All teenagers wish to be able to find a place like home where they can feel like they belong and are appreciated.
The Lounge welcomes all teenagers between the age of 12 to 19 and offers them a safe haven. The group offers a diversity of people with a judgement-free zone where everyone “walks in scared but then feels at home five minutes after,” said Tyler Crispin. What is so intriguing about this youth group is that it allows youths get together and have fun while having a deeper understanding of their religion at the same time.
For many, the experience was strange, yet quite fascinating. “It was a different experience with a vibe that is unusual and can not be found anywhere else,” explained Crispin.
“It is amazing, really,” said Lonchinanda. Many activities and events take place at the Lounge such as movie/theatre nights, and a lot of social gatherings during holidays like Christmas, New Year, and so on.
The Lounge usually begins around 7 PM on every Thursday and is located in the basement of a church. As soon as the basement is filled, the praying session begins. “There is praying, then preaching and some more prayings,” explained Jennifer Lonchinanda.
Afterward, on a usual night, members are allowed to do whatever they want like listening to music and play games with people there or just relax on the couch. On movie nights, the people there gathered and watch movies that accentuate Christian values and Christianity as a whole.
Other nights, the atmosphere is much more exciting and riveting. For Lonchinada, her best time there was the all white party where she “had never danced so much in her life and the food was 10/10.” On the other hand, Fernanda had her favorite time at the Lounge during the Christmas Theatre in which she was the leader along with her friend Isabella Machado.
“It was so much fun putting the whole thing together,” said Fernanda. “Everyone enjoys it and we had a great time,” she added.
Others were much more hesitant when it comes to their favorite moment there, like for Crispin, who replied that he has “had so many great moments to choose from that it is hard to pick which one is [his] favorite.”
The Lounge’s purpose is to provide teenagers guidance and support in life along with a chance to be closer to God while having a good time with each other at the same time. “The Lounge is meant for any students who want to experience God,” explained Pastor Cristiano Mendes. “It is place where [they] encourage and empower people to find their purpose in life.”
“God is real because he can be known,” said Mendes, the leader of the youth group who hopes that the youth group will allow the younger generation appreciate Christianity.
Along with being a place of support and advice for young adults, it also provides people there a source of motivation to change. “They are truly inspiring,” said Fernanda. “They are inspiring because some of them have such a strong relationship with God and they are so committed it really inspires [her] to change.”
“It saved [their] life. [Their] life was on edge before the Lounge came in and it helped stop [them] from having suicidal thoughts that could have led to [them] doing something [irreversible],” said a member of the Lounge who wished their identity to stay anonymous.