Teenagers now have a new place to hang out in Winchester at the Cairn Coffee House.
The second floor of the coffee store has been transformed into a space where middle and high school students can go after school to play games, talk and eat food.
Dan Jackson, Cairn’s general manager, said the city has wanted to build a place where teens can get together for awhile. Jackson said this new center will get students off the street.
Most of the staff for the Teen Center is volunteers.
Gloria Shearer said she wants to help kids who think they have no other choice but to turn to drugs and alcohol. Shearer hopes to connect to the students by sharing her own battle with prescription pain pills.
“I’m just hoping to maybe just give one kid the opportunity to maybe not have to go down that road,” Shearer said. “Or if they've already started down that road, give them a chance to see that there is hope, and there is something bigger out there.”
Joseph Miller manages the Teen Center.
“We just want to impact the lives of young people,” Miller said. “And maybe provide hope that otherwise wouldn't be there for them.”
Teens who were at the center’s opening day said the volunteers are positive influences in their lives.
“When you get into high school there's a lot of people that pull you different ways,” Coleman said.
“You’re going to go through things that are going to tear you down and then there's things that can make you stronger,” Lauren Aldridge said.
The Cairn’s motto workers hope to pass onto these teenagers is “Drink Deep, Dream Big.”
The Teen Center is open Wednesday – Saturday’s from 3:30 – 6:30pm.
To volunteer at the center, contact Joseph Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org