Since a fair number of the youth who come to the center are homeless, keeping food on hand is essential. Community connections with local nonprofits and restaurants are vital to the drop-in center’s ability to supply healthy snacks and celebrate special events. Martinez has been delighted with the outpouring of generosity from our community neighbors (see below).
At first, some youth were hesitant to return to the Center, even though all safety protocols were being followed. “We were all a bit nervous at first,” Martinez says, “but once we all got to know each other, we instantly made a connection.” One returning youth recently commented, “Just being here gives me life. I feel safe.”
A number of youth said that they like the drop-in center because they enjoy the interactions with people while engaging in social activities. Social anxiety can be a big trigger for youth. Others indicated that they feel they can share their thoughts without being looked down upon for their mental health struggles. Most importantly, they feel empowered in a safe place.
The Center is open from 1 to 5 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. To learn more, contact TAY Space at 415-870-9298 or TAYSpace@sidebysideyouth.org.