Director KayLee Jaech introduces members of the Teens for Teens steering committee to speak at the celebration. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Director KayLee Jaech introduces members of the Teens for Teens steering committee to speak at the celebration. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Issaquah celebrates the grand opening of ‘The Garage’ teen cafe

More than 100 people celebrated the grand opening for teen cafe “The Garage” on Saturday, Sept. 22.

After years of work, more than 100 people celebrated the grand opening for the teen cafe, The Garage, on Saturday, Sept. 22, at their location on First Avenue Southeast.

The Garage is the product of years of work on behalf of student volunteers and the community group, The Garage, formerly known as the Issaquah Teen Cafe, and Friends of Youth, the fiscal sponsor of The Garage.

Director KayLee Jaech described the The Garage as a place that provides “a safe after-school drop-in place for teens — where they can meet with their friends, access programming and services needed.”

In April, the Issaquah City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement to allow The Garage and Friends of Youth to operate the teen center out of the city-owned building at 235 First Ave. SE. The building had been previously used by the city’s Park and Recreation department and as a storage space. The city had planned to move staff out of the building before receiving the request from The Garage, so it was a perfect fit.

The Garage staff and volunteers have been working on renovating the building since June.

The building itself has two offices, a conference room where students can work on group projects, a coffee bar, and a stage will be installed in the coming weeks.

Jaech said The Garage Committee had been working on the project for more than two years. The program is modeled after Redmond’s Old Fire House Teen Center, and it will have various teen-led programs and activities every week.

The Garage will have a drop-in counselor from Friends of Youth who will be accessible for anyone who comes by the teen center. But, for the most part, every program will be teen led.

“We are hoping (the drop-in counselor) will start in October, then it’s really up to the students as far as what programming happens,” Jaech said. “That’s our philosophy of The Garage — our staff is ready to help encourage and empower them, and support them in creating programs.”

Alongside Jaech, Barbara de Michele is the business manager. They are joined by two part-time program coordinators and are still looking to hire two more.

M. Haynes, one of the members of the Teens for Teens steering committee and a student at Gibson Ek High School, explained that the teen volunteers and committee members really helped form The Garage. From furniture choice to room usage, the space was crafted by the people who will use it.

“The really great thing is everything about the teen cafe — the way it’s laid out. The things that are here are here because the teens said this is what teenagers want. This is what we want. This is what our friends want,” Haynes said. “This is going to be a place we can go if we have an idea, if we have a problem, if we are going through tough times or good times. We can get support, celebrate with our friends, make new friends, try new things.”

Jaech said The Garage will be open 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The hours may extend until 10 p.m. on days when evening events are scheduled.

More information on the Garage can be found on their website at www.issaquahteencafe.org.

The front of the new teen cafe building is lined with windows to bring in natural light. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The front of the new teen cafe building is lined with windows to bring in natural light. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Director KayLee Jaech and Issaquah City Council member Tola Marts cut the ribbon at the grand opening of The Garage teen cafe. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Director KayLee Jaech and Issaquah City Council member Tola Marts cut the ribbon at the grand opening of The Garage teen cafe. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Director KayLee Jaech introduces members of the Teens for Teens steering committee to speak at the celebration. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Director KayLee Jaech introduces members of the Teens for Teens steering committee to speak at the celebration. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The front of the new teen cafe building is lined with windows to bring in natural light. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The front of the new teen cafe building is lined with windows to bring in natural light. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

More in News

President’s emergency declaration sparks immediate legal backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Founder of Everyone for Veterans, Theresa Cheng helps Alice Richard deliver a mattress to a veteran family in Federal Way as part of the Wingman Project in Dec. 2018. Photo Courtesy of Everyone for Veterans.
Actions speak louder than words; Everyone for Veterans is making an effort to help low-income veterans and their families

Non-profit organization connects community members with veterans through their wingman project

The Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue remained open through the wintry weather. Photo courtesy of Overlake Medical Center.
Overlake Medical essential staff housed in hotels

Over 250 rooms helped ensure needed employees made it to their shift.

State bill would address strain of long-term healthcare costs

Median retirement savings falls short of what wellness costs.

Council approves funding for Front Street improvement project

Council has approved funding for the Front Street Streetscape between Sunset Way and NE Alder.

Walsh appointed to Issaquah City Council position no. 4

On Feb. 5, Lindsey Walsh was appointed to the vacant city council position left by Bill Ramos.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Most Read