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Did You Know? Revealing Who Really Runs This Town
by: Debbie L. Sklar
RSM's Teen Council was first established in 2004.
RSM's Teen Council was first established in 2004.

There are some teens that enjoy spending their time doing other things besides texting and going to the mall.

For instance, did you know that there is a Rancho Santa Margarita Teen Council that was founded by two teens in 2004?

Those teens were Anum Arshad and Erin Tomiyama, students from Trabuco Hills High School, who asked The Bell Tower Foundation if they could start up a group to get other local teens involved in their community.

With the Tower’s help, the girls created the RSM Teen Council which became a hit almost instantly.

Today, the Council is active in a number of Ranch events and activities including helping with Twilight Dinners for Senior Citizens, they raised funds for Hurricane Katrina victims, as well as the American Cancer Society’s ‘Relay for Life’ and helped with the Trabuco Mesa Elementary annual Beach Blanket Blast and more.

The Council is made up of high school students who want to do things to benefit their community. The best part is members don’t have to be an RSM resident to join and it’s free. However, you must participate in at least two RSM Council events during the course of the year to keep up your membership.

According to the Bell Tower’s Web site, the “Foundation is a regional community foundation serving the residents of southeast Orange County. The Bell Tower Foundation’s mission is to promote and to support the cultural, recreational and human service needs of southeast Orange County. The Bell Tower Foundation was created in 2001 to help raise funds to build and then operate the Bell Tower Regional Community Center. In July of 2008, the new Bell Tower Foundation began operating under a “community foundation” model. Under a “community foundation” model, the Foundation no longer operates the community center or any other type of facility. The focus of a community foundation is to provide funds to various community groups and initiatives for the benefit of the whole community.”

The Bell Tower Foundation serves residents in the communities of Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Foothill Ranch, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Mission Viejo (east of Marguerite), Portola Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita, Trabuco Canyon and Wagon Wheel, the site says.

Contact The Bell Tower Regional Community Center for more information about the RSM Teen Council at 949- 216-9711 or e-mail them at

Debbie L. Sklar is a 20+year journalism veteran residing in Southern California, where she is a writer, columnist and editor for many local, regional and national publications. Sklar may be reached via e-mail at

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