By JASMINE JESSO
Special to The Appalachian
STEPHENVILLE – The Community Education Network and its sister organization, the Canadian Youth Network, in partnership with the Lion’s Club, sponsored Community Café in Stephenville on Thursday, Aug. 12 to celebrate International Youth Day.
“It’s an international day recognized by the United Nations since 1999, recognizing the importance of young people and the differences that they make in the world,” explained Vanessa Lee, Youth Engagement Co-ordinator of Community Youth Network. “Since 2013 the Community Youth Network has been recognizing this day in different capacities.”
Continued Lee, “Ironically this year the theme is food sustainability.”
Food sustainability has been identified by the province as an area in need of improvement.
International Youth Day offers a platform to raise awareness of issues within the youth community and to celebrate youth as active partners in the global society. The Community Café, which takes place every Thursday, held a drive/walk through takeout to mark the occasion.
A small group of youth pitched in to arrange the event and prepare food. People lined up in their vehicles to pick up a free barbecue lunch.
There have been some struggles encountered with the Community Café during the pandemic, particularly with social distancing rules.
“When it was viable, we were able to do a drive-thru as we are doing today. But at times we had to pull back and not have it at all,” said Lee.
Bernice Hancock, Executive Director of the Community Education Network said, “What we lost due to COVID was socialization. Before we’d have people sitting down together and we’d have live entertainment, so it was a social event as well.”
Hancock explained that the focus is on people who may a little bit of trouble financially, those living alone, and seniors.
“But everybody’s welcomed,” said Hancock.