Originally begun as a for profit venture, it was soon realized that The Sad Cafe would need to become not for profit and community supported to survive. The Sad Café became a non-profit 501(c)3 organization in 1999 and a Board of Directors was established as the governing body. The Sad Café is thriving today with a variety of programs for youth and families and is the lead agency for a growing and dynamic community coalition.
The mission of The Sad Café is to promote and support positive life choices for pre-teens and adolescents through innovative programming. We aim to foster the diverse needs of youth and families of the surrounding communities by providing, promoting and maintaining a safe, substance free, family friendly atmosphere that is accommodating and appealing to all. We provide a unique venue where aspiring musicians and actors are given the opportunity to perform before a live audience of peers and parents, allowing them to gain confidence, recognition and appreciation for their efforts.
Teens from all over southeastern New Hampshire flood to the Sad Café to hear these bands in an environment they know to be safe and substance-free. Over the course of the past year more than four hundred teen bands and single artists have played at the Sad Café drawing over 10,000 area youth, 75% of whom are teens 14-18 years of age. Monthly middle and high school dances from two school districts serving six towns have drawn a combined two thousand teens to a safe and positive peer atmosphere. These successful efforts have allowed the Sad Café to provide enrichment and positive direction to area families through collaborative social service and community programming. Some examples of such programming are; Supportive Connections; a five week parenting workshop for single parents and their children, and “Cool After School”; a four day offering of after school arts and community service programming for middle school aged teens.
The Sad Café is unique within southern New Hampshire. The Sad Café initiative gives teens in a wide geographical area a safe option for their discretionary recreational time. Our many programs provide protective factors for the prevention of substance abuse, violence and other social problems, especially during those crucial after school hours, during which most teenage pregnancy, drug use and violence occurs. The Sad Café acts as an area teen center that youth are excited to attend, as it does not carry the stigma of many youth centers. Teens view the Cafe as their club and are active in the collaboration of managing the site. The Sad Café is truly a community success story in providing prevention services to youth and families.