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Discovery Cafe Indianapolis helps youth feel safe, respected and supported

Posted at 11:27 PM, May 09, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Requin Scott is a 15-year-old who loves creating art, watching anime and eating spicy snacks.

Scott uses they/them pronouns and says it’s important to find queer-friendly spaces.

“Everyone here is very caring and they don’t care how you identify," the Discovery Cafe Indianapolis participant said. “[The program taught me] how to accept myself, how to get along with others better and just how to grow as a person.”

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Scott is one of the dozen kids ages 12 to 17 participating in the youth mentorship program.

Discovery Cafe offers tutoring, mentorship and peer support to kids struggling with homelessness, mental health issues and substance use.

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DCI meets every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 907 N Delaware Street.

“Right around Covid, they’ve seen an increase in youth with mental health problems and substance use disorders. There’s not a lot of treatment involved around the situation that’s free to use, so they were like let’s readapt our adult model to fit the youth," Program Manager Deja Sanders said.

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There are three requirements for membership.

  1. Youth need to be 24 hours alcohol and drug free.
  2. They need to participate in a weekly circle discussion about their challenges, goals and gratitude for the week.
  3. They need to give back by completing chores. 

“To take ownership of the space. Teach them responsibility. And make ‘em feel like a community," Sanders said.
But it’s not all work and no play — youth also get the chance to participate in games and arts and crafts.

Kids are allowed to be guest members three times. After that, they’re encouraged to become full-time members.

The program is state-funded and free for participants.

DCI is looking to expand the program to 50 members by the end of the year.

If you're interested in signing your child up, click the link here.