THE atmosphere was positively buzzing at the official opening of Portlaoise’s Youth Cafe (PYC) last Thursday, February 14.
The cafe is the first of its kind in Portlaoise and a place where young people can just hang out and take part in meaningful activities.
Young people from all social and cultural backgrounds are welcome to engage in social interaction with their peers in a drug and alcohol free environment.
The idea of the cafe is to provide young people with an alternative to risk taking behaviour which unfortunatley so many young people have engaged with today. With direct access to professional youth workers, guidance counsellors and psychotherapists, the cafe can cater for the needs of all young people it welcomes through its doors.
Government funded, the cafe s aimed at young people between the ages of 10 and 25 years, community youth groups and organisations. Some of the activities on offer in the youth cafe include: pool, table tennis, wii, playstaion, internet,music, art, theme nights,live music and DJ nights. PYC programmes include structured personal development, health(mental and physical), art and music, active leadership and citizenship educational programmes.
The PYC cafe/refreshments will provide a wide variety of low cost juices, soft drinks and fruit and snacks. The cafe is run by young people and its policy is to promote and encourage nutritional and healthy snacks continually.
There is a definite need for more amenities like the Portlaoise Youth Cafe in other towns across the country. Youth projects like this can prove very beneficial to young people in local communities.
Not only does it allow young people to get the chance to meet life-long friends, it also lets them explore their talents and get involved in their local community in a positive way, through fun, educational and empowering activities. Not to mention it keeps them off the streets and deters them from unsocialable behaviour.
It is hoped that, the Portlaoise Youth Cafe will pave the way more youth group initiatives across the country.