goes without saying that spending time in community service is a win-win opportunity.  Even small efforts make a big difference.  But, there is an incredibly positive impact that a little catering to community has on the caterer too.  That was sure the case when we recently partnered in a service project with a little band you may be familiar with, MAROON 5These guys are rock stars in every sense of the word.  Getting involved to support the inspiring work of THE TEEN PROJECT and FREEHAB house here in our community was a no-brainer.

Take a second to watch the band’s video about this project, then check out 5 Reasons We Cater to Our Community & Maroon 5…

1.  Volunteering feels good and it’s good for you too -  As caterers, we simply kept a group of hard workers (aka rock stars) nourished as they spent a day working at the FREEHAB facility.  Our staff witnessed firsthand how anyone and everyone can make a difference.  One shared that The band was AMAZING and so hands on – they got their hands dirty and totally helped out!”  We highly recommend that you get involved in your community.  It will do good and feel good too!

2.  Your time saves a lot of money  A little time in community service goes a long long way.  Your effort helps work get done while money is saved for higher levels of service back to the community.  The added value to this particular project is that the REVERB TEAM AND M5 worked together with FREEHAB supporters to design and create a ‘GREEN’ Clean Living Apartment at the Los Angeles Freehab facility.

3.  Teaming up to work toward a common goal is rewarding Among those who came together to support  THE TEEN PROJECT & FREEHAB were…

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4.  Your love for community can’t help but grow - This project absolutely gave us a greater understanding, respect and appreciation for the often forgotten youth in our community.  We came away with huge admiration for THE TEEN PROJECT & FREEHAB.  It’s their priority to serve transitional age youth between the ages of 18-24, often when they are aged-out of foster care and other situations, facing homelessness.

Take a look at why we are so moved by FREEHAB’S DISCIPLINED YET LOVING PROGRAM.

5.  Everyone can make a differenceEvery person counts!

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