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

Metro revises timeline for RapidRide bus expansion

After originally aiming to build 20 additional fast-service bus lines on high demand routes by 2040, King County Metro has changed its construction timelines and put 13 of those projects on hold.

Rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain divides King County Council

In a recent interview, Councilmember Kathy Lambert blamed Fain’s accuser for the alleged rape. Then Lambert’s colleagues distanced themselves from her comments.

FIRST Robotics students show off their creations at Salmon Days

Students from the FIRST Robotics programs had their own booths at this weekend’s Salmon Days.

Carnation man caught after allegedly fleeing in wake of Issaquah murder

The man is accused of killing Issaquah native, Christopher Rea, after a wages dispute.

State Supreme Court strikes down death penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Two Eastside killers see sentences changed

Death penalty ruled unconstitutional, death row sentences changed to life without parole

Paul Allen, shown in 2015. Courtesy of the Herald
Paul Allen dead at 65

Microsoft co-founder, developer, and philanthropist struggled with cancer for decades

Issaquah City Hall. Photo courtesy of Joe Mabel
City Council votes to endorse the newly formed nonprofit Visit Issaquah

The Issaquah City Council endorsed the bylaws for the nonprofit tourism organization Visit Issaquah.

Where to pick up a pumpkin this October

The Eastside has a few options for seasonal squash hunters.

Most Read