Teenagers Inc. members Colin Mattice (left) and Nick Shields dish out donated food to Taste of Chestnut Hill Diners. (Photo by Steve Ladner)

by Paula M. Riley

Each year, Teenagers, Inc. hosts its major fundraiser, A Taste of Chestnut Hill, on the third Sunday in November. This year, “Taste” is on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in a new venue and with a new approach.

Themed “You’re a Star,” event guests will arrive on the red carpet with photos of their arrival captured by teens. Mocktails, scrumptious appetizers, light fare and desserts will be the focus at this year’s event, held for the first time, at 8200 Germantown Ave. (former home of Magarity Ford).

The atmosphere will be festive and fun with a dance space, high tables,and unique auction offerings. Reverend Chris will be performing, and, as in years past, teens will serve as hosts and provide kid-friendly food and babysitting.

“It was the teens’ idea to put a spin on the event,” said Marianne Dwyer, director of Teenagers Inc. “They want to make it more festive and are putting together some great (non-alcoholic) mocktails.”

The planning and execution of the event falls upon the teens (6th to 12th grade) as well as the board of directors, made up college-age former Teenagers Inc. members. They wanted the items to more closely reflect their organization and wanted to add some pizazz to an old fundraiser.

In addition to the sports tickets, restaurant gifts and O’Doodles Gift Baskets, guests can bid on services being offered by teens, including leaf raking, babysitting, closet organization, moving assistance and snow shoveling.

Former Teenagers Inc. members Ryan Conway and Ryan Tritell are contributing their photography skills. Conway is auctioning his photograph series entitled, “Four Seasons of Photos,” and Tritell is providing a discounted session at Over the Moon Photography.

A special auction basket comes straight from Guatemala. Teens brought handcrafted items back from their annual service trip where they help build houses and work at an orphanage and medical center.

Arianna Neromiliotis is giving five hours of sign language lessons and other teens are contributing watercolor pieces. Jane Piotrowski has donated an ice cream party, Meg McNally is preparing her famous chocolate cake and Tim McCarthy has offered a $200 gift certificate for consultation services.

The food, as in the past, is donated by local restaurants but the focus is on the appetizers and desserts. Donated items include wings by Tavern on Hill and Chestnut 7, ribs by Darcys, spring rolls by CinCin, appetizers from Thai Ku, bruschetta from Chestnut Grille, mini hoagies by Bruno’s and plenty of desserts from Night Kitchen, Bredenbecks and Aurora’s Bread Pudding.

Teenagers, Inc. fosters a community spirit with area teens and provides opportunities for students to socialize in safe and enjoyable environments. The nonprofit also coordinates volunteer opportunities for the teens to donate their time and energy both in Chestnut Hill and beyond. Since its inception 16 years ago, the group has sponsored social, recreational, leadership training and service activities, including hot dog roasts, community clean-ups, teen tutoring, dances, rockfests, night walks and ski trips.

Tickets for A Taste of Chestnut Hill are $30 in advance and $35 at the door for adults; $10 for ages 10-18, and $5 for children under 10. Contact Marianne Dwyer at 215-242-4976, or email Director@teensincphilly.org. The event site at 8200 Germantown Ave. is at the intersection of Hartwell Lane. Parking is available in the adjacent lot.