In my contacts with young people, I often see a highly needed common thing: a neutral place to gather, where there is no pressure to join a particular church or the like. There are many places to come together: parks, cafés, churches, cultural houses, schools, pubs, terraces, etc. Many of these places are great places and there are certainly places that do have something to offer.
However, there is also something missing from these places. Often they are not independent and sometimes they are not ‘safe’. For many young people, a school is where you also have to do something, a church is sometimes also a place where you cannot be the way you are, a pub is not always safe (physically or socially). Also, many of these places are not the place where young people can find more than just what the places are intended for. And certainly, a school is not a youth institution, a church is not an educational one and in a pub you will usually not find a counselor or someone with a listening ear. By all the means, those places are not intended for those purposes.
That is why a dream has arisen for a ‘youth center’ to exist. A place ‘which is different’.
A place where young people from different backgrounds can come together. A place where they can enjoy themselves, but also where they can do homework or play various games, both physically and online. A place where they can find a listening ear, where they can be quiet for a while, but also a place where they can just laugh and have fun or go a little crazy! A place where they can get a (non-alcoholic) drink and also where they can find information for volunteering, for example. A place where we can connect them with a counselor or where they can get advice about all kinds of situations they encounter in their lives.
It should be a place where the young feel safe and where they don’t have to pretend to be anything other than who they truly are and above all where they don’t ‘have to’ anything. My dream is that there should be a building in Oradea, equipped with all the necessary supplies for this to succeed. A building easily accessible by public transportation, but not in the hustle and bustle of the city. It could be an existing building, but it could also be new construction. A building with various spaces, perhaps on several floors. A really youth café, but also rooms where one can play, where there is a foosball table, a dartboard, a pool table etc. A room where it is quiet and one can do homework, rooms where conversations can take place when needed, etc. It would make it complete if there was a park around it where one can sit outside in good weather, where a terrace can be set up and perhaps do some sports.