In a small corner of NE Portland sits an old established parish, now home to the Eliot Neighborhood Association, and the Land Use and Transportation Committee meetings. Unknown to neighbors is the re-emergence of The Youth Café at this location. The program is geared for school aged youth up to the age of 18 to help work on academic tutoring, teaching life skills, nutrition and health, and incorporating fitness components into their daily lives. This is a public non-profit program that is founded in the church but is welcoming all community members.
The program evolved as an idea by the former church leader the Reverend Deborah Brown who came to the Portland area from North Carolina via New York. By establishing the program she had the hope of reaching the youth within the surrounding communities and making a positive impact on their academics as well as within their home lives. She established the program with core values of creating a family environment that fosters growth and encourages positive changes. Though low finances prompted the closure of the program previously, new sponsorship from local businesses such as Por Que No Taqueria, Grand Central Bakery, Voice Box, Written on the Body, John Gorham, Mississippi Pizza, and New Rose City Cab Company, the program is re-launching with new hope of reaching more youth in the community.
The Youth Café program promises to continue building on those values and offer more opportunities for the youth in the community to learn and grow through positive mentorship. The Youth Café program is now being headed by St. Philip the Deacon’s Program Director, Josephine Young. Josephine was raised in the Eliot neighborhood by Patricia Montgomery who is a current member of the Eliot Neighborhood Association, and the Associate Director of this program. Josephine’s bachelor degree in Health and Wellness, and her Graduate work in Education has helped develop the academic and health focused curriculum of this program.
The program will be held on the first and last Mondays of the month (with exceptions around holidays) at St. Philip the Deacon Church, 120 NE Knott Street from 5:00pm to 7:45 pm. Dinner is included and transportation is available in some areas.
The Youth Café is hosting a Halloween party that is open to all in the community on Saturday October 31st from 3pm to 6pm. There will be activities, music, candy, and prizes. Please come join them and help them expand this growing community together. Our youth are our future.
Monthly schedules are available with dates of any closures due to holidays. If you missed their ice cream social, come join them the first Monday in October.
Additional information can be found at our website www.theyouthcafe.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Patricia Montgomery