Cray Youth & Family Services has spent more than 30 years working to “make life better for kids” in New Castle and Lawrence County. Now our agency is taking a new approach: working to improve the community in which our children live. To that end, we are pleased to be running The Confluence, a coffee house/deli in downtown New Castle at the site of the former JCPenney building at 214 E. Washington Street.
The name “The Confluence” came from more than 200 submissions in a naming contest. “We see this coffee house as a place where the community can come together,” says David Copper, Executive Director of Cray Youth & Family Services. “The name just makes sense.”
The Confluence opened in December of 2013 and has become a place that fosters a sense of community, where residents come together and engage with each other. Mr. Copper believes one of the keys to revitalizing the New Castle area is to have a vibrant downtown, one with places for people to come together. We are watching The Confluence address both of these issues.
“Cray has been dealing with the ramifications of a declining community for many years,” says Copper. “When our community fails, it fails our children. Cray has provided services and programs to at-risk kids in the hope that they could become productive members of our community. We have not been able to keep up with the demand for our services. The number of struggling people our community produces is outpacing the ability of social services to help. In other words, we seem to be losing the battle.
If we don’t take a new and different approach, I fear the consequences. So rather than only continue to respond to the needs of kids who already have a lot of problems in a declining community, we are also turning our attention to helping the community, in general, become healthier.”
The Confluence offers a variety of beverages and fresh food at competitive prices. It features a stage for local performers with a beautiful mural painted by Lawrence County Career & Technical Center students and their teacher, Ken Cole. Each Thursday evening offers an opportunity for local artists to share their talents and the general public to enjoy a free evening of live entertainment.
It also features a rotating art gallery that is curated by the Hoyt Center for the Arts. The gallery is designed to be a focal point where local artists can not only showcase their art, but also sell it. The back of The Confluence hosts a Lending Library in partnership with the New Castle Public Library. The donated books and board games are displayed on one-of-a-kind shelving made by local artisan, Jim Moose. All books are free to read there, free to take home, and we’re always accepting book donations as we hope to get the most miles out of any one book.
The Confluence has space available for renting for birthday parties, business meetings, seminars, graduation parties, retirement parties- anything! Individual rooms are available for rent, as is the whole facility on days when we’re closed.
All this is being made possible by Mr. Paul Lynch, who is the owner of the building and has generously provided the E. Washington location for the nominal fee of $1 per year. Major donors that allowed the build out of the space were provided by the City of New Castle, the State of PA, and individual contributors. Revenue generated at The Confluence goes back to support Cray’s children’s programming. Donations are always welcome to support The Confluence and Cray.
For more information, contact Angie Urban at 724-654-5507 or firstname.lastname@example.org