Spill the Beans: Coffee House
Community members often wonder why our emergency teen shelter came to be called ‘The Coffee House’. It’s a slightly confusing moniker for a space that provides critical support to teenagers and where, ironically, we are also prohibited (by licensing) from serving any caffeine!
The Coffee House is short for the Dr. James E. Coffee House, named in honor of the late Reverend James E. Coffee, an esteemed community mentor and pastor of the Community Baptist Church. Reverend Coffee believed deeply in “making a difference one person at a time” and piloted several youth mentoring programs such as the Village Project and Rites of Passage. He was a long-time supporter of SAY, often referring his own parishioners to our youth shelter.
In March of 2004, almost exactly seventeen years ago to this day, SAY dedicated our teen shelter to Reverend Coffee before a crowd of more than 450 community members. In the year prior, 2,000 young people had received emergency support, counseling, housing, and food from Social Advocates for Youth.
“Assisting youth is a marathon, not a 100-yard-dash” said the late Reverend Coffee. These words resonate even more powerfully today, as SAY reaches a milestone 50th birthday and the number of young people who have benefitted from our programs has increased exponentially. To date, more than 60,000 children, youth, and families have received support from SAY services, demonstrating that there are still so many more miles to cover.
In celebration of SAY’s 50th Anniversary, we are revisiting the last five decades of our history and sharing stories of our ever-expanding commitment to the youth. If you would like to celebrate our birthday with us, please visit our events page!