The IJ recently ran this editorial regarding The Spot!
12/19/2006 Marin Independent Journal - Editorial
BIG SOCIETAL problems often are so daunting it's hard to know where to start. Starting with what seems like a small step is usually the best way.
That's what happened Friday night at the Fairfax Coffee Roasters shop.
Owner Ed Wall agreed to keep the shop in the center of town open until 11 p.m. to give teens a convenient place to hang out with friends. It provides an alternative to parties and gatherings involving alcohol and drugs.
Wall usually closes about 6 p.m. because it doesn't make economic sense to stay open, but he said he had always wanted to stay open later.
Marin's high rates of teen drug and alcohol use have prompted debate in the county about what can be done to address the problem. Teens often complain that there is nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Fairfax Councilwoman Mary Ann Maggiore, after talking with local teens and the town Youth Commission, approached Wall about his shop staying open for teens from 8 to 11 p.m. as a pilot program. Teens were charged $5 admission, which included dessert and a cup of tea or coffee.
Organizers figured the night would be a success if 40 teens showed up. They understandably were thrilled when attendance topped 60, with other kids hanging around outside. The night included music by local teens.
Teens who missed last week's coffee night will have at least two more chances to check it out - this Friday and Dec. 29.
The timing also couldn't have been better. Maggiore was right when she pointed out that the holiday season, with its constant stream of adult parties, is an especially crucial time to provide positive alternatives to drinking and drugs.
These teen-only Friday night events also could pave the way for a teen center in the
There is an impressive interfaith teen center in
It is encouraging to see local officials taking the initiative and tackling this issue in such a positive way. Teen-only events are not a new concept, but they could well prove to be a way to lower the high rates of drinking and drug use by our teens.
Involving local teens in the planning also improves the chances of these events taking off and becoming a local tradition. After all, they are the ones who know what they want