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Capacity Cafés

The Capacity Café is a unique event where parents and community members listen to the lived experiences of youth.

In a Capacity Café, youth and adults sit together in a circle while youth speak and adults listen and learn from what is shared. The conversation is facilitated by SACY staff. Youth who volunteer have participated in communication training together before a Café Circle to ensure their safety.

The overall goal of the Café is to help adults (parents and educators) gain increased understanding of the stresses youth encounter in our culture, and to provide young people the experience of being listened to, respected, and valued. Our goal is to give us all the opportunity to see youth as a much-needed resource within the community.

Capacity Cafés help forge intergenerational connections by helping adults and other community members understand and appreciate life from a youth’s perspective.

What did Parents learn from the Capacity Café?

The capacity cafe helped me to feel more comfortable with my son being at a large high school. I had many fears about all of the trouble that he could get into and listening to the youths’ perspective I realize that all of the horror stories that I hear are not necessarily true and that I need to trust my son who is actually demonstrating pretty responsible behaviour. 

I was moved that these young people were willing to share their feelings and experiences with us parents. I realized how much more we can learn from listening to them. 

I learned that my children learn from me and my example is important.  And that soon they will be adults and make their own decisions. 

I learned of the resiliency of youth and they all want to be loved.

I learned that ‘good’ kids sometimes do drugs and drink and they're still ‘good’ kids.  


What are youth saying?

Youth say that the best part of participating in a Capacity Cafes is….

Opening up about youth life. Learning about the experiences that other kids go through.

Sharing my thoughts and hearing everyone else's thoughts. Knowing that I'm helping someone else's relationship with their child out.                                                                                                                                                                                      
The sincere gratitude of the parents/listeners. 


SACY Aboriginal Capacity Cafe: April 2010 (pdf)
SACY Aboriginal Capacity Cafe: November 2009 (pdf)
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