The Lighthouse Drop-In is a “third space” for our residents, their family, and friends. A third place is somewhere other than home or work where a person can go to relax and feel part of the community. This is about the simple art of living your life in the real “day-to-day” world. In that world, all communities — and therefore all members of communities — need a third place. It’s not your home. It’s not where you work. Those are the first two places. No, it’s the place where you go to… um… be.
The term “third place” was invented by sociologist Ray Oldenburg and first appeared in his 1990 book The Great Good Place, a celebration of the places where people can regularly go to take it easy and commune with friends, neighbours, and just whoever shows up. The subtitle of the book says it all: “Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts and How They Get You Through the Day.”
“All great societies provide informal meeting places, like the Forum in ancient Rome or a contemporary English pub,” explains Oldenburg. “But since World War II, North America has ceased doing so.”
The term derives from Oldenburg’s gloss on a Freudian concept. Sigmund Freud held that emotional well-being depends upon having someone to love and work to do. Oldenburg argues that the great psychoanalyst made his mental-health list one item too short. Besides a mate and a job, Oldenburg said, we need a dependable place of refuge where, for a few minutes a day, we can escape the demands of family and work.
For many people on the margins, they don’t even have the first two spaces dealt with let alone a common space where they can chill out, chat, and meet people. The common areas of The Lighthouse are designed to do just that.
We have two main spaces where that happens and several smaller spaces. The biggest space is our dining room/multipurpose space/classroom at the bottom of the East Tower. This large space has chairs, couches, sofas, and tables where people can sit, watch a game on television, surf the web and interact with staff and residents. It also provides access to the deck area between the two towers where people can socialize outside on comfortable furniture in the summer and sheltered from the elements in the winter. Both of these spaces serve as an alternative for those wanting to panhandle or hang out on the street. While we can’t stop that kind of activity, we can provide a viable alternative.
When the East Tower opens in the summer of 2012, The Lighthouse is opening up our drop in centre to both our residents and the community at large. To do so, we need the help of the community to volunteer, help out, and be a part of what we are doing here. If you are interested in volunteering and making this much needed service a reality, apply online or contact our volunteer coordinator for more information.
We also have smaller communal spaces as well. At the bottom of the stairs leading into our men’s shelter, we have chairs, end tables, and some lights for those that want to read, pray, or take some time for a quiet conversation away from others in the shelter. Many in our emergency shelters come from very difficult situations and everyone deals with it in their own way/ For the introverts in our midst, we want to give them a place where they can be.
For more information the drop-in programs at The Lighthouse, call 306.653.0538 or email email@example.com