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

Following the hour-long lockdown, Issaquah High School students were excused from their first period and parents were allowed to freely excuse their children for the rest of the day. Reporter File Photo
UPDATE: No gun found after four-school lockdown in Issaquah

Police did not find a weapon after taking a 14-year-old student into custody at Issaquah High.

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options.
Elder abuse cases are on the rise in Washington

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

Issaquah submits annual floodplain mangement report to FEMA

Issaquah submits the annual floodplain management report to FEMA for certification.

UPDATED: Issaquah School District denies lawsuit allegations

Formal response filed in King County Superior Court.

Shigellosis outbreak at Cascade Ridge Elementary School

16 people have come down with Shigellosis at Cascade Ridge Elementary School.

The King County Library System Foundation is awarded a grant from Boeing

KCLSF receives an $80,000 grant from the Boeing Company

Police say porch piracy is primarily a crime of opportunity. Many criminals will see a package as they pass by and make quick, easy money. Kailan Manandic, photo illustration
‘Porch pirates’ plunder local packages

Eastside police departments spoke on the ‘porch pirate’ problem and ask locals to report the crime.

Sound Publishing file photo
Issaquah wants feedback on potential dog park location

Issaquah is looking for citizen feedback on where they would like a new dog park in the city.

“Matilda the Musical” shares the magic at Village Theatre. Photo by 2018 Mark Kitaoka. Courtesy of Village Theatre.
“Matilda the Musical” shares the magic this holiday season at Village Theatre

The Roald Dahl classic story is making its first west coast premiere in Issaquah and Everett.

The Eastside strike team consisted of a dozen firefighters from local cities. They assisted with small brush fires and watched over a small community near Malibu as a fire raged on a nearby hillside. Photos courtesy of Jeff Storey and Dave McDaniel
Local firefighters aid in California wildfires

Firefighters from Eastside Fire & Rescue, Snoqualmie, Fall City and Duvall fire departments assisted.

Romaine lettuce, beef recalled just before Thanksgiving

23 people have been infected with a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in 11 states.

The segment of SE 60th Street marked in red is the area that will be affected by the speed limit reduction from 35 to 30 mph. Courtesy Image.
King County considering speed reduction on Southeast 60th Street

Public comments and feedback accepted through Nov. 27.