Donations keep youth coffeehouse going in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Thanks to fans of the Boiler Room, the coffeehouse for youth has enough money to keep going.

Board member Catska Ench said that the Boiler Room board plans to keep the gathering place for young people open for years to come.

“We were definitely in a tight spot at the beginning of December,” Ench said. “But we had a major fundraising effort, and that means we’re going to keep going.”

The Boiler Room had requested additional funds from the Port Townsend City Council. When the city declined, the board made its own plans, and the public responded.

An auction raised about $8,000. Community members pledging $1 a day for 2010 have raised a few thousand more, Ench said.

Raised $12,000

“As it stands now, the Boiler Room has about $12,000 in the bank,” she said. “We are doing fine.”

Ench and the rest of the board don’t want to see the same scenario take place next December, so the board members will begin a strategic planning process on Jan. 1.

“What that entails is us really looking at our past and focusing on what we can do better in the future,” Ench said.

“We plan to bring in the community to get feedback — the volunteers, the youth, all the stakeholders. We will assess our most immediate needs, and really focus on where the Boiler Room needs to go.”

The drug- and alcohol-free coffee house founded in 1993 focuses on giving youth a safe place to hang out.

According to its bylaws, the Boiler Room intends to provide an avenue for mutual growth and learning by inviting community members to participate in the process of empowering individuals within the community.

The Boiler Room also works to support the expression and activities of youth as a part of a larger community, in a healthy and productive way. The support offered is, in part, educational and is provided in a drug- and alcohol-free environment.

Stay true to mission

Cara Leckenby, who was hired as an interim general manager of the Boiler Room on Monday, said the focus through the end of the month will be to stay true to the mission of the Boiler Room.

“The Boiler Room isn’t looking at the end,” she said. “The Boiler Room has always gone through transition, and there are many passionate people involved.

“The goal right now is to bridge the gap between what we do well right now and what the plan will be in the future.”

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Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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