Teens & Parents2017-01-25T02:04:20+00:00


Adolescents serve as a central focus in Prajna’s work. We are teen advocates and are committed to empowering young people to be active agents of change in their personal, political, and social lives. We work with young people in classrooms, service projects, outdoor trips, and workshops virtually every day. We are in touch with the reality they live in, the questions they have, and the obstacles they face.

We are not therapists. We are, however, experts on adolescent behavior. We do not preach. We do not use fear as a motivating source for adolescent decision-making. Rather, we work in myriad capacities to inform, educate, and motivate young people.

Issues we address with students include ethics, stress, substance use and abuse, cliques & bullying, sexuality, assertiveness & self-defense, and social justice.

Workshops and talks for students and classes:

These services can be geared toward small classes of students, grade level, or school-wide gatherings. All workshops and talks include a combination of presentation, interaction, and discussion.

  • Assertiveness, gender roles, and communication
  • Self-defense, personal safety, and awareness
  • Drug use, abuse, and prevention
  • Academic Integrity
  • Ethics and how to apply them in the real world
  • Character education
  • Sexuality (safe sex, abstinence, choices)
  • Diversity and equity
  • Body image
  • The media and its influence


“I wanted to know specific steps about how I could change the dynamics [between myself and] my child. I got them clearly and directly.”
—University High School (San Francisco) parent

“One gets the sense there isn’t any crisis Charis hasn’t dealt with before. She also has a near-magical quality of realness, an authenticity devoid of contrivance, to which teenagers (and people in general) respond immediately.”
—Sam Reed, Urban School of San Francisco alum

Teenagers can be a mystery. Solving that mystery can be overwhelming. You can be doing everything right and things still look wrong. At the same time, you can think everything is great but miss something going wrong.

There are hundreds of books and theories on adolescent behavior and how parents should approach their teens. Numerous resources are available on the internet or through schools. But figuring out what will work best for your family can be too much. This is where we can help.

Many times parents simply want to know what is working and what’s not. They want to know what most kids the same age as their own are doing when they leave the house. They want to know some clear ways to identify “normal” from “red flag” behavior in their child. Some parents we work with are struggling with their children. Others simply want to know how to stay plugged into the world where their children are living.

We are not therapists. We are not school counselors. This is intentional. We are educators and youth advocates who work with adolescents every day, both in and out of the classroom. We talk with teens on a daily basis about the same tough stuff parents are facing with their children at home. We’ve had “that talk” and heard what kids are thinking and doing every day for almost twenty years. It is demanding as a parent to try to do and say everything right. Sometimes parents simply need a reality check. We know kids. We can provide that check.


“Charis Denison has an amazing rapport with adolescents. [She] never condescends to students, but treats them like fellow humans. … She is by turns irreverent, challenging, startlingly direct; she brings insight, compassion, and fearlessness to her work. She is that rare educator to whom adolescents want to listen, and with whom they want to be honest.”