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North Bend coffee shop serves up positive affirmations, job skills for troubled youth

Trail Youth Coffee was started by a group of passionate mothers who noticed teens in their area were in desperate situations and needed a safe haven.

NORTH BEND, Wash. — Wednesday, Sept. 29, is National Coffee Day, a holiday most Seattleites can probably get behind. September is also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and a North Bend coffee shop is bringing attention to both. 

Trail Youth Coffee Home was started by a group of passionate mothers who noticed teenagers in their area, many often homeless or dealing with mental health issues, were in desperate situations.

The coffee shop was created to serve as a safe haven for troubled youth, but also to teach them job skills. At Trail Youth Coffee, teens are offered mentorship and training to become baristas, handling everything from roasting the beans to making what goes into a customer's cup. 

"Trail Youth is a safe oasis for anyone needing affirmation, encouragement, and hope," said co-founder Tonya Guinn. 

All of the drinks, food and services provided to the teenagers are free. Trail Youth Coffee has seen success over the years and has expanded to include a mobile trailer and services three locations. 

Guinn said she's happy to see the coffee shop's services being utilized as many teens continue to struggle with mental health.

“A recent Snoqualmie Valley Healthy Youth survey, showed that one out of four 12th graders here in the Snoqualmie Valley has seriously contemplated suicide in the last year... One out of four youth do not have a trusted adult to talk to,” said Guinn.

The teenagers who work at the coffee shop have also started a podcast with more than 80 episodes addressing topics like suicide prevention. 

The nonprofit also serves up coffee with positive messages of affirmation on each cup such as "You are adored." 

"We are simply here to remove labels," said Guinn. "Everyone who walks through the door is treated the same and we want to listen and for these kids to know they are loved, they are valued and they are here for a purpose.”

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