Photo by Tessa Marie Images.
Tucked away behind Gullifty’s near the Rosemont train station is a place that has become a godsend for parents and teens grappling with drugs, alcohol, suicide and an array of mental-health issues. The walls of this café hold a lot of pain—and that’s exactly what Mary Nixon envisioned when she created New Leaf in 2012. “Children in this area are highly stressed and lost in competition and performance,” she says. “Nobody can be the best all the time and simply ignore what troubles them. We need to seek support, and feel safe doing so.”
Nixon knows of which she speaks. Growing up on the Main Line and raising four children here, she saw the need for a community center like New Leaf, which hosts support groups, art shows, yoga classes, open-mike nights, lecture series and fundraisers. Nixon is perhaps most touched by New Leaf’s adult groups, where parents meet to talk about their children’s addictions—and sometimes their own.