The Beacon

Our Mission: The Beacon is a vibrant community space with a focus on uplifting and supporting the well-being and mental health of teens in high school.

Our Vision: The Beacon offers programs that introduce mindfulness and self-awareness, to help teens improve their emotional literacy. Facilitated by trained staff, we empower teens to advocate for themselves and one another, as they learn to care for their mental health.

Interested in joining? Fill out our form here!

    

What is The Beacon?

Located in the heart of Squirrel Hill, The Beacon is a vibrant community space with a focus on uplifting and supporting the well-being and mental health of teens in high school. It offers programs that introduce mindfulness and self-awareness, to help teens improve their emotional literacy. Facilitated by trained staff, we aim to empower teens to advocate for themselves and one another, as they learn to care for their mental health. 

Teen-designed and teen-led, The Beacon is a response to the intense pathologizing of mental health among young people. It recognizes that it is not our teens who are “broken,” but rather our system; it provides a space for teens to find their joy, flourish, and thrive.

 

Why did Friendship Circle create The Beacon? 

The values of Friendship Circle Pittsburgh have always centered on welcoming and valuing each individual and encouraging vital connections among members and the greater community. This is fundamental to the well-being of individuals.

The Beacon is focused on addressing mental health as just one part of overall well-being. With an emphasis on self-care, peer support, and inclusion, The Beacon’s programming offers teens strategies they can use to support themselves and one another. 

 

Why is Friendship Circle getting involved in the mental health space?

Over the last eighteen years, the Friendship Circle has built a community that connects thousands of people around inclusivity. This has led to trusted relationships among youth, young adults, parents, and Friendship Circle leadership providing a space where teens can be heard and seen.

Those teens have put a spotlight on the growing need to address teen mental health and whole-person wellbeing – and the ability for community members to support each other in this need. This led directly to the launch of The Beacon and its distinct programming.

The Beacon is dedicated to the same ideals as Friendship Circle itself, including:

  • Strengthening connection to peers
  • Social, emotional regulation
  • Supporting teens to become change agents within their community 
  • Focusing on “Thriving Adolescents” 
  • Focusing on what brings teens joy
  • Resilience 
  • Strengthening language 

 

Can I get therapy through The Beacon?

The Beacon is focused on addressing mental health as just one part of overall well-being. With an emphasis on self-care, peer support, and inclusion, The Beacon’s programming offers teens strategies they can use to support themselves and one another. When necessary, The Beacon will also provide access and referrals to therapeutic support on an individualized basis.

 

Who can use it?

The Beacon is open to any high school-age student in the region, of all faiths and backgrounds. Teens do not need to be current Friendship Circle members.

 

What types of programming does it offer?

The Beacon will offer inclusive groups on mindfulness, self-expression through the creative arts, befriending yourself and others, coping with social media, developing self-advocacy skills, finding purpose, setting boundaries, recognizing the need for help, and handling anxiety and depression.

Additional specialized programming includes:

  • coffee & conversation
  • painting
  • music and drum circles
  • yoga and meditation
  • visits from service animals
  • food preparation
  • gardening and planting
  • book club
  • social gatherings like podcast, movie, and open mic nights; 
  • self-care nights.

 

What does it cost?

Participation in The Beacon’s programming is free of charge. Interested teens can fill out the Contact Form at https://tinyurl.com/TheBeaconPGH.

 

How do I sign up and get involved with The Beacon?

Interested teens can fill out the Contact Form at https://tinyurl.com/TheBeaconPGH. Though available for all high school-age teens in the Greater Pittsburgh region, it is not a walk-in space, and requires prior signup via the Contact Form.

 

What happens if a teen is experiencing a mental health crisis?

When necessary, The Beacon will also provide access and referrals to therapeutic support on an individualized basis.

 

Is the space accessible?

The space is fully accessible – not simply entrances and exits, but also counter and tabletops, button placements and corridor design.

The Beacon’s 2,000 square foot space has been thoughtfully and deliberately designed in collaboration with a teen planning committee.

The design prioritizes safety, security, accessibility, and fun, featuring elements such as a teen-oriented sensory room (designed by Snoezelen), and accompanying tactile fixtures (by Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff Goettel and Kolano Design).

All furniture for The Beacon has been selected so that teens can enjoy it individually or collectively, granting them agency in how they choose to socialize.

 

How do I know I / my teen child will be safe? 

A wide range of security features have been integrated into The Beacon’s design, ensuring that teens have access to a completely safe and welcoming environment.

Offering the security our world demands coupled with thoughtful design, The Beacon offers a calming space for teens to grow, learn and be inspired to protect their own mental health, as well as that of others. 

 

What time is The Beacon open?

Starting in September 2023, the space will function during after-school and evening hours, Monday through Thursday. Meanwhile, over the summer, The Beacon will host a number of events out of the space. Interested teens can fill out the Contact Form at https://tinyurl.com/TheBeaconPGH


More Info Coming Soon!

Friendship Circle Tribute Book

Look through our 2022 and 2023  Friendship Circle memories and see what we have been up to!

Tribute Book 2023

Friendship Circle Tribute Book 2023

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